Government Assistance Programs & Their Regulations

I personally feel very strongly about the conditions tied to government assistance programs. Yes, there are many people who use government assistance (such as SNAP benefits, cash assistance, etc.) properly. There are also many people who abuse this, unfortunately.
Something that has been very controversial is mandatory drug testing to receive benefits. Personally, I feel that drug testing should be required to be on any type of government assistance, including unemployment benefits, SNAP benefits, and cash assistance, as well as others. Unfortunately, we see people who use their cash assistance and unemployment benefits just to buy drugs, not to better their lives as it is meant to do. I think that drug testing to receive benefits may help control this.
There are some conditions required, such as applying for jobs. However, many abuse this and purposely apply for jobs they know they can’t get just to continue receiving benefits. I feel that somehow this should be controlled as well. Maybe with career counselors or mandatory employment training courses.
Yes, both of these options may be costly, but if it reduces the amount of money transfers that are being misused or abused, then it could very well be worth it.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying that everyone abuses their benefits. There many people who truly need and deserve government assistance. Unfortunately, few may make it more difficult for many. I just wanted to focus my post on imposing more regulations to help reduce the abuse of government assistance. It seems to me that if the goal ultimately is to reduce poverty, then controlling to maintain proper use of the government-funded assistance programs is an important factor in making that happen. And for those who are using this aid properly, stricter regulations shouldn’t affect them much anyway.

So can the poor be trusted? Maybe, but it will be easier to trust them with more regulations.

Hoodwinked

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to create a minor post regarding the book I’ve chosen for the book review. I chose the “Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the Global Economy IMPLODED — and How to Fix It”

I chose this book because one of my favorite parts of economic to study is the 07-09 recession and I’m hoping this will give me more insight on what happened. I think we all have our own ideas of what happened, which seems to be a mix of quite a few things. Hopefully this will inspire more ideas or solidify some ideas that are already out there.
Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you all more when it comes in the mail! (It’s taking forever to get here)

Helping Develop Nations

One of the questions posed in one of the unit 4 readings was “What can we do to help these developing nations?” Well, there is one organization in Michigan that I believe is helping these developing nations, while helping Michigan as well.

A few months back, I went to a Global Sustainability conference, and one of the discussion panels I listened to was about doing business in India. The third speaker of this industry panel was Laura Deierlein, International Trade Manager for Business Attraction/Export Division for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). This company is set up in five different regions of Michigan. Their goal is to help companies in Michigan begin doing business overseas. There are different managers that each focus on a country, her focus is India. They are focused on teaching companies how to start doing business overseas in India and how to export goods to businesses in India. She discussed how there is an insane amount of exporting we do in Michigan due to our location right on the Great Lakes and how her company is working to make that number grow.

Not only is her company helping Michigan grow and globalize, it also helping build strong business relationship in foreign countries. It seems to me that this could definitely be helping develop these foreign countries. I think what the MEDC is doing is a great thing not only for Michigan, but also for the less developed countries that they are working with.

Nogales, Arizona, US vs. Nogales, Sonora, Mexico

In my other Econ class, our professor had us read chapter 1 of “Why Nations Fail” By Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. The very beginning of it was very interesting so I thought I would share it with you. Acemoglu compared two citites: Nogales, AZ in the US and Nogales, Sonora in Mexico. There is just a border between these cities. They used to be the same city until 1853 when the US border was extended. So, since these cities are incredibly close and even used to be the same city, they should have very similar living standards, right? Wrong. They do enjoy the same food, music, and culture (kind of). But the living standards are very very different. In Nogales, AZ the aaverage income is about $30,000, most of the residents are over 65 and receive  medicare benefits, and most everyone there have high school diplomas. They have sewage system, public health, and law and order that quite free from corruption. However, just south of them in Nogales, Sonora in Mexico life is very different. The average income is much lower, around $10,000. Adults don’t have diplomas and teens aren’t even in school. The residents don’t live as long due to poor public health conditions. Law and order is very poor and opening a business is quite risky because of this. The goverenment is not nearly as free from corruption as we are here since democracy is a rather new concept to them.

Often times we talk about how other countries across seas live very different lives than us, like in China, Africa, or the middle east. Sometimes, though, we don’t realize how different life is just by crossing one foot over the border into our neighboring countries.

Aging Population in Japan

I read in the unit 3 blog posts about how Japan wasn’t growing enough and I thought it was pretty interesting  since we just discussed this in one of my other econ courses a few weeks ago. We looked at this chart showing their population and how it is aging. The blue and pink areas show population in 1990 and the black outline shows the population now.  As you can see, it starts to get very wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. This trend is expected to continue and worsen in the future. The younger population just isn’t reproducing. Once all the older people retire, they will not have enough younger people working in the economy to sustain a good lifestyle for the elderly. Clearly, this will be a serious problem over the next 20 years. The bottom graph show how quickly the population will be declining. Picture1

Index of Economic Freedom

Hi all,

I used a really interesting economic freedom index in an international management class that I took last semester at SVSU that I wanted to share with you. It’s an interactive heat map used to compare countries based on different freedoms such as trade freedom, freedom from corruption, labor freedom, and many more. It also shows an overall economic freedom score. All these different ratings are based on a 100 point scale and are color coded based on how high or low their rating is. You can filter by each type of rating or by the overall score. You can look at individual countries, certain parts of the world, or the whole world. I’ve used this as resource quite a bit in other classes and thought it might be useful to other students. Since Jim was showing a country comparison based on per capita GDP, I thought this was another interesting tool for comparing countries to one another for those interested in that kind of thing. Let me know what you all think of it please!

Here is the link: http://www.heritage.org/index/heatmap

Enjoy! 🙂

Sustainability

Since I noticed in the readings that we soon would be talking about global sustainability, I thought I would share my thoughts on sustainability and what I’ve learned about it in other classes thus far. Sustainability involves meeting the needs of the present in a way that allows future generations to meet their needs as well. This is more than just going green. Sustainability is about helping the environment, while creating jobs, and still being profitable. Many companies are starting sustainable initiatives. For example, Dow Chemical will not work with any company that does not meet certain sustainability requirements. Hopefully, other companies will take after them in their initiatives. Personally, I feel that if companies do not adapt to doing sustainable business, then they won’t be around many years down the road.

West Coast Swing 101

Hi everyone,

In my last post, I mentioned that I’m a member of Music n’ Motion at SVSU. Music n’ motion is a West Coast Swing Dance student organization on campus. The program at SVSU began roughly 10 years ago (I think), when two professional west coast swing dancers started teaching it as a course. From there, students fell in love with it and began the club. As a club, we truly enjoy sharing our love of dance with the world and other dancers! I have strong passion for west coast swing, and for dance in general. Since most of you probably don’t know what it is, I wanted to introduce you all to it!

West coast swing is a more modernized type of swing dancing. It’s an elegant, smooth, dance where you dance with a partner. There is always a leader and a follower. Some dancers know how to do both, I personally only know how to follow.

West coast swing is a slotted dance, meaning you dance on an imaginary line called “the line of dance”. You and your partner stay on said line while dancing. The dance uses a 6 count pattern, ending each move with what we call an anchor step, so you can kind of get your self ready for the next move. There is a lot of technique involved, but once you get your basics down, you can have a lot of fun with it! Here’s a video of some basics to help you understand and see what it looks like.

Typically, west coast swing is not choreographed, you just go out, dance, and have fun! It is not uncommon to choreograph a routine for certain types of competitions. However, the most common type of competition is called a Jack and Jill. In a Jack and Jill, you are a given a random song and a random partner, and you get about 2 minutes to show the judges what you got. Then you change partners and get a new song. In each round, you’ll do this about 3 times, maybe more depending on how many competitors there are. In the final round though, you are assigned a partner and are with that partner for however many songs they do. There a few divisions in the competitions: Newcomer, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, All-Star, and Pro. When you place in a competition, you earn points to move you through the ranks, which is TOUGH. Newcomer is optional, but other than that you can not skip any divisions. Here’s a video of what a novice Jack n’ Jill looks like:

These competitions, or as we call “events” are what westies LIVE for! There typically an entire weekend long full of lessons you can take, competitions, and social dancing ALL NIGHT LONG! There are actually two large West Coast Swing events in Dearborn, MI: Michigan Classic, and Spotlight New Year’s Celebration. These events are SO much fun. Here’s a video of the most recent Spotlight event, so you can see just how much fun it is!

I hope you all enjoyed learning about WCS as much as I love sharing my passion with everyone. If you have any questions, please please ask!

Happy dancing!

Tiffany

Hello!

Hi everyone!
I’m Tiffany. I’m actually only a guest student at LCC, so this my first and last class at LCC, as well as my first online course, so this is entirely new for me! I am a senior Business Management major with a minor in Economics at Saginaw Valley State University (Go Cards!). I also am an Administrative Co-op at Nexteer Automotive in Saginaw, MI.  I also have been in the SVSU Color guard for four years, the last two of those years as team captain. In addition to that, I am a member of Music n’ Motion, a student organization for West Coast Swing dance. I have a strong passion for color guard and dance, it’s so much fun! I plan on graduating with my bachelor’s in Dec 2015, and after that I’d like to go into hotel management, but I’m keeping my options open to other things as well.
I’m really looking forward to this class as I truly enjoy economics!