Symposium 2012: What role did the media play in the 2012 election?

Sydney: There can be no doubt that with each passing election the media plays a growing role and definitely is a factor that influences the result. During the Presidential campaign TV stations and newspapers were packed with commentary analyzing every step that each candidate made, and every word that they spoke. It would be impossible to believe that the media didn’t help sway voter opinion in Mitt Romney’s favor following the first debate, or that it turned opinion against him following his leaked speech to his supporters. Continue reading

Symposium 2012: 2016…Are you willing to make any predictions on the Democrat presidential nominee and Republican nominee?

Sydney: On the Democrat side Hillary Clinton is probably the standout candidate at the moment. She is vastly experienced in politics. Her stint as Secretary of State further bolstered her credentials in the important area of foreign relations and should serve her well if she does decide to run for the Presidency. Continue reading

Symposium 2012: More and more states and municipalities are facing bankruptcy. Is it up to the federal government and taxpayers to bail them out?

Sydney: This is a difficult question. The Federal Government can’t let the States and other municipalities to go broke but says it doesn’t have the money to bail them out. However, the Federal Reserve could buy municipal bonds to help the States. This would cost hundreds of billions of dollars but when you consider that the government gave trillions of dollars to the banks because they couldn’t be allowed to fail the money needed to save States and municipalities seems like a drop in the ocean.  Continue reading

Symposium 2012: What are your thoughts on early voting and voting procedures in the U.S.? Is it time for reform?

RMC3: I’m not a big fan of early voting. Growing up, you voted on Election Day unless you voted absentee and then you had to have a really good excuse as to why you needed to vote absentee. I think the whole early voting scheme is just a convenient way to rig elections and stuff ballot boxes. Early voting needs to be eliminated, and there needs to be a stringent procedure for voting absentee. You need to prove you’re going to be out of town or whatever. Continue reading

Symposium 2012: What is your outlook for the economy? What do you perceive to be the biggest threat to the U.S. economy?

Sydney: The U.S economy obviously has a lot of room for improvement. If the government can get its act together and implement some fiscal reforms then it can definitely recover. The main problem is the country is still mired in debt. The debt ceiling and fiscal cliff debates have shown that both parties are unwilling or unable to compromise but the simple fact is that the government needs more money. Continue reading

Symposium 2012: Does the U.S. have a moral obligation to help other countries financially?

Sydney: The United States does not have a moral obligation to help other countries financially. However, our sense of fairness and our moral compass ensures that we do. There are many good reasons to assist other countries. The best one of these is to provide humanitarian relief. There are many poor nations around the world who are unable to provide adequate help to their citizens when disaster strikes. It is also interesting to consider that ‘nation–building’ is now considered important in countries where the army has been waging war. Iraq and Afghanistan are two good examples. Continue reading

Symposium 2012: Debt relief for poor countries?

Sydney: There should definitely be debt relief for poor countries. Many of the poorest countries have had decades to pay back all their debt and simply have not been able to do it and there is little chance that they will in the coming decades. In some ways creditors are partially to blame for the situation these countries are in. In a lot of cases lenders gave money to regimes who they knew wouldn’t be spending aid money on the citizens of that nation. So these people are suffering now paying back money they never benefited from in the first place. It is good to see the IMF and various other nations beginning to address the issue of debt relief but the slate needs to be wiped clean if these nations are ever going to give their citizens the life they deserve. Continue reading

Symposium 2012: With recent developments in Michigan, are unions going to become obsolete?

Sydney: Unions have certainly been under fire lately. The recent events in Michigan have greatly weakened the power of unions and it seems likely that this will continue. Many politicians are also critical of unions, especially on the Republican side. It almost seems that the unions have become a scapegoat for the state of the U.S economy with claims they are holding big business (among other things) to ransom. However, unions are important because they protect workers’ rights and help ensure they receive fair pay. Continue reading

Symposium 2012: With the recent Sandy Hook school massacre, is it time to reconsider the issue of gun control?

Sydney: The answer to this question is a resounding yes and it is heartening to hear that the President is keen to make changes. However, this is something easier said than done. The NRA is one of the most influential political lobby groups in the United States and they will not allow changes to the law without a fight. Their suggestion that all school Principals should be armed is a clear indication that the Sandy Hook massacre has not altered their views. The Republicans are also unlikely to support any significant changes to the law. Having said this it is possible that President Obama might be able to get agreement from Congress to introduce a law to ban the sale of assault weapons. This is a law that was passed by the Clinton administration but later expired as part of a sunset clause. Continue reading