Andrew Taylor

Well written editorials from a UH student

Archive for July 2009

Immigration Still Crucial in Mayoral Race

with one comment

Despite a reduction in immigration, the issue has been a hot topic in 2009 mayoral races.

As the national recession continues, immigration in Texas is declining at a significant rate. Rising unemployment and lower levels of business activity are deterring immigrants from crossing the border.

In a Houston Chronicle article, Hope Yen discussed drastic differences in levels of immigration. According to a study released by the Pew Hispanic Center, the number of emigrating Mexicans fell by 249,000 from March 2008 to March 2009. This is nearly 60 percent lower than the previous year.

Texas is seeing levels of immigration as low as they were one decade ago. Most immigrants in the U.S. and Texas are staying because jobs might not be available at home, while others are waiting for an economic recovery.

According to the data, the number of immigrants who returned home was roughly 450,000 — a number that has not changed for some time.
Meanwhile, Houston is looking to strengthen its crime fighting efforts, turning over illegal immigrants to federal authorities.

Houston plans to combine the efforts of the Houston Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. This plan is designed to sweep Houston jails for illegal immigrants using a federal database, and will train jailers in questioning possible illegal criminals inside the Houston jail system.

Each mayoral candidate not only desires a balance that fights crime and removes illegal criminals, but also one that avoids wasting resources and profiling.

City Controller and mayoral candidate Annise Parker wants to ensure we do not engage in racial profiling, a practice known to lower community cooperation with police officers.

“The city should participate in the program and have designated individuals trained to identify dangerous illegal immigrants and coordinate that information with ICE,” Parker told Houston Chronicle. “It is our responsibility, as local elected officials, to try to find a balance in protecting our people from predators and maintaining respect for those people who are here peacefully, working hard and contributing to our economy and our tax base.”

Gene Locke, UH alumnus and 2009 mayoral candidate, said he wants balance, but views immigration enforcement as a priority.

“We need to have a policy that basically says if you commit a crime and you’re not in this country legally, you will be deported,” Locke said to the Chronicle. “The bottom line is that we need to have our police department working closely with other federal agencies to identify those people who are committing crimes in this city, incarcerating them, and if they’re not here legally, deporting them.”

Mayoral candidate Peter Brown supports the inter-agency plan. But, he wants to focus on police officer training and ensure that police will not resort to racial profiling.

The economic downturn and decrease in immigration are issues Houstonians will continue to tackle well into the next mayoral agenda. Electing the strongest candidate will be crucial toward meeting our goals of lower crime and an improved city.

Andrew Taylor is an economics junior and may be reached at opinion@thedailycougar.com

Written by aktaylor

July 28, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Stimulus Needs a Second Round

leave a comment »

The first economic stimulus package was designed to avert an economic catastrophe, and it did.

Despite the short amount of time the plan has had to show sizeable results, some have called it a failure and demanded different measures such as aborting the whole plan.
Dangers are directly related to canceling the stimulus plan before it has time to run its course.

In a New York Times column published July 2, Paul Krugman astutely observed that the economy is not only still slumping, but also in need of more stimulus.

“Since the recession began, the U.S. economy has lost 6 and a half million jobs — and as that grim employment report confirmed, it’s continuing to lose jobs at a rapid pace,” Krugman said.

For the third time in U.S. history, the national unemployment rate is predicted to hit double digits, a serious wakeup call if there ever was one.

“Once you take into account the 100,000-plus new jobs that we need each month just to keep up with a growing population, we’re about eight and a half million jobs in the hole,” Krugman said.

The unemployment statistics were not the only sign that we need to act quickly. Declining wages and bankrupt states have surfaced as well.

“Unlike the federal government, states are required to run balanced budgets. Faced with a sharp drop in revenue, most states are preparing savage budget cuts, many of them at the expense of the most vulnerable,” Krugman said.

Luckily, Obama’s stimulus plan will battle these testaments of economic hardship. Although cumbersome compared to the magnitude of our situation, it was a crucial first step in the path to recovery. The question of how to continue recovery as efficiently and quickly as possible continues to loom over us.

Some economists are calling for more fiscal stimulus, something that will be as fiercely opposed in the Senate as the original plan was. Other economists are still skeptical of fiscal stimulus and the dangers of deficits.

Krugman points out a valued fact known in economics in an article published June 14 in The New York Times.

“What about the claim that the fed (federal government) is risking inflation? It isn’t; a rising monetary base isn’t inflationary when you’re in a liquidity trap,” Krugman said.

As unemployment rises and conditions worsen, a second round of fiscal stimulus seems appropriate. Although it will be met with steadfast opposition, Krugman insisted that “getting another round of stimulus will be difficult. But it’s essential.”

Andrew Taylor is an economics junior and may be reached at opinion@thedailycougar.com

Written by aktaylor

July 16, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Investment In Alternative Energy Technology Will Lead U.S. Into The Future

leave a comment »

Alternative energy is set to dominate the next global economy. All economists view technology as crucial for growth, and a necessity that must be accounted for.

On June 26th, The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Waxman-Markey climate energy change bill. Although its passing in the House was a monumental achievement, it still has to pass in the Senate.

Both Republicans and Democrats have attacked the bill. On the right, conservatives label the bill as a pure tax on energy and also an American job killer. Some Republicans even dismiss climate change as a cause for concern.

On the left, some argue the bill is too weak, allowing for little improvement. Opposition also comes from Democrats about the cost of the bill and the taxation it will bring to companies along with costs of production. Others were hesitant to support the bill because they are more concerned with being reelected.

As always, it appears that politics are swaying the argument away from the actual purpose. The discussion of global warming, climate changes and the need for alternative energy is pressing and serious.

Some have decided to try to kill the bill by emphasizing the costs, the number of job losses and constantly labeling it as a tax. However, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that by 2020, annual costs would only increase by $175 per American household. This is roughly what it costs to fill up any SUV two or three times.

Even more concerning is the talk of job loss, which some believe to be imminent and severe if a climate change bill passes. If we do not start moving toward cleaner energy and alternative energy technology, not only will we lose jobs by not creating them, but we will also lose the technology race. This will cause further setbacks and greater dependence on foreign nations in the next generation.

As Americans, we should hold our politicians accountable for working toward our best interests. Our best interests includes technological progression. It is possible to achieve a cap-and-trade system that sufficiently reduces carbon emissions without poisoning businesses. If it wasn’t, companies like Ford Motor Co. and Dow Chemical Co. would not be behind the bill.

More importantly, realizing the significance of alternative energy and climate changes will lead us to solving our other various problems, both economically and socially.

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter gave a speech warning Americans that until we solved our country’s civic problems of waste, greed, consumerism and irresponsibility, we would not be able to properly attack our crisis concerning energy.

We haven’t yet solved said problems. In fact, this is more relevant today than it was in 1979. Until we unite together as Americans to solve the energy crisis and invest in our future, we will not be able to solve other fundamental problems like healthcare.

Andrew Taylor is an economics junior and may be reached at opinion@thedailycougar.com

Written by aktaylor

July 9, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized