Friday, January 15, 2016

Russian Imperialism

Economic impacts of russian imperialism
Austin Johnson
Mr. Reuter
A1 econ

Russian Imperialism
November 12 2014 Russians have been spotted moving into Ukraine in columns. It is no surprise that russia is threatened by the existence of the European union, Russia knows they cannot stand up to the combined might of Europe. This can be seen as the economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU have forced russia to reconsider the trade offs and move onto Syria. The russians under all costs did not want Ukraine to become closer to the EU as it would allow another post soviet country more success than they have experienced, as well as encircle russia and empower their enemies.
Today Many people question why russia is in the middle east and what their motives there are. To answer this question we must analyze their overarching goal which is to turn their own people away from their domestic problems and give them a sense of pride that russia is still a force to be reckoned with on the global stage. Officially Russia is aiding the Assad regime  because during the cold war Syria and russia were allies. This is also coupled with the fact that russia is just as vulnerable from terrorist attacks as France is. Unofficially from an economics perspective If Russia is able to stabilize syria they would be able to seal a lucrative energy contract worth $1.6 billion(CNBC). This can be seen as russia having an absolute advantage in military and  Syria having a comparative advantage in natural gas and crude oil. The war in Syria is also considered by Russian military advisors as a war in which they would receive no consequences, and hopefully distract the global attention off of ukraine(CNBC).
While Russia's intentions may seem noble Their involvement in the Middle East is not to help kill terrorists, but rather to to forward their own goals of Annexing Ukraine and Crimea. This whole thing is about lowering the opportunity cost of annexing Ukraine. The best scenario for russia would be to have America and the EU help Russia on a crusade to crush ISIS. This would help rebuild fractured relations with the US and Europe and make them less suspicion with what is happening in Crimea. This way russia hopes to find away around receiving another round of UN sanctions.
Russians remember well the recent sanctions imposed by the EU. These sanctions include; freezing investments and assets, refusing to buy russian oil and natural gas, refusing to trade certain foods, EU companies can no longer buy bonds issued by the russian government, an embargo on imports and exports through Crimea, refusing to sell military equipment, ect ( All of these sanctions caused the Supply demanded to dwindle and the Quantity demanded to increase, this made prices of many Goods to increase as well as the sales of alternative items to increase as well. Russia hopes to prove to their citizens that they are still powerful as well as prevent more of these economic sanctions. By aiding the Assad regime Russia completes all of it’s goals as well as set a trap for the West. All We need to do now is stay out of the middle east and try to see through russia’s trapps.   

"The Real Reason Russia Is 'Helping' Syria." Time. Time. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

"What Has Russia Got Invested in Syria?" CNBC. 2015. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

"EU Sanctions against Russia over Ukraine Crisis." EUROPA. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

"Pakistan Today." Pakistan Today. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

"Turkey Blames ISIL for Bomb in Istanbul’s Tourist Heart." RSS. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

"Breaking News, U.S., World, Business, Entertainment & Video." CBSNews. CBS Interactive. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

"KyivPost." KyivPost. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Should we Raise the Minimum Wage?

Brandon Zettlemoyer
Mr. Reuter
12 Jan 2016
Should we Raise the Minimum Wage?
One hotly debated topic in the United States is whether or not we should raise the federal minimum wage. We should raise the minimum wages as the current minimum wage is not sufficient for workers to support their families as the cost of living on the rise. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour which is $15,080 for a full-time worker. The value of the minimum wage has fallen over the past four decades. In 1968 the federal minimum wage was $1.60 per hour, which is approximately $10.90 in 2015 dollars.

Currently 89% of all people earning minimum wage are adults and usually are supporting families. Increasing the minimum wage is important as it will increase consumer purchasing power. This will help the economy as 70% of the U.S. economy is based off consumer spending. As people will be earning more money they will have an increased demand for goods and services as they now have more money to spend.

In comparison to other developed countries, the U.S. is behind when it comes to minimum wage. Many countries in Europe have set higher minimum wages and still have strong economies contrary to the argument that increasing minimum wage will do more harm than good. While increasing minimum wage will increase the cost for companies it will also increase the disposable income of the workers. The new income that workers have at their disposal will be spent back into the economy. Also two-thirds of all low-wage workers are employed by large companies rather than small businesses. These companies have large gross profits and are able to pay their employees more. Companies have also been able to pay their employees less over the years as the value of the minimum wage has not kept up with the increase in the cost of goods and services. Studies have also shown that  increasing the pay that workers receive increase productivity and reduce worker turnover which will also help save companies money.
The original purpose of the federal minimum wage was to increase consumer purchasing power in order to help the economy during the Great Depression. By reducing poverty and allowing consumers to spend more money into the economy the minimum wage promoted growth and contributed to the economic recovery of the United States. This was shown again in 2009 when the minimum wage rose from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour as a method to combat the Great Recession. If raising the minimum wage really does more damage to the economy than good the government would not continue to raise it during hard economic times. Overall if a minimum wage that is gradually increased over time is implemented it will  help reduce poverty, increase consumer spending, and help increase productivity of workers benefiting the economy as a whole.
Work Cited

Scheiber, Noam. "What a $15 Minimum Wage Would Mean for Your City." The New York Times. The New York Times, 12 Aug. 2015. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

"Countries with Higher Wages than U.S." CNNMoney. Cable News Network. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

"Employment and Business Effects of Minimum Wage Increases." Http:// NELP. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

"Declining Value of the Federal Minimum Wage Is a Major Factor Driving Inequality." Economic Policy Institute. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Xavier Straub
Mr. Reuter
Economics- B1
January 11th, 2016
In a Galaxy Far Far Away
In a galaxy far far away the Rebellion is fighting off the First Order; but, right here at home this very movie has taken a memorable lift off. Breaking records both in the United States, and Worldwide such as: Highest Grossing Film of All time in the US (taking only 20 days to surpass that of Avatar’s 318 day journey plus a re-release in 2010), Fastest Film to Gross $1 Billion Worldwide (12 days), and Biggest Worldwide and Single Weekend Gross ($529 million). Even with these records being smashed it still falls in at No. 3 on the list of All-Time Gross (Worldwide) with $1.7 billion before inflation, although a lot faster than the No. 1 and No. 2. The next movie in the series is already set to be made in May of 2017, and if it goes the same way it did this time around, it will surely break more records, bringing in possibly more profit and revenue than ever. But, who says it will go the same way?
With the average movie ticket costing $8.61 plus tax, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has broken every weekend gross record ever since it has come out, except this last one. The weekend of January 10th, The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, pulled in a whopping $58.2 million in its debut across seas in China, compared to the $53 million pulled in by Star Wars: Force Awakens in its first two days in China. Also, in the year of 2015, Jurassic World profited $652 million within their first couple of months, compared to that of Star Wars: Force Awakens ($812 million); and to be fair the first Star Wars movie (1977) was released almost 20 years before that of Jurassic Park (1993). Meaning that, the Star Wars fanboys have been on this journey for nearly 40 years.
There are also rumors sparking of certain plot twists within the next movie (I’m not going to spoil anything, you can look them up yourself). If said plot twists are true, the fanboys across the world are not going to like that; and fanboys produce more than 75% of the sales brought in.
All of this shows that movies are becoming more and more advanced, and more and more older movies are being remade, and those are the movies that are bringing in such high revenues. Although, the next Star Wars movie has the potential to reach the same level of success as this previous one did, if not better. But, with that being said, it is very easy to screw up on such a popular movie; There is always going to be a high expectation for this movie, people are going to want to see this and that, but if you don’t deliver, you might be S.O.L. Either way, the next movie will have a huge impact on our economy whether it be positive or negative.

Works Cited
"Average US Movie Ticket Price Hits All-Time High - /Film." Film RSS. N.p., 23 July 2015. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) - Box Office Mojo." Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) - Box Office Mojo. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.

Truitt, Brian. "'Star Wars' Runs Record Box Office to $812M." USA Today. Gannett, 10 Jan. 2016. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.

Winter Weather

Winter Weather
Brock Hohman
The winter season has officially started, with snow, ice, and slush covering the roads, drivers are having to be much more cautious while commuting. Cities are busy plowing roads, salting streets and making sure the roads are in the best conditions possible. This time of year puts everybody in a more stressful mood while driving, and puts local tow services on high alert. The winter weather brings big economic change for people living in northern states.
There are many businesses that thrive this time of year and rely on snowfall and winter weather to make money. Two services that have a higher demand in the winter months are snow plow services and tow truck services. Without snowfall the snow plows have nothing to do and are reliant on snowfall to get paid. On the other hand, the tow truck services are active year long, although during the winter months they have a surplus of customers that need assistance since accidents are easier to get into with tough road conditions.
From 2004-2013 there were 1.25 million weather related auto accidents throughout the United States. The main cause of these accidents were snowy roads and icy roads with a total of 907,000 accidents. That’s 72% of all weather related accidents are caused by winter conditions which is a pretty large portion considering that there are limited months out of the year that these conditions are relevant in the United States.
Another economic change that winter weather brings affects insurance companies. With the high rate of accidents occurring, people are making plenty of insurance claims and insurance companies are benefitting greatly. Although they may be more busy during these months, they are making much more money which is worth the a few extra hours in the office. This is the insurance company's opportunity cost because they are at work longer instead of being at home with their families.

Asteroid Mining

Jacob Holzhauer
Mr. Reuter
January 12, 2015
Asteroid Mining

Space exploration is a very interesting topic and has lead to many improvements in our technology. Now, since the space race is over, we have less of an incentive to explore the solar system. One incentive to space exploration that could make the stars closer to us all is asteroid mining. The opportunity costs are much less than what could be gained from it and could revolutionise the world.
Currently the country is recovering from a recession and with other internal issues, the money could be spent in other places to make it more worthwhile. Obama has suggested that space exploration be left to private firms, this way we can save billions of dollars and the money will be used elsewhere and we can still have things going on in orbit (Pasztor) sent by private businesses. I agree, if we don’t put government money into it, we can save money that could be used to balance our debt and solve other internal issues. On the other hand, if we succeed in mining an asteroid it could bring trillions of dollars into our market, not only benefiting consumers by decreasing the costs of materials mined by decreasing their scarcity, but also decreasing the cost of space travel in general. “[A few months ago] the asteroid 1012_DA14 measuring a mere 150 feet (45m) zoomed passed Earth. It, however, had $65 billion worth of water and $130 billion worth of metals within it,” (New Frontier).
Asteroid mining, simply enough, is launching a probe or spacecraft to mine resources from asteroids. Every day this concept becomes more and more possible as teams are already underway developing ways to mine asteroids and owning things besides probes and spacecraft in space recently became legal. If this type of program takes off it could mean a new era of space exploration. In some ways it is almost a requirement for humans to survive as a species. As our populations grow, we will either need to enact laws limiting growth or we need more resources from an outside source (New Frontier).
Asteroid mining is a clear part of our future if we want to survive as a species -- It’s also really cool. I think we can expect it to positively affect our economy while also making scarce materials more common.

Works Cited

Pasztor, Andy “Commercial Space: Obama proposes turning NASA work to private firms,” The Wall Street Journal. 24 Jan 2010. Web. 12 Jan 2016.
Gowan, Rajesh. "Exploring the New Frontier: Space Mining." NotEnoughGoodcom. Not Enough Good, 2016. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

Monday, January 11, 2016

When’s The Best Time to Trade?

Minha Beg
Mrs. Straub
AP Econ
1 October 2015

When’s The Best Time to Trade?

As people find different interest in clothing, food, or music they tend to buy more of that one item. Which would shift the change in demand, since of their change in taste. This would be beneficial for many businesses, since they would have more consumers coming in and making them more profit. Making one business having an absolute advantage in more consumers, than other businesses. However, that just not be the case. Infact, when it comes to buying goods, the human brain tends to trigger, and making you want to buy everything you see. But that would just cause markets to inflate and burst, if people were to buy everything they wanted, but do not need.

Everyday, there’s always people out at grocery stores, malls, and movies spending money, which would be their opportunity cost. While they could be doing homework or be at school. But, once we’re at a place where a normal good is being provided to us, we just want to buy everything we like. As a product becomes more popular, more people tend to buy that more of that good. Which then causes the quantity demand to increase and the supply demand to decrease.

Financial trading and the brain

According to Los Angeles TImes, an experiment was done on 20 college students, while they each trade with one another for 50 rounds. Each player started with 100 risk free units of currency and 6 units of hypothetical risky advantages. Researchers wanted to see what exactly hyped up the players while they would trade. In order for them to figure this out, they used a MRI machine to see their flow of blood. moving to active areas. As they were trading, they saw in the MRI machine that a part of their brain called, nucleus accumbens, lighted up in most of the players. This area controls the addiction and motivation part of our brain. Researches found out as more activity came through this area in the player's brain, the price would rise higher. However, another group showed different results. There were a few people where the anterior insula would be more alert than the nucleus accumbens. The anterior insula is where people are more alert to physical discomfort. Which according to researchers made them sell their risky assets more quickly.

In conclusion, researchers found out that, in order to become a successful trader people should use their emotions a bit more rather than strategy. Since, when emotions are involved traders tend to pick the right and smart choices when it comes to trading. Which would then cause a surplus in the market, since more people will use emotions while buying and trading; buyers will pay less to save money and find better deals than just paying for something they see right away.

Works Cited

Rosen, Julia. "When Brain Says Buy, You May Not Know Why." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 10 July 2014. Web. 01 Oct. 2015.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Will Trump help the Economy?

Chase Seliger
Mrs. Straub
AP Econ-Insight

Will Trump help the Economy?

With the 2016 elections slowly coming up, many individuals are wondering who they are going to want to vote for, Hillary Clinton? Jeb Bush? but many individuals are very skeptical on whether Donald Trump would make a good president to run the United States.  When people think of Donald Trump they think of a highly qualified and well experienced man in the business world. Which is why people are wondering if he could help improve the U.S. economy since he has an extensive knowledge in economics as he graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1968 at the University of Pennsylvania. But the real question is will Trump help the economy?
Donald Trump has many views his economic policies, and many people are with them or against them. Trump’s first policy is to place massive tariffs on China and Mexico in order to bring back jobs to the United States. For example, Trump said he would place a 35% tax, on any Ford vehicles made in Mexico. This would make Ford most likely want to start producing more in the U.S. again instead of other countries. Trump also stated he would want to place a 25% tax on any goods coming in from China to the United States. By doing this, it would create more jobs in the United States again, and boost our economy again instead of losing thousands of jobs when companies move to other countries to save money. Another view Trump has is to keep the minimum wage at the current level it is at now, $7.25. He believes that if the wage was to rise to $10.10, millions of jobs would be lost, which he believes the opportunity cost of raising the minimum wage level is too big of a risk, and it could bring the US into more of a crisis. Having a net-worth of $3 Billion dollars, Trump is big on placing a one time tax of 14.25% on the wealthy (people making over $10 million a year). He believes this will help the United States pay off a lot of the debt we are currently facing. Trump would also have tax cuts on anyone who makes less than $250,000 a year, which could help many lower class to middle class American’s to become more wealthy by being able to save up more money. Another large idea Trump has it to have Wall Street professionals to take higher up money positions within the government, including Treasury Secretary. This would mean people who know how to run the economy would be running the economy, making the United States into a stronger country than it already is. Trump’s last idea would be to get rid of Obamacare, Trump calls the Affordable Care Act a “Disaster” according to He believes that the United States would be better off without it and citizens won’t feel the wrath of it till 2016 hits. Trump wants to stick to how healthcare used to be before, because it worked fine before, which is the way that he wants it to run.
So by adding up the facts, and by looking at the good factors, Trump seems like he would help boost the economy of the United States quite well, but people need to remember that is only one policy out of a great amount. Just because a candidate is good in one location doesn’t mean they will be the best in the other ones. Trump would most likely make the United States economy a greater power house, but people need to analyze what he wants to do with the rest of the US.

Works Cited:

Long, Heather. "So What Exactly Is Donald Trump's Economic Policy?" CNN Money. Cable News Network, 28 July 2015. Web. 23 Dec. 2015. <>.

Stewart, Emily. "If Donald Trump Was President, Here's What Would Happen to the U.S. Economy." The Street. The Street Inc., 15 Dec. 2015. Web. 23 Dec. 2015. <>.

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