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Current Events book: Economics

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FC: Economics: Current Events Book Jessica Halvorson Mr. Blough Economics 9/14/11

1: Table of Contents: 1. Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North 2. San Diego power outage (Sewage spill) 3. Occupy Wall Street (OWS) 4. Payroll tax cut on deck as Congress returns 5. Black Friday

2: Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North: Economic, demographic, and social changes in Mexico are suppressing illegal immigration as much as the poor economy or legal crackdowns in the United States. AGUA NEGRA, Mexico- The extraordinary Mexican migration that delivered millions of illegal immigration to the United States over the past 30 years has sputtered to a trickle, and research points to a surprising cause: unheralded changes in Mexican that have made staying home more attractive. Expanding economic and education opportunities rising boarding crime and shrinking families- are suppressed illegal traffic as much as economic slowdowns or immigrant crackdowns in the United States. American census figures analyzed by the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center show that the illegal Mexican population in the United States has shrunk and that fewer than 100,000 illegal border-crossers and visa-violators from Mexico settled in the United Sates in 2010, down from about 525,000 annually from 2000 to 2004. Mexican immigration has always been defined by both the push (from Mexico) and the pull (of the United States). The decision to leave home involves a comparison, a wrenching cost-benefit analysis, and just as Mexican baby boom and economic crises kicked off the emigration waves in the 19080s and '90s, research now shows that the easing of demographic and economic pressures is helping keep the departures in check.

3: Education and employment opportunities have greatly expanded in Mexico. Per capita gross domestic product and family income have each jumped more than 45 percent since 2000, according to one prominent economist, Robert Newell. Tourist visas are also being granted at higher rates around 89 percent, up from 67 percent, while American farmers have legally hired 75 percent more temporary workers since 2006. In 2003, when David Fitzgerald, a migration expert at the University of California, San Diego, came to Arandas, he found that the wage disparity with the United States has narrowed: migrants in the north were collecting 3.7 times what they could earn at home. If these trends- particularly Mexican economic growth- continue over the next decade, Mr. Passel said, changes in the migration dynamic may become even clearer. "At the point where the U.S. needs the workers again," he said, "there will be fewer of them." Emigrants say, illegal life in the United States became harder. Laws restricting illegal immigrants' rights or making it tougher for employers to hire them have passed in more than a dozen states since 2006. "The message used to be, if you were working illegally, lie about it or don't even try to go legally because we won't let you," said one senior State Department official. "What we're saying now is, tell us you did it illegally, be honest and we'll help you." Living in Mexico seems difficult because many want to migrate to the United States. But the cost for visas has gone up. The decision to leave home involves a comparison, a wrenching cost-benefit analysis. Farmers still complain that the visa program is too complicated and addresses only a portion of the total demand. As of 2010, there were 1,381,896 Mexicans still waiting for their green-card applications to be accepted or rejected.

4: San Diego Power Outage (Sewage Spill): San Diego- Two sewage spills triggered by San Diego County's massive Sep. 8 power outage were found to have released 75% more pollution into San Diego's rivers and onto beaches than originally estimated. The initial estimate provided by San Diego city officials had the spill combining to release a total of 2 million gallons of raw sewage from Pump Station #64 on Roselle Street (which flowed into the Los Penesquitos Creek and Lagoon) and Pump Station #1 (which spilled onto the Sweetwater River and ultimately into San Diego bay). A report issued by San Diego Public Works staff for the city's Natural Resources and Culture committee stated the sewage pumps system is in compliance with the Office of Water Programs for the EPA, which states that two separate and independent sources of the electrical power need to be provided to the states. The report said that some of the city's pumps have backup generators in case a power outage, but both pumps involved in the spill did not. As the power outage went on and the sewage spill continue Public Works officials decided to transport two portable generators to the sites. However, city power was restored before this generators could be hooked up. Pollution fines can also be assessed by the Water Quality Control Board, and the amount of sewage released can have an impact on the amount the city must pay. However, because of the circumstances surrounding the power outage- caused spill, is not clear whether fines will be assessed. Members of San Diego Coastkeeper, is a nonprofit organization with a mission of protecting San Diego's beaches, bays and water quality, reported sewage effects at Los Penasquitos Lagoon, "showing high levels of fecal indicator bacteria, ammonia and phosphorus. Volunteers noted gray-colored water, a strong sewage odor and a fish kill in the lagoon", a release stated. Sewage and state agencies are wagering human and environmental health against the odds of another emergency", said San Diego Coastkeeper executive director Gale Filter. "They are gambling that some sewage pump stations aren't worth the investment of a proper emergency backup." At the San Diego Natural Rescue committee meeting Sep. 28 Public Works staff pledged to study options for backup power generator on site, although a time frame was not given. "Now is the time for the city to reflect its mistakes handling this sewage crisis and take the proper steps to ensure it won't happen again", said Gabriel Solmer, Coastkeeper's advocacy director. "Our human and environmental health and economy depend on the city

5: taking discrete and productive action".

6: Occupy Wall Street: Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is an ongoing series of demonstrations beginning Sep. 17, 2011, in New York City's Zuccotti Park in the Wall Street financial district. The Canadian activist group Adbusters initiated the protests which has since became a worldwide movement. The protest have focused on social and economic inequality, high unemployment, greed, as well as corruption, and the undue influence of the corporations- particularly that of the financial services sector on government. The protester's slogan We are the 99% refers to the gowning difference in wealth in the U.S between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the population. The phrase "The 99%" is a political slogan of "occupy" protester. It was originally launched as a Tumblr blog page in late August of 2011. It refers to the vast concentration of wealth among the top 1% of income earners compared to the other 99 percent, and indicates that most people are paying the price for the mistakes of a tiny minority. The top 1 percent of income earners have more than doubled their income over the last thirty years according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report. The report was released just as concerns of the Occupy Wall Street movement were beginning to enter the national political debate. According to the CBO, between 1979 and 2007 the incomes of the top 1% of Americans grew by an average of 275%. During the same time period, the 60% of Americans in the middle of the income scale saw their income ride by 40%. Since 1979 the average pre-tax income for the bottom 90% of households has decreased by $900, while that of the top 1% increased by over $700,000, as federal taxation became less progressive. From 1992-2007 the top 400 income earns in the U.S. saw their income increase 392% and their average tax rate reduced by 37%. In 2009, the average income of the top 1% was $960,000 with a minimum income of $343,927. In 2007 the richest 1% of the American population owned 34.6% of the country's total wealth and the next 19% owned 50.5%. The top 20% of Americans owned 85% of the country's wealth and the bottom 80% of the population owned 15%.

7: The protesters vary in political outlooks; some are liberals, political independents, anarchists, with others identifying as socialists, libertarians, or environmentalists. Early on the protesters were mostly young due to their pronounced use of social networks through which they promoted the protests. As the protests grew, older protesters also became involved. On October 10th the Associated Press reported that "there's a diversity of age, gender and race" at the protests to a left-learning version of the Tea Party protests.

8: Payroll tax cut on deck as Congress returns: Washington- extending a payroll tax cut from American workers will be high on Congress's agenda as lawmakers return form a Thanksgiving break on Monday, but Democrats and Republicans are deeply divided about how to pay for it. New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer said his party would introduce a plan to extend the tax cut into 2012 next week, and pay for it with a surtax on incomes greater than $1 million. "It's essential that we do this." Schumer said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "It's hard to believe the Republicans would oppose this." Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Sen. Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican, said the payroll tax holiday hasn't stimulated job creations and that it would Enact a year ago, the payroll tax break is due to expire Dec 31 unless Congress extends it. The White House estimates that the tax cut gives about $1,000 a year to a family earning $50,000 annually. President Obama wants to increase the tax cut in 2012 to $1,500. The debate over extending the payroll tax cut will play out in the wake of the future of the Congressional Supercommittee strike a deal to cut the budget deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years. Winning on the payroll-tax cut extensions would refute one of the most unfair criticisms of the president: that he has done poorly in negotiations with congressional Republicans. Agreeing to make the tax cut expire Dec. 2011 was calculated risk that Obama took in dealings with Republicans a year earlier, when he swapped the extension of about $130 billion of the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers, including a new estate-tax break, for almost $270 billion in new breaks for working families, unemployment benefits, and child-care and college credits and deductions for lower-income workers. It was a good deal at the time; it will be a better deal still if the pay-roll tax cut is extended for a second year. This was the win the president hoped for when he accepted the package last December, and collecting on this gamble would

9: further validate his savvy approach. Our economy--and everyone who brings home a paycheck--has a lot at stake in the battle over whether the pay-roll tax cut is extended.

10: Black Friday: Despite consumer confidence in the U.S being at its lowest level since march 2009,consumers opened up their wallets and took out their credit cards this Black Friday to the tone of $11.4 billion- the biggest year-over-year jump in consumer spending on Black Friday sales since 2007! according to Chicago- based Shoppertark, consumer spending on Black Friday rose 66% from the same day in 2010. And online consumer spending jumped even more on Black Friday compared to last years- up 24% according to a Coremetrics benchmark. The actions of American consumers make up for about 70% of U.S. gross domestic product. Consumer spending is not just important to American companies; it is of utmost importance to foreign countries. If consumer spending is rising sharply in the U.S., the manufacturing machine in China continues to roll, the fears of a China's economy coding too quickly subside, and China continues to buy U.S. Treasuries. It's all one big cycle based on U.S. consumer spending. Stocks experienced their worst weekly Thanksgiving drop since 1932 last week- pushing stocks down to oversold levels again. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen from just under 12,200 on November 11, 2011 to 11,231 on Friday, a drop of almost 1,000 points. Twenty-two out of 30 major retailers in the S&P 500 were down Friday. Analysts were concerned about Black Friday sales going onto the weekend and a sale of six-month government bonds on Friday by the Italy demanded a yield of 6.5%- the highest yield on Italian 183-days T-bills in 15 years! With the Dow Jones Industrial Average having fallen 7.9% in 11 trading sessions, the short sellers have made enough money- they don't want to get caught up in the euphoria around better-than-expected Black Friday sales and a possible bailout of Italy, so they are quickly covering their positions, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average sharply higher. According to Chicago-based shopperTrak, retail stores in the U.S. racked up seven percent more sales this Black Friday compared to black Friday 2010. Thats a $1.0-billion increase in sales...news the retail stocks will benefit from.

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