Open Forum: Bailout or No Bailout

September 29, 2008 § 8 Comments

update2: the revised bill passed.
update1: the bill failed to pass by a margin of 228-205.

The U.S. Congress has just reached a deal on a $700 billion bailout plan, designed to rescue struggling U.S. banks. The imminent passing of this enormous bailout package is a perfect example of the ‘equity vs. common good’ dilemma.

In term of fairness, this rescue package is nothing short of robbery. The government is using $700 billion of taxpayer money to bail out wealthy investors and institutions, whose greed and corruption have led to millions of people losing their homes and savings. This plan is also a moral hazard because it would give investors and banks the false security that the government will always step in to bail them out; these people will have the incentive to take big risks again in the future. Furthermore, the bailout will most definitely cripple the government budget resulting in big spending cuts and tax increases. In another word, average Americans will likely be at least two times poorer and worse off than now. Conversely, wealthy investors will be better off.

On the other hand, the cost of inaction is also likely to be high. Washington Mutual, America’s largest savings and loans institution, shockingly filed for bankruptcy just a few days ago. This is a telling sign that the whole U.S. banking system is on the verge of collapse. Without intervention, apocalypse is likely to happen.¬†Imagine all the banks in the U.S. simultaneously collapse. We will see panic on the streets, market crashes around the world, huge job losses, crime waves, and eventually an economic depression. This begs the following question:

If you are in charge of the U.S. government, what course of action would you take? Would you bail out Wall Street or let the free market decides? Is there an alternative?

learn about the Bailout Package

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Open Forum: The Greatest Invention

September 18, 2008 § 11 Comments

Imagine a world without inventions and innovation. What a scare thought! Inventions are a critical component of the human progress. They keep us moving forward and improve the scope and magnitude of our lives. The two earliest inventions were fire and the wheel. Incredibly, these two things are still very much relevant today.

Personal computer and the World Wide Web are two recent examples of modern inventions. You would not be able to read this post without them. Of course, there are numerous other important inventions and innovation. Some help improve our lives; others take them away. This begs the following questions:

Which invention(s) do you believe to be the most important? Which one is your personal favorite? Which one is the most dangerous?

learn about invention

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Open Forum: Iraq War

September 7, 2008 § 7 Comments

Let not debate the merits or demerits of the U.S invasion of Iraq. Instead, the focus should be on what to do next. In recent months, we have seen a dramatic reduction in Iraq’s violence. The troop surge is credited as the main driver behind the decline in violence. The situation in Iraq has improved so much that the Iraqi government is considering asking the U.S. to withdraw its troops from the country. This begs the following question:

If the Iraqi government formally asks the U.S. to leave the country, should the U.S. comply? Share your views on this issue.

Pros: free up funds for domestic priorities, improve U.S. image around the world, empower the Iraqis to take care of their own country, …

Cons: may spark a civil war, allow Iranians a free hand to meddle in Iraq, give terrorists a symbolic victory, …

more pros & cons

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