Why do we vote on Tuesday? ELECTION 2012: WHAT’S AT STAKE


Your-vote-countsWhy do we vote on Tuesday?

Election Day in the United States is the day set by law for the general elections of public officials. It occurs on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

The earliest possible date is November 2 and the latest possible date is November 8.

The next election will be held on November 6, 2012.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Election_Day_(United_States) )

A uniform date for choosing presidential electors was instituted by the Congress in 1845.

Many theories have been advanced as to why the Congress settled on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

The actual reasons, as shown in records of Congressional debate on the bill in December 1844, were fairly prosaic. The bill initially set the national day for choosing presidential electors on “the first Tuesday in November,” in years divisible by four (1848, 1852, etc.). But it was pointed out that in some years the period between the first Tuesday in November and the first Wednesday in December (when the electors met in their state capitals to vote) would be more than 34 days, in violation of the existing Electoral College law.

So, the bill was amended to move the national date for choosing presidential electors forward to the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, a date scheme already used in the state of New York.

In 1845, the United States was largely an agrarian society. Farmers often needed a full day to travel by horse-drawn vehicles to the county seat to vote.

Tuesday was established as Election Day because it did not interfere with the Biblical Sabbath or with market day, which was on Wednesday in many towns.
November was chosen because the economy was driven by farmers

“There’s religious, economic and political reasons we vote on Tuesday,” said Mower county auditor/treasurer Doug Groh. “It all stems from 1845.”

It was the year James Polk became our 11th president and Texas became our 28th state.

“Horse and buggy days, and the county seat was the polling place,” Groh told us.

“A lot of people might have to travel and stay overnight to vote,” added Austin city clerk Lucy Johnson. And since Sunday was a day of rest:

“They allowed Monday to travel to the county seat to vote, so then they voted on Tuesday,” Groh explained.

“November was their first slow month,” said Johnson.

And there was a safe political reason for keeping the vote in November.

“It’s far enough from April 15th when you last paid taxes you kind of forgot, and you haven’t started to think about paying taxes again on April 15th to influence your vote,” Johnson explained.

(Source: http://kaaltv.com/article/stories/s2817722.shtml )

seal-of-the-president-of-the-united-states

Seal of the President of the United States

Some activists oppose this date on the grounds that it decreases voter turnout because most citizens work on Tuesdays, and advocate making Election Day a federal holiday or allowing voters to cast their ballots over two or more days. The United Auto Workers union has negotiated making Election Day a holiday for its workers at the U.S. domestic auto manufacturers.

Many states have implemented early voting, which allows the voters to cast ballots, in many cases up to a month early. Also, all states have some kind of absentee ballot system. The state of Oregon, for example, performs all major elections through postal voting that are sent to voters several weeks before Election Day. Some companies will let their employees come in late or leave early on Election Day to allow them an opportunity to get to their precinct and vote.

Move Election Day to the weekend…

Soboroff and Israel say Tuesday voting bars access to democracy and keeps America’s voter turnout chronically low. They point to census survey data showing that 1 in 4 people says he’s too busy or his schedule doesn’t allow him to get to the polls.

Their solution? Move Election Day to the weekend. Israel has been introducing and reintroducing a bill to move voting to the weekend.

But moving poll day turns out to be no easy task. The weekend voting bill keeps dying in committee. And earlier this year, when the Government Accountability Office talked to elections officials about how weekend voting would work, they came up with a list of logistical difficulties, from keeping equipment safe overnight to recruiting poll workers to work the weekend. There’s also, of course, no guarantee that moving Election Day would change voter turnout.

Then there’s the simple fact that Americans have gotten used to voting on Tuesday. “We’re a very traditional county, and that became a tradition in a lot of ways,” says Ritchie. “That’s the way people were accustomed to doing it, people could count on it, you could set your calendars on it.”

(Source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/10/23/162484410/why-are-elections-on-tuesdays )

Need To Know by PBS.

What’s at Stake reviews top campaign issues and considers how the outcome of the election could impact voters’ lives.

What’s at Stake: PBS Election 2012 From jobs and taxes to climate change, PBS presents an in-depth look at the issues


Check this video out – What’s at Stake: PBS Election 2012

Episode: What’s at Stake: PBS Election 2012

What’s at Stake leads viewers through issues at the center of this year’s campaigns: jobs and tax policy, entitlements and debt, healthcare, and foreign policy. Frontline, PBS Newshour,
Need to Know and Washington Week in Review contribute their special reporting and analysis.

Latest news One Day before Election Day!

“WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney make a frenetic dash to a series of crucial swing states on Monday, delivering their final arguments to voters on the last day of an extraordinarily close race for the White House.

After a long, bitter and expensive campaign, national polls show Obama and Romney are essentially deadlocked ahead of Tuesday’s election, although Obama has a slight advantage in the eight or nine battleground states that will decide the winner.”


“Romney, who would be the first Mormon president, has centered his campaign pitch on his own experience as a business leader at a private equity fund and said it made him uniquely suited to create jobs.

Obama’s campaign fired back with ads criticizing Romney’s experience and portraying the multimillionaire as out of touch with everyday Americans.”
(Source: http://news.yahoo.com/obama-romney-sprint-unpredictable-campaign-finish-021401657.html)

Government Mandated Monopolies,


Government Mandated Monopolies

By Alla Gul (MBA) – Our Contributor

Why are drug companies such as Pfizer allowed to establish and maintain monopolies (patents) on drugs – form of barrier?

Conventional wisdom might suggest that generally monopoly is bad for consumers because of the absence of competition.
A) What type of barrier is this?
B) Do you agree that drug companies should have this government mandated monopoly?  Why?

In economics, a monopoly (from Greek monos / μονος (alone or single) + polein / πωλειν (to sell)) exists when a specific individual or an enterprise has sufficient control over a particular product or service to determine significantly the terms on which other individuals shall have access to it. (This is in contrast to a monopsony which relates to a single entity’s control over a market to purchase a good or service. And contrasted with oligopoly where a few entities have )[1][clarification needed] Monopolies are thus characterized by a lack of economic competition for the good or service that they provide and a lack of viable substitute goods.[2] The verb “monopolize” refers to the process by which a firm gains persistently greater market share than what is expected under perfect competition.

A) Monopoly is the situation in which there is a single seller of a product for which there are no close substitutes (Mankiw, 2004, p.314). A monopoly remains the only seller in the market because other firms can not enter the market and compete with a seller. It might happen due to the following reasons (“Monopoly: A Brief Introduction”, n.d.). First, a single firm owns a key resource.

Second, the government gives a single firm the exclusive right to produce some goods or services. Finally, the costs of production make a single producer more efficient than a large number of producers. As a result, all of the above create barriers to entry causing monopolies to arise. “The fundamental cause of monopoly is barriers to entry” (Mankiw, 2004, p.314). Regardless that government mandated monopolies have had some negative effects on the economy, the government grants the monopoly because doing so is viewed to be in public interests.
When a pharmaceutical company discovers a new drug, it can apply to the government for a patent. If the government approves the patent, the company has an exclusive right to manufacture and sell the drug for 20 years. The drug can not be copied due to protection of a patent (“Monopoly: A Brief Introduction”, n.d.). Many drug companies have been allowed to establish and maintain monopolies (patents) on drugs. These government mandated monopolies have created obstacles for other pharmaceutical companies to enter the market and compete. For example, Pfizer has patents on many drugs including Quinapril, Atorvastatin, and Sildenafil. Until these patents expire, no other company is allowed to produce the same drugs. This gives a company strong monopoly power allowing them to set higher prices and lower level of production than under competition that is considered to be harmful to the economy. However, monopolists argue that granting patents is in the public interest because it would allow them to spend more money on research and development in order to develop new and improved products. “It has long been recognized that government-granted monopolies (i.e., patents, copyrights, trademarks and franchises) can benefit society as a whole by providing financial incentives to inventors, artists, composers, writers, entrepreneurs and others to innovate and produce creative works” (“Monopoly: A Brief  Introduction”, n.d.). In fact, the importance of establishing monopolies of limited duration for this purpose is even mentioned in the Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution which states that “The Congress shall have Power . . . To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries” (“Monopoly: A Brief Introduction”, n.d). Thus, “The government grants the monopoly because doing so is viewed to be in public interests” because “granting patents for discovered drugs encourages research and development” (Mankiw, 2004, p.316).

To summarize, the laws governing patent have benefits and costs. “The benefits of the patent and copyright laws are the increased incentive for creative activity. These benefits are offset, to some extent, by the costs of monopoly pricing” (Mankiw, 2004, p.316).

B) There are intensive discussions on whether drug companies should have this government mandated monopoly. Supporters of such monopolies argue that even if patent laws do impose costs in the form of higher prices and lower availability for consumers, under patent laws, more innovation will occur, which is beneficial  for society as a whole (“Patent Laws and the War on Good Drugs”, 2001). On the other hand, oppositionists state that the law encourages drug monopolies to create artificial scarcity of some drugs in order to have a higher price for their products (Boldrin & Levine  , Chapter 4). Next argument states that the law deprives the poor from affordable drugs and blocks rights of developing nations under TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights).

Despite the clear need for developing countries to exercise their rights to compulsory licensing and parallel imports to enable their people to have access to affordable medicines, a major and perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the crisis of patents and drugs is that obstacles have been and are being put in the way of developing countries seeking to make use of TRIPS provisions on compulsory licensing or parallel imports in order to buy or produce drugs at more affordable prices. (“Patents and monopoly prices”).

To continue, they argue that the high prices can not be justified by large expenses on Research and Development (R&D) since often most of the profits go to cover marketing expenses rather than R&D: “Pfizer says this pricing is necessary to fund new drug research, but 35 percent of its profits drain into marketing and only 15 percent support R&D, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2002…”(“Gov’t should use power to make drugs affordable”). Oppositionists also state that due to the patent law, the pharmaceutical companies are getting less efficient.

In economics, a monopoly exists when a specific individual or an enterprise

In economics, a monopoly exists when a specific individual or an enterprise has sufficient control over a particular product or service

… Another major problem with pharmaceuticals today: The pharmaceutical companies are getting less efficient. They are increasingly turning out drugs that are less important to public health because they’re not as profitable. For example, roughly 70% of new FDA approved drugs are copycats or “me too” drugs which are small variations on existing drugs, usually done to reduce R&D costs and extend the patent life of an existing drug. (“Prescription Drugs”).

Finally, oppositionists conclude that “Patent protection is the most effective tool for drug manufacturers to keep out competition from generic producers and thus maintain monopoly control over the production, marketing and pricing of medicines” (“Patents and monopoly prices: Third Word Network” ). They state that “The net loss to society – from this policy is real and enormous” (Boldrin & Levine  Against Intellectual Monopoly, Chapter 4)

I incline to support those opposing the law. However, I also understand that the protection of intellectual property rights is important, and its violation “not only harms those innovators, such as the drug companies, who would be directly affected, it also does great damage to innovative activity, and indeed all types of capital (“Patent Laws and the War on Good Drugs”, 2001). I do not think I am ready to take one side or the other at this point since this is a complex issue and I do not want to jump to a conclusion ahead of time. I would like to investigate it more thoroughly.

References

Boldrin & Levine YEAR: Against Intellectual Monopoly, Chapter 4: The Evil of Intellectual

Monopoly Retrieved on October 21, 2007  from http://www.micheleboldrin.com/research/aim/anew04.pdf

Gov’t should use power to make drugs affordable

http://www.yaledailynews.com/articles/view/10127?badlink=1
October 17, 2007)

Mankiw,G.(2004). Principles of Economics. Mason, OH: Thomson South-Western

Monopoly: A Brief Introduction, Retrieved on October 20, 2007  from

http://www.linfo.org/monopoly.html

Morgan Rose , 2001, Patent Laws and the War on Good Drugs. Retrieved on October 21,            2007  from http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/Teachers/patent.html.)

Novartis lawsuit threatens access to medicines for millions,  January 20 2007 Retrieved

on October 19, 2007  from http://www.oxfam.org.uk/applications/blogs/pressoffice/2007/01/novartis_lawsuit_threatens_acc.html)

Oxfam Press Release – 12 December 2006: India, Thailand and Philippines must face

down conflicts to guarantee affordable medicines Retrieved on October 21, 2007 from http://www.oxfam.org/en/news/pressreleases2006/pr061212_affordable_medicines6

Patents and monopoly prices: Third Word Network. Retreived on October 19, 2007 from http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/twr131b.htm

Pfizer, Novartis flayed for blocking new drugs to poor nations. Retreived on October 21,  2007  from http://www.dancewithshadows.com/pharma2/pfizer-novartis.asp

Prescription Drugs, April 2006. Retreived on October 20 from http://www.kucinichforcongress.com/issues/prescriptiondrugs.php April 2006

” Novartis lawsuit threatens access to medicines for millions”http://www.oxfam.org.uk/applications/blogs/pressoffice/2007/01/novartis_lawsuit_threatens_acc.html Jan 26 2007

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Economics and its Effect on Business. This is economics and history as they are meant to be: fascinating, informative, and motivating.


Economics and its Effect on Business and on Human Resources and Marketing

In short: Economics is the study of how people choose to use resources.

Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek οἰκονομία (oikonomia, “management of a household, administration”) from οἶκος (oikos, “house”) + νόμος (nomos, “custom” or “law”), hence “rules of the house(hold)”.[1] Current economic models developed out of the broader field of political economy in the late 19th century, owing to a desire to use an empirical approach more akin to the physical sciences

What is Money?

Economics aims to explain how economies work and how economic agents interact. Economic analysis is applied throughout society, in business, finance and government, but also in crime, education, the family, health, law, politics, religion, social institutions, war, and science. The expanding domain of economics in the social sciences has been described as economic imperialism

Economics and its Effect on Business

Economics is the study of how society manages its scarce recourses (Mankiw, 2004, p.4). Since all businesses are part of the economy, the way economy works has a major influence on all functional areas of business. This paper shows how changes in economic activity and inflation affect business as a whole and its Human Resources and Marketing functional areas in particular (“Level 2 Business,” n.d.).

Economic activity changes due to different reasons. Rate of growth at which economic activity changes is called economic growth (“Level 2 Business,” n.d.).  At the time of slow economic growth or recession, people loose their jobs, unemployment level goes up, and income level decreases. As a result, demand for goods and services falls and sales slow down.  Businesses have to consider accommodating to such changes in demand. To illustrate, in order to adjust to a falling demand, a company tries to cut prices to increase sales while suffering lower revenue and decreased profit margin .Thus, the firm might decide to cut back on production and/or reduce number of employees (“Level 2 Business,” n.d.). At the time of economic growth demand and sales increase, unemployment falls, and production goes up as businesses try to cope with the increased demand, Businesses try to accommodate these changes. For example, in order to keep up with the growing demand and increase in production level, firms might reconsider changes in the use of production equipment, changes in equipment or production facilities,  amount of  recourses needed (“Economics Basic,” n.d.  Time and Supply section, para. 1).  All of the above might bring production costs up. This, in turn, brings up prices for goods and services (“Level 2 Business,” n.d.). To control growing cost of production, businesses might decide to cut waste, to change the way people work, to use new technology, or to reconsider number of staff they employ.

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Money, Banking and the Federal Reserve

(45minutes video documentary ..we might not agree with some of the opinions but it worth to watch…

This is economics and history as they are meant to be: fascinating, informative, and motivating.
Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson understood “The Monster”. But to most Americans today, Federal Reserve is just a name on the dollar bill. They have no idea of what the central bank does to the economy, or to their own economic lives; of how and why it was founded and operates; or of the sound money and banking that could end the statism, inflation, and business cycles that the Fed generates.

Dedicated to Murray N. Rothbard, steeped in American history and Austrian economics, and featuring Ron Paul, Joseph Salerno, Hans Hoppe, and Lew Rockwell, this extraordinary film is the clearest, most compelling explanation ever offered of the Fed, and why curbing it must be our first priority.

How an Economy Grows and Why It Doesn’t (by Irwin Schiff)

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Inflation is a rise in a general price level over a period of time (Mankiw, 2004, p.12). For example, prices for goods and services, prices for raw materials, and prices for individual as well as firms insurance go up. It becomes difficult for businesses to plan ahead since inflation affects not only the amount received from for sales but also the prices of input.  Businesses might start paying higher salaries to their employee to keep up with inflation. In addition, prices of raw material go up.

As prices of input increase, a cost of production goes up causing an increase in prices. If wages do not rise by the same level as inflation, spending power is affected, savings level can also fall. This leads to a decrease in income and decrease in demand and sales follow. Again, firms take action in order to accommodate these changes (“Level 2 Business,” n.d.).

Motivators More Powerful than Money?

What Is Economics?

Human Resources (HR) and Marketing areas of business are affected by changes in economic activity and inflation. Because Human Resources functional area is responsible for recruitment, retention, training, conditions of work, health and safety, and worker representation, it has to consider rising or falling unemployment that results from changes in economic activity or inflation. When unemployment rate is rising, the HR department must deal with issues associated withlayingoff firm’s employees, for example. The department can take necessary actions to make this process less painful and less problematic as possible for both the company and its employees. For example, it assists employees to understand and adjust to a new situation. In addition, Human Resources may provide job training to the remaining employees in order to meet changes in their new or expanded job duties.

During increase in economic growth or inflation,   when the level of unemployment is low and firms are in need of more workers, it becomes difficult to recruit necessary employees. The department has to make additional efforts in recruitment in order to get labor. Human Resources is also responsible for retention of company’s labor. The department usually plans for and takes actions that will help a firm to retain its workers. For example, they can provide develop and foster programs aimed at increasing employee satisfaction. The department often considers a possible pay raise to hire new or retain its existing labor force.
Because Marketing department is responsible for market research, market analysis, market strategy, and sales, it pays particular attention to the economic situation to see how current or future demand, prices and sales are going to be affected. This helps to determine actions a firm should take or plan on taking in order to succeed or, at least, to stay in business. For example, observing slow economic growth or inflation when demand and sales are falling, the department will try to cut production and selling costs (“Level 2 Business,” n.d).

Changes in Economic Activity

Changes in Economic Activity

Moreover, it may reconsider and adjust projected sales and prices as well as company’s marketing strategy.  In the time of economic growth when demand and sales increase, unemployment falls, and production goes up, Marketing must consider how to accommodate these changes and adjust production and sales strategy as well as prices accordingly.
In addition, knowledge of current or anticipated economic situation is essential when planning for a new product. Based on the discovery and recommendations of the Marketing department, other departments can properly plan or adjust their work.

To summarize, all functional areas of business including Marketing and Human Resources are affected by changes in economic activity, changes in inflation rate, and other possible changes in economics. These departments as well as entire company should recognize the impact of current and possible future economic situation on business, and take actions in order to accommodate these changes.

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References

Economics Basics: Demand and Supply. Investopedia: A Forbes Media Company

Retrieved September 3, 2007 from http://www.imvestopedia.com/university/economics/economics3.asp

Level 2 Business and economics: The Economic context of business. Level 2

Business and Economics Education. Retrieved September 3, 2007 from

http://www.bized.co.uk/educators/level2/external/lesson/context1.htm

Mankiw, G. (2004). Principles of Economics.Mason, OH: Thomson South-Western

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