Roe v. Wade: Why the Current Ruling is both Unconstitutional and Unethical

Opinions on Debatable Issues #8

Roe v. Wade decides that a woman’s right to choose an abortion was protected by the privacy rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, the ruling was made on a false premise because it only upholds if abortion is a privacy issue. However, abortion is not just about personal preference or subjective opinion, it is a moral perspective that has an objective ethical rightness or wrongness. 

Abortion Induces Moral Relativism - Crisis Magazine
Crisis Magazine

To determine whether abortion is moral or not, we need to examine the essence of a fetus’s life. Any abortion supporters argue that fetuses are not fully human and are not under the protection of the law. Nevertheless, scientific findings show us unequivocally that fetuses are humans, which make abortion the act of murder. Fetuses have their DNA with complete 46 chromosomes, and their own body distinct from their parents and develop their own legs, arms, brains, nervous systems, hearts, and other human organs. They also meet the biological criteria for life because they grow by reproducing cells, metabolize, and respond to stimuli. According to the textbook The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, “Human development begins at fertilization when a sperm fuses with an oocyte to form a single cell, a zygote”, which is “marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”

Why it is biologically sound to call a fetus a 'pre-born child' - Los  Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times

Some argue that the fetus’ brain is not fully developed so abortion would not be killing a human. However, human deaths are related to the brain is because the human body can no longer function as an integrated whole without a brain. If the body can still function, then it would not count as a death. Since “very young embryo does not require it in order to function as an organism and direct her own growth (including the development of her brain)”, despite having no developed brains, fetuses are alive. Therefore, abortion supporters are, in fact, advocating that fetuses, despite being alive and having all human characteristics, do not deserve human rights because they are not considered “human” or “alive” in this philosophical sense. That is morally wrong. 

Roe v. Wade: Decision, Summary & Background - HISTORY
History.com

One argument held by lots of abortion supports is that in the first trimester of development, the fetus is inviable, which is to say that “the fetus is not sufficiently developed as an independent being deserving and requiring the full protection of the law”; as a result, they argue that abortion at first 6 months of pregnancy is legit. However, this standard is not invalid because the reasoning behind it is circular, according to Francis, Beckwith. She argues that to say “a nonviable fetus should not have legal standing because it is not an independent organism” is the same as to say “a nonviable fetus should not have legal standing because it is nonviable”. 

Also, according to this reasoning, only when an organism is by itself independent that it deserves legal protection. As I mentioned before, fetuses are viable biologically even in the first 2 trimesters. Embryologist Maureen L. Condic, a professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine, says “From the moment of sperm-egg fusion, a human zygote acts as a complete whole, with all the parts of the zygote interacting in an orchestrated fashion to generate the structures and relationships required for the zygote to continue developing towards its mature state.” This means no matter what stage the pregnancy is at, the fetus has “molecular composition and behavior characteristic of a self-integrated and self-directed organism”, which makes it viable and should be protected by the law as a human being. 

Does a fetus have human rights? | Debate.org
Debate.org

If the case was overturned, Pre-viability gestational bans and Trigger laws, also called Pre-Roe bans, would be re-enforced in 9 out of the 50 states. This helps people to make moral decisions, which is protecting fetuses regardless of the stage of the pregnancy. 

Some worry that without abortion, mothers would fall into poverty and struggle for the rest of their life, so the fetus would be unwanted and should not be born in the first place. However, many women are just scared and confused to raise a child. Abortion gives them an easy way out and to avoid a responsibility that they are not prepared for at that moment. But all they need is the time to process the shock and be held accountable for their behaviors and the fetus. Maria, a 16-year-old girl got pregnant in 1996. Her father had died the year before and her family has six siblings. They struggled with poverty and her boyfriend’s father also brought the money to pay for a backstreet abortion. As she described, abortion “almost seemed the logical thing to do”. However, her family decided to keep the baby. 20 years later, Maria confessed, “my life as a teen mother was hard. But it was hard even before he came to my life.”

What Is The Difference Between Parental Love And Romantic Love? – Brewminate
Brewminate

I am not saying that we should ignore the difficulties incurred by poor families bearing many children. However, the solution to this issue is not to avoid the burden at the expense of human lives. We should advocate for more financial aids and effective programs to help those families alleviate the situation. 

Also, to clarify, overturning Roe vs.Wade does not mean abortion is illegal even when pregnancy is threatening the life of the mother. If the physician decides that the mother’s life is at stake, then abortion is justified.

Honoring the 14th Amendment and Equal Protection Under the Law - Free  Speech For People
Free speech for people

Roe vs Rade is not an issue of personal preference, but one with a determined moral right and wrong. Since a fetus is a living human, it deserves the right to live and the protection of the law. A law prohibiting abortion is only unjustifiable if it limits the free agency/privacy of someone according to the 14th amendment. Roe v. Wade perceives banning abortion as an impingement of the free agency of the mother. However, abortion is the unjust limit and the hindrance to the actualization of the free agency of fetuses given that they are human beings as well. So, the ruling of Roe and Wade is contradictory to the 14th amendment since abortion impinges the fetus’ constitutional rights, which is stated clearly: “state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”. If the state does not interfere with abortion, the fetus’ right to life is deprived of going through a trial.

With the above points listed out, the current ruling of Roe v. Wade is both immoral and unconstitutionl. Being a violation of the 14th amendment, it should be overturned to establish constitutional and ethical laws.  

Life (American TV series) - Wikipedia
Wikipedia

Sources:

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- Parents Should NOT be Given the Legal Rights to Refuse Medical Treatments for Children
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Parents Should NOT be Given the Legal Rights to Refuse Medical Treatments for Children

Opinions on Debatable Issues #8

Normally, parents have the responsibility and authority to make medical decisions on behalf of their children. With a health-care proxy, parents can act as agents or proxies of their children to get information about the child’s condition, discuss options, express their wishes, and make treatment decisions when the children are unable to make decisions, including the right to refuse or discontinue treatments, even those that may be life-sustaining. 

Children's Medical Treatment and Parents Beliefs
Healthline

Therefore, parents should never be legally allowed to arbitrarily decide whether medical treatments should be carried out for their children. It is true that in most cases, a child’s parents are the persons who care the most about their child and know the most about him or her. As a result, parents are better situated than most others to understand the unique needs of their child and to make decisions that are in the child’s interests. However, parents are not the medical experts and can make uninformed decisions that harm their children’s health, provided that their rights to control their children us unlimited. 

Refusal of necessary medical treatment constitutes child abuse and neglect of their child under the 1974 federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). The definition of negligent treatment includes failure to provide adequate medical care according to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The likelihood and magnitude of the harm of foregoing medical treatment and the benefits, risks, and burdens of the proposed treatment are taken into consideration.

CAPTA - Child Abuse Prevention And Treatment Act
Abbreviations.com

 

Despite the law, in recent years, 43 states had some level of exemption for parents who withhold medical care from their children on religious grounds, according to CHILD USA. That means if a parent refuses medical care for a child and opts instead for only spiritual treatment, the child won’t be considered “neglected” under the law, even if they’re harmed or die. As a result, children, especially infants or younger ones, can easily die from readily treatable conditions, such as pneumonia, appendicitis, or diabetes. There is a cure available and parents should not take the chance of life or healing from their children despite that they are too young or uninformed to make decisions for themselves. 

Researchers: Look at factors outside the family that cause child neglect -  UConn Today
University of Connecticut

Most commonly, people argue that some families are refuse medical treatment due to fiancial difficulties. It is understandable that paying medical bills, especially in the US, can be very costly and burdensome for an entire family if the child requires constant treatment and medication. However, a child’s life is at stake and we must seek solutions instead of giving up. Families can seek help from the government. The Affordable Care Act, for instance, provide preventive services like immunization, and Medical, dental, and vision coverage for a child under age 19, even if he or she has a disability or pre-existing medical condition like diabetes or asthma. Many nonprofit organizations can also help people out. The HealthWell Pediatric Assistance Fund aims to “ provide financial assistance to eligible families so their children can start or continue critical, often life-saving medical treatments, they desperately need.”

Hospital and Surgery Costs – Paying for Medical Treatment
Debt.org

Besides financial concerns, some parents simply refuse medical treatment because of their religion or spirituality. Many religious groups routinely reject some or all mainstream health care on theological grounds, including Christian Scientists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Amish, and Scientologists. The members of the Followers of Christ refuse “all medical treatment in favor of prayer, anointing with oil, and the laying on of hands”. Christian Scientists consider most illnesses to be the result of the “individual’s mental attitude and seek healing through spiritual means, such as prayer”. They refuse modern medical procedures on the ground that these healing practices incompatible with concurrent medical treatment.

What is Christian Science? - Christian Science
Christian Science

Between 1975 and 1995, One hundred seventy-two children were identified by referral or record search with evidence that parents withheld medical care because of reliance on religious rituals and documentation and caused their deaths. There are undoubtedly more lives lost as most cases never got reported or had no medical record. 

It is not the parents’ right to martyr their children for their parents’ religious beliefs. Even though some younger children are not able to make complex decisions for themselves, it does not mean that parents are the only authority that has a say in the medical treatment of children, whose lives are their own, not their parents. Therefore, when making medical decisions that are disagreed between parents and caregivers, parents mustn’t have the right to decide arbitrarily. For those who refuse based on religious grounds, parents have no way to prove that the children will join the parents’ religion when they reach adulthood and approve the decisions they made today. Therefore, it is a violation of inalienable rights to life, liberty, and happines for parents to assume that what they think is better or what they believe is right and what should be done on their children when they are actrually doing them harms.

To ensure that the children are given the chance to be treated when making serious decisions, physicians should be legally and morally obligated to challenge the parents’ refusal of medical treatments for their children. This can be done by appealing to the court or seek help from the Child Protection Services, which reach out to children “suspected of being abused, neglected or harmed, or whose parents are unable to provide adequate care or protection”. 

Child Protective Services | Austin Family Law Attorney
Sablatura & Williams PLLC

“Faith-based medical neglect is the only kind of child abuse and neglect that’s actually protected by law in many states,” said Rita Swan, co-founder of the group Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty. The free exercise of religion, including parents teaching their children their religious beliefs, is an important societal value, it must be balanced against other important societal values, such as protecting children from serious harms, which include death, severe disability, or severe pain. Swan also argues that “parents should be given the responsibility of providing children with the basic necessities of life, regardless of their religious beliefs.” It’s only when they put their love and concern for their children’s health above all things, including religious beliefs, that they can make decisions in the best interest of their children. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “infants and children lack the ability to make autonomous medical decisions; therefore, the law generally authorizes their parents or guardians to make such decisions on their behalf.” Even though parents have the authority to refuse medical treatment in the best interest of their children, their liberty should be also be limited in cases of direct harm to third parties, such as the risk of transmitting serious infectious diseases. For instance, if their children are infected with a contagious disease that is not life-threatening, but still imposes health risks on others, the children will not be treated based on the parents’ spiritual beliefs. This can cause infection of the third party. For instance, some children are infected with COVID-19 and might only have mild symptoms. Some parents do not believe in COVID and treat it as a cold or fever and do not take precautions such as seeking medical care or wearing masks. Those children can infect elders or people with underlying medical conditions that make them vulnerable. The consequences of the parents not treating their children can very likely cause serious illness and health issues of others. That should not be allowed. 

Key question for coronavirus response: What's kids' role in spreading it?
Stat News

In the US, we share the value of child protection. We save them from domestic violence, sexual harassment, and medical neglect. There is no difference between child neglect, which is “a parent or caregiver not giving the care, supervision, affection, and support needed for a child’s health, safety, and well-being.” In the case of deny medical treatments when the children require professional help and the cure is available, knowledgable refusal is failing to provide the necessary support to ensure the physical well-being of a child. As the Committee on Bioethics contests, “that all children deserve the appropriate medical treatment that is likely to prevent substantial harm, suffering, or death.”

Discussing child protection in international schools | IB Community Blog
IB Community Blog

Sources:

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The United States Elections Should NOT be Run as a “Lottocracy”.

Opinions on Debatable Issues #7

Lottocracy, also called sortition, is the selection of political officials as a random sample from a larger pool of candidates. Ernest Callenbach and Michael Philips argue this “scheme would ensure fair representation for the people and their interests, elimination of many realpolitik behaviors, and a reduction in the influence of money and associated corruption, all leading to better legislation”. However, lottocracy is impracticable in the US when brought into practice. Here is why.

Should We Replace Traditional Elections with Sortition? – Reason.com
Reason Magazine


Foremost, lottocracy can cause incompetent officials to be elected, which is unhelpful in creating an effective political system. In an elections-based system, we elect representatives because we believe they’re good at their jobs. According to Susan Stokes, professor of political science at Yale University, “There are ways in which we want our elected officials to look like us and then there are other ways in which we want them to be better than us”. But in lottocracy, as professor Ashley Koning of Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute of Politics says, “Some individuals may not want or are simply not equipped with the right skill set to serve.” In contrast, elections allow the most experienced and informed candidate to take the job because, naturally, citizens vote based on the past achievements of the candidates. Lottocracy can put a person with no basic knowledge about the Constitution nor federal laws to the important job of directing the future of our nation.

5 tips for working with incompetent co-workers | The Seattle Times
The Seattle Times


Some argue that capability is not a problem because a cognitive test will be conducted and basic training on specific topics and communication with local experts will be provided to inform the people being selected in a lottocracy. However, those cannot make them competent and experienced enough to be Senators or Congressmen. Despite that they might feel pressured by the responsibility put on them, it is simply unrealistic for ordinary citizens to obtain abundant legal knowledge and understanding of politics in such a short amount of time. You cannot train a normal person into a gymnastic in a couple of weeks and put that person into an Olympic contest, expecting them to bring the US a gold medal.

Do You Have Unrealistic Expectations of Your Grief - Grief Inspired
Grief Inspired


Besides the problem of incompetence, lottocracy undermines democracy. A country’s future cannot be thrown into the hands of fate or luck because it will engender chaos and dissatisfaction. Unlike jury duty, in which people are randomly chosen to decide something usually has little impact on the entire country, Senators and Congressmen represent the people’s will and shape the future of the US. Therefore, only when the candidate that is supported by the majority of citizens is elected, we are closer to democracy. If lottocracy can create the best outcome, then citizens should not worry about whether Sen. Doug Jones is going to be elected as the Alabama senator because any candidate is sane and educated. But, in reality, people are doing what they can to influence the election in a way that fits their desired outcome because that is the only way for us to feel represented and heard. We will always prefer one candidate over the other or dislike a candidate. The only way to have the majority satisfied and to maximize the citizens’ power and fulfill their will about who holds power and how this country looks like in the future is to maintain the current elections-based system because voting ensures that who gets the majority’s votes got elected. In a lottocracy, a candidate with only a 5% of approval rate can get elected, leaving 95% citizens discontent. This is the opposite of democracy because the candidates that represent the will of the majority do not get the job.

Should Decisions Be by Minority or Majority? – New Shepherds Orientation  and Seasoned Shepherds Revitalization
New Shepherds Orientation


Some argue that the current system tends to disproportionately select for social and economic elites as officeholders and lottocracy eliminate this. However, it is natural and ideal for social elites to be advantageous in elections. I am not saying that it is fair for the wealthy to remain in power, however, it is what is best for the current society. Let me explain. As Peter Belmi, Ph.D., of the University of Virginia contests, “Advantages beget advantages. Those who are born in upper-class echelons are likely to remain in the upper class, and high-earning entrepreneurs disproportionately originate from highly educated, well-to-do families.” Future generations of wealthier families or those who have political affiliations are born with advantages that shape them into competent candidates. Very few low-income students are admitted or recruited to elite universities, where high-paying employers go to recruit. In contrast, low-income students that can enroll in college disproportionately attend under-resourced colleges or universities and end up with low-paid jobs. Thus, usually, people from higher social classes are more competent and informed, and resourceful, to hold political office. This is an indisputable fact and cannot be reversed by simply changing to lottocracy without addressing the real problem of social disparity.

For richer, for poorer | Special report | The Economist
The Economist


What’s gonna happen in a lottocratic system in the US today is that unqualified candidates from lower social classes will fail to do their jobs or at least o them not as well as others could have done. This inevitably incurs dissatisfaction from other candidates, politicians, and citizens while undermining the effectiveness of the US political system. The only situation that can make lottocracy workable and create ideal outcomes is an egalitarian society where everyone has the same education and equal opportunities. But there is no way that the US is an egalitarian country or will be one in the future. Therefore, the election method should be realistic and adapt to the current economic and social disparities. Therefore, the current system that allows competent candidates, despite that they are often social elites, to be elected is overall better than lottocracy.

How To Deal With Customer Dissatisfaction | Small Business Automated
Small Business Automated


Lastly, lottocracy diminishes the powerful incentives of candidates to “ascertain and address the concerns of the citizenry” and “to perform at least minimally competently to promote their chances of re-election”. The pressure to obtain public support by recognizing problems that exist in this country and making improvements and contributing to the welfare of more citizens are generated in elections-based government. In lottocracy, there is no incentive for candidates to do so because all that’s going to decide their chance of getting the job is luck, so there is no point to do more for citizens in exchange for their support.

snoozing clipart - Clip Art Library
Clipart Library


Many argue in favor of lottocracy because of the flaws with the current election system. Even though there are legit concerns that current candidates’ focus on campaign and fundraising makes the results undemocratic because of the influences of economic and political circumstances, electoral finance rules can mitigate the elite advantage in electoral systems. According to the USA government, the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) puts limits on campaign contributions to candidates for president and Congress. It requires the candidates to report all the money their campaigns receive and spend. With this limit, the extent to which economic and political influence might impact the election results is controlled.

Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 - Ballotpedia
Ballotpedia


In short, lottocracy is not the solution to safeguard Democracy in the US. The root problem of the political and economic domination of social elites in top political positions must be addressed from bottom to top, which is to say that we need to provide equal education, opportunities, and other subsidies to abridge the incrementing socioeconomic disparities. Without creating a more equal society, in which most people are competent and informed, adapting lottocracy will only result in legislative chaos, civil dissatisfaction, and an ineffective political system.


The current election system is not perfect. Nevertheless, the solution is not to abandon it and go to the other side of the spectrum completely, but to adapt and improve it.

Democracy still works — but only if we work at it | Financial Times
Financial Times

Sources:

  1. https://equalitybylot.com/2019/03/12/lottocracy-among-5-ideas-to-upgrade-democracy/
  2. https://people.well.com/user/mp/citleg.html
  3. https://www.usa.gov/voting-laws 
  4. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190520093452.htm
  5. https://www.forbes.com/sites/wesleywhistle/2020/12/31/wealth-inequality-and-higher-education-how-billionaires-could-make-a-difference/#409c2a0239db
  6. https://www.fec.gov/help-candidates-and-committees/candidate-taking-receipts/contribution-limits/

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https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/07/09/nature-vs-nurture/
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- Roe v. Wade: Why the Current Ruling is both Unconstitutional and Unethical
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/10/10/roe-v-wade-why-the-current-ruling-is-both-unconstitutional-and-unethical/

Using MORE Nuclear Energy for Commercial Energy Generation. Yes or No?

Opinions on Debatable Issues #6

What is commercial energy? According to sicencedirect.com, the energy sources that are used to generate electricity and that are available in the marketplace with a specific price are known as commercial energy sources. The most commercialized forms of commercial energy sources are electricity, coal, and advanced petroleum products. The major sources of commercial energy worldwide are oil, coal, and gas. In 2019, 11% of US primary energy consumption came from renewable energy and 8% came from nuclear electric power.

eia

The increasing detrimental impacts of global warming alarmed more countries to seek a more sustainable energy source that can effectively reduce carbon emission. Natural gas, which is the main energy source in the U.S. today, generates electricity with half of the carbon emission as coal. It is good, but not as good as nuclear energy, as many have found. Nuclear power plants generate electricity with no significant output of carbon. Specifically, they release only 4-5% of greenhouse gases as a natural gas-fired power plant.

Is Nuclear Energy Renewable? The Future of Nuclear Energy
Inspire Energy


Not only does nuclear energy help ameliorate global warming, but it also has a higher capacity than other major energy sources. Solar power relies on the sun, which is an intermittent energy source, causing its capacity to plummet sharply. According to Yale Environment, nuclear power plants generated 20% of US electricity with “an average capacity factor of 92.3%, meaning they operated at full power on 336 out of 365 days per year.” The 29 days that the plants did not run were used for maintenance. In contrast, hydroelectric systems had a capacity factor of 38.2%, solar electricity arrays were 25.1%, and coal or natural gas plants only scored 50%. In terms of capacity, nuclear energy surpasses all other major energy sources.


A major misconception of nuclear energy usage is that it releases a huge amount of radiation. However, when put into perspective and compared with other sources of radiation, nuclear energy cannot be labeled as “dangerous” in terms of its radiation production. Coal “contains a substantial volume of the radioactive elements uranium and thorium. Burning coal gasifies its organic materials, concentrating its mineral components into the remaining waste, called fly ash”, which is the major source of radioactive releases into the environment. Not only that, but NRC contests that people living within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant would also only receive an average radiation dose of about 0.01 millirem per year, which is 1/300 of the amount an average person receives from natural background sources of radiation annually.

Coal Ash Is More Radioactive Than Nuclear Waste - Scientific American
Scientific American


Despite being seemingly innocuous and cost-effective, there are downsides of nuclear energy usage that must be taken into considerations. The risk of accidents of uncontrolled nuclear reactions in a nuclear reactor could result in widespread contamination of air and water. Some argue that the risk is small because of the rigorous regulatory requirements and oversight of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. However, history tells us otherwise, in February 2014, a radiological release incident occurred despite the regulations and surveillance. It was caused by a single waste drum, which was packaged incorrectly with organic kitty litter, which reacted with waste product in the drum and caused an explosion, at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Worse, WIPP’s air filtration system failed to fully contain the radiological release within the facility, destroying outside of the facility. Not only that, but the analysis by the Los Angeles Times also estimated that the long-term cost of the incident was around 2 billion dollars. One small mistake caused such financial loss and contamination of the land due to radioactive release. The consequences are unimaginable if any of the nuclear power plants have any other issues.

Furthermore, the United States has not yet had an effective solution to deal with the disposal of radioactive wastes. Materials like uranium mill tailings and reactor fuel can remain radioactive and dangerous to human health for thousands of years. The United States only has one facility engaged in the permanent disposal of nuclear waste: the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico. Although the United States contains more than 90,000 metric tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste, the federal government has been unable to implement any strategy for its permanent disposal. That means nuclear power won’t be a sustainable energy source for the long term. This means the United States is not ready for using nuclear energy on a larger scale and rushing this process without a solution to waste disposal creates a problem in the long run regardless of climate change is ameliorated. It might seem we solved a problem, but the truth is we just created another one.
Very expensive. The capital costs of nuclear power plants are greater than those for coal-fired plants and much greater than those for gas-fired plants.

Detrimental environmental impacts of using nuclear energy. According to conserve energy future.com. Nuclear waste can have drastically bad effects on life, causing cancerous growths, for instance, or causing genetic problems for many generations of animals and plants. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, The extraction of uranium, which is used as fuel for nuclear reactors that make electricity, leaves behind radioactive waste. Uranium eventually decays to radium, which decays to release a radioactive gas called radon that disperses into the atmosphere. Wind can, and storms have, blow radioactive dust from the wastes into populated areas, causing the wastes to contaminate surface water used for drinking. Some sites also have considerable groundwater contamination. Even though these might not directly cause cancer on humans beings, the long-term detrimental impacts on the environment are irretrievable and cannot be ignored.

Japan dumps 11,500 tonnes of radioactive water into series
The Telegraph


The increased usage of nuclear energy can potentially lead to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. According to arms control and non-proliferation, facilities constructed for use in a nuclear energy program could eventually be used to produce nuclear weapons. “Specifically, the key risk lies with the nuclear fuel cycle because facilities and technologies used in the enrichment and reprocessing of nuclear fuel can also be used to produce fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons. Also, to increase nuclear energy usage means development and increased usage of “uranium enrichment technology that can also be used to produce weapons-grade uranium, which can be used to make a nuclear weapon”. This poses a threat to the entire nation and should be a paramount concern.

In short, nuclear energy has many favorable capabilities that can help the United States, and the world as a whole, to reduce carbon emission and produce commercial energy more efficiently. However, the unsolved problem of waste disposal and risks of radiological release makes it an uneasy call to operate nuclear power plants on a larger scale. Scientists and the legislative branch must work together on evaluating the benefits and dangers of increasing the usage of nuclear energy and coming up with necessary rigorous regulations and protective policies to ensure the safety and health of not just our citizens, but also the animals, plants, and our only home — Earth.

Nuclear weapons proliferation: Fears to increase if US sells technology to  Saudi Arabia | Middle East Eye
Middle East Eye

Sources:

Check out other Opinions on Debatable Issues:
- Nature vs. Nurture
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/07/09/nature-vs-nurture/
- The "Weaknesses" of DACA
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/08/25/the-weaknesses-of-daca/
- Why the US Should Hold Onto USPS
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/01/why-the-us-should-hold-onto-usps/ 
- Why No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is a FAILURE
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/05/why-no-child-left-behind-act-ncld-is-a-failure/  
- The Fairness of Progressive Taxes
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/12/the-fairness-of-progressive-taxes/ 
- The United States Elections Should NOT be Run as a "Lottocracy".
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/26/the-united-states-elections-should-not-be-run-as-a-lottocracy/
- Parents Should NOT be Given the Legal Rights to Refuse Medical Treatments for Children
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/10/03/parents-should-not-be-given-the-legal-rights-to-refuse-medical-treatments-for-children/
- Roe v. Wade: Why the Current Ruling is both Unconstitutional and Unethical
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/10/10/roe-v-wade-why-the-current-ruling-is-both-unconstitutional-and-unethical/

The Fairness of Progressive Taxes

Opinions on Debatable Issues #5

Progressive Taxes is a taxation system that imposes different tax rates based on the taxpayers’ financial ability with low-income individuals paying fewer taxes. Tax brackets are used to group taxpayers by income ranges. The money the individual earns places him or her into a bracket, resulting in a higher tax rate once the dollar amount hits a new threshold. Some misunderstand progressive taxes by thinking that if their incomes reach the bracket that imposes a certain taxation rate, they have to pay that percentage of their total income as tax. However, progressive taxation only requires the amount of money that reaches the bracket threshold to be taxed at that rate. For instance, if a $20,000-$40,000 bracket has a taxation rate of 20%, someone that earns $24,000 will only have to pay 20% of the 4000 dollars that reached the $20,000 threshold. The first $20,000 will be applied to whatever tax rate is for the below $20,000 bracket.

The Smart Money: Progressive versus regressive taxation
New Maine Times


First and foremost, it is a moral obligation for the more well-off individuals to help restrain disparities in income and help provide revenue to make public services available to all Americans. According to americansfortaxfairness, the richest 1% of Americans own 35% of the nation’s wealth. The bottom 80% own just 11% of the nation’s wealth. Furthermore, according to the Pew Research Center, The poorest half of Americans have only 2% of all wealth, half as much as their parents had 25 years ago. Meanwhile, the share owned by the top 1% of families has increased by 32%, showing the exacerbation of economic disparities in the US. By imposing progressive taxes, we can create an environment that successfully abridges this social gap and creates more equal opportunities for everyone. The poor and the wealthy are all part of this country and society. Helping those that are most vulnerable when having the ability is both moral and necessary. It also creates a more united community that can strive for prosperity as a whole without the poorest portion lagging. Since the wealthier people are the members of the society, they are obligated to help their neighbors.

Income inequality: The difference between the US and Europe, in one chart -  Vox
Vox


Second, Progressive taxes are fair because they help correct unfairness that exists in society. We do not have the same starting line because of race, gender, religion, sexuality, appearances, family background, and so on. The poorly experienced unfairness since they were born and a great part of their poverty can be ascribed to unequal opportunities. So having the wealthy use the money they earned from their privileges to help those that are unprivileged is fair. It is ungrounded to say that it will be a burden for the wealthy. Even with the higher tax rate, they will be fine; billionaires like Warren Buffett and even Mark Cuban attested to this, saying that they would be willing to pay more in taxes. On the other hand, for the government to provide “basic housing, nourishment, health care, and education” to the rest of its citizens, money is needed, and it comes from taxing the most well-off people. For the most fortunate to fail to correct the unfairness that exists in society long before we are born would be a moral failure.

Meritocracy: the great delusion that ingrains inequality | Politics | The  Guardian
The Guardian


Third, progressive taxes are fair because they are repayments to society. Many argue that fairness means that we reap the rewards of our labor, that what they earn inherently belongs to them. However, things that contributed to their success are not just their hard work. If the society did not provide them with the opportunities and resources, none of their current prosperities would exist. According to Melinda Gate, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett said that they could not have done what “they did without having grown up in the United States, benefiting from the United States education system, benefiting from the infrastructure that exists here to build a business.” In short, they could not have done what they did without the help that the US and society provided them. It is thus a fair repayment of what the society gave them in the first place to build up their success to help the economy and contribute to society’s welfare by helping those that are least well-off.

New Hampshire APRN Loan Repayment Strategies - Elliot
Elliot


Fourth, fair means consonant with merit or importance, according to Merriam Webster. So let’s examine whether a flat tax fulfills this definition. Are the richest deserving of their wealth based on this? Are their wealth gained only from their merit? No. Cornell University economic professor Robert Frank said that “we often dramatically underestimate the role of luck in our success”. Luck began far before we were born. Qualities like smart, inclined to work hard, and ambition are all unknown mixtures of genetics and environmental factors. You didn’t choose where to be born, you didn’t raise yourself, or provide the genes that made you who you are. There is no such thing called “self-made” in reality. Therefore, for the more wealthy people to hold on all their belongings and pay the exact amount of taxes as others when their success is largely based on luck that others don’t have, instead of merit, would be contracting the very definition of fairness.

Are inheritance taxes unfair?
Coppola Comment


Fifth, progressive taxation, which is simply taxing the wealthy more, is beneficial to the economy. “The money allocated to programs such as affordable healthcare, Pell grants, food stamps, and Earned Income Tax Credit – or given to working- and middle-class Americans through tax cuts – will be redistributed into the economy and stimulate growth.” This has been proven by history: President Clinton raised the top marginal income tax rate from 31 to 39.6 percent. Subsequently, the GDP growth reached 4 percent every year in his second term. In contrast, President George W. Bush’s tax cuts led to no significant economic growth and eventually recession. Because middle- and low-income families spend a greater portion of their incomes than the very rich do, distributing money to them would increase economic activity, let more money would recycle through the market, and stimulate national economic growth.


Some argue that taxing the rich people more of what they earn will diminish innovation and cause inertia. However, despite money being a big incentive to work hard, it is not the only one. Many people pursue more than just material gains but accomplishments and contributions to human development. A wealth tax will not reduce any of those other motivations; in fact, it might galvanize the lazy offspring of millionaires to do something in an attempt to maintain their wealth and even earn more.

Master the Ways of Increasing Employee Motivation
Officevibe


Some also argue that wealth is the reward of labor and hardworking. However, that is usually not the case. Many rich are passing wealth to their heirs tax-free, creating a new American aristocracy with vast fortunes, while millions of Americans remain homeless. And those who inherited that wealth can use that to make more fortune in a way that is much easier than grassroots. As Alan Kalake said, “There is a need to distinguish two types of wealth … the wealth that is earned … (vs.) that which is inherited… Each member of society must contribute to society’s wealth by building their own and sharing.” Therefore, imposing flat taxes is unfair to those who are born in lower social classes.


Lastly, I want to clarify that fairness does not mean equal and same. Just like a competition between a disabled man and a healthy man. Fairness means giving some extra help to the disabled man (born poor) or imposing some limits on the healthy person (born wealthy), like imposing progressive taxes. Requiring a flat tax will be unfair because that is like requiring the disabled man to race the healthy man with no assistance at all.

What is a liberal? Fairness is my core value – Progressive Culture |  Scholars & Rogues
Scholars & Rogues


In conclusion, progressive taxation is a fair system that keeps the wealthier people accountable for their moral obligation and rightful repayment to society while adhering to the very definition of fairness.

The “Purpose” and “Job” of Government: Wealth Redistribution?
The Institue of Faith & Freedom

Sources:

Check out other Opinions on Debatable Issues:
- Nature vs. Nurture
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/07/09/nature-vs-nurture/
- The "Weaknesses" of DACA
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/08/25/the-weaknesses-of-daca/
- Why the US Should Hold Onto USPS
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/01/why-the-us-should-hold-onto-usps/ 
- Why No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is a FAILURE
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/05/why-no-child-left-behind-act-ncld-is-a-failure/  
- The United States Elections Should NOT be Run as a "Lottocracy". https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/26/the-united-states-elections-should-not-be-run-as-a-lottocracy/
- Parents Should NOT be Given the Legal Rights to Refuse Medical Treatments for Children
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/10/03/parents-should-not-be-given-the-legal-rights-to-refuse-medical-treatments-for-children/
- Roe v. Wade: Why the Current Ruling is both Unconstitutional and Unethical
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/10/10/roe-v-wade-why-the-current-ruling-is-both-unconstitutional-and-unethical/

Why No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is a FAILURE

Opinions on Debatable Issues #4

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Its main purpose is to improve education for all American students. The U.S. Department of Education emphasizes the Act’s operation following 4 pillars:

  • Accountability: to ensure those students who are disadvantaged achieve academic proficiency.
  • Flexibility: Allows school districts flexibility in how they use federal education funds to improve student achievement.
  • Research-based education: Emphasizes educational programs and practices that have been proven effective through scientific research.
  • Parent options: Increases the choices available to the parents of students attending Title I schools.
State seeks No Child Left Behind waivers | Federal Way Mirror

The goal is ideal but unrealistic. The implementation of NCLB made no significant improvements in students’ academic performance when a huge amount of U.S. funds and resources were used for its sake.

Under the NCLB law, states must test and report students in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school for both the student population as a whole and for particular “subgroups” of students, including English-learners and students in special education, racial minorities, and children from low-income families. States were also required to bring all students to the “proficient level”. However, no definition of “proficiency” was given from the federal government, so each state got to decide, individually, what “proficiency” should look like, and which tests to use for determination. This gives the states unbounded freedom to interpret the expectation and decide how to operate. Usually, that results in states implementing ineffective or even detrimental policies that are subjective and prone to manipulation to avoid the sanctions imposed by federal intervention without bringing actual improvement to students’ academic performance. 

NCLB - Reading, Math & Science Proficiency on National Assessment of  Education Progress, Grades K-12 (U. S. Dept of Education) - Wrightslaw
Wrightslaw

Furthermore, NCLB stipulates that if a school misses AYP, which is a mechanism known as “adequate yearly progress” to keep track of the progress made by states, for two years in a row, it has to allow students to transfer to a better-performing public school in the same district. If it misses three years in a row, the school must offer free tutoring. However, in reality, students often did not take advantage of the opportunity to transfer to another school or get free tutoring when schools fail to meet the AYP. Simply put, many states found that goal to be unrealistic and got around them in practice. They either created “super subgroups” that lumped all disadvantaged students together or integrating more subjective measures like parent/teacher involvement.

Moreover, NCLB requires states to ensure their teachers are “highly qualified,” which generally means that they have a bachelor’s degree in the subject they are teaching and state certification. States are also supposed to ensure that “highly qualified’ teachers are evenly distributed among schools with high concentrations of poverty and wealthier schools. However, “loopholes in alternative-certification programs and the proliferation of emergency certification to fill teaching shortages have made the goal of high quality impossible to achieve”. For example, The U.S. Department of Education found in 2013-14 that of the 37,270 individuals in Texas that enrolled in teacher-training programs in Texas, more than 15,000 were in alternative programs unaffiliated with any university. Those unqualified teachers are still getting jobs and teaching students after the implementation of NCLB, which is, thus, proven to be ineffectual. The consequence is obvious: Texas had its highest number of cases of teacher misconduct in nearly a decade (222 investigations in the 2016 fiscal year) and the Texas Education Agency asked for additional funding to investigate more than 1,100 backlogged allegations. Flawed teacher-recruiting programs were also found to cause a consistent decline in student achievement, particularly for minority students, in Texas. Saliently, NCLB does not provide qualified teachers, which is unbeneficial to the U.S. educational system.

Feeling Unqualified? God will equip You! | God TV
shutter stock

In addition, NCLB is a costly investment that yields no return. Due to NCLB, The Federal education funding into the Education Department has increased by 63. 8% from 2000 to 2010, which is an addition of $24.6 billion to its budget, according to the Education Department Web site. However, there has been little improvement in America’s test scores and an overall further diminishment of U.S. education on the world stage. “Results from the Nation’s Report Card from the Education Department says for 4th Grade reading proficiency in 2002 found 38 percent below basic, 32 percent basic, 23 percent proficient and 6 percent advanced. In 2009 for reading, 34 percent were below basic, 34 percent at basic, 24 percent at proficient, and 7 percent at advanced.” No change in score occurred for 8th graders was seen as well. More evidence is corroborating this lack of improvement in intelligence and academic knowledge: In 2000, when the Programme for International Student Assessment was administered for the first time, the U.S. ranked 15th in reading and 19th in math according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Nevertheless, in 2010, U.S. students ranked 14th place in reading literacy among OECD nations and ranked 25th in Math. Not only that no significant improvement in reading skills was made, Mathamateic performance of U.S. students plummeted drastically. There is no way that this can be called as beneficial and effective. To state bluntly, the NCLB act is a big waste of money. 

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND: A DEEPLY FLAWED FEDERAL POLICY - Ladd - 2017 -  Journal of Policy Analysis and Management - Wiley Online Library

Lastly, sanctions that are imposed are another big flaw of NCLB. Due to the lack of progress, many schools became subject to sanctions, which includes firing the principal and most of the staff, converting to a charter school, lengthening the school day or year, or closing down the school entirely. Though designed to pressure schools into making substantial changes, the sanctions do not help the school to provide better education to students when put into practice. An analysis of the law’s effects in North Carolina suggests that the threat of sanctions generally can only temporarily goose test scores, no substantial school improvement was made in the long term. This is supported by the fact that 29 percent of the schools failed to meet the AYP in 2006. But after the sanctions were imposed, 38 percent of schools were failing to make adequate yearly progress in 2010. This increase of 9% of failing states in 4 years cannot be stronger to suggest the uselessness of those sanctions.

The Mess of No Child Left Behind - The Atlantic
The Atlantic

Sources:

Check out other Opinions on Debatable Issues:
- Nature vs. Nurture
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/07/09/nature-vs-nurture/
- The "Weaknesses" of DACA
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/08/25/the-weaknesses-of-daca/
- Why the US Should Hold Onto USPS
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/01/why-the-us-should-hold-onto-usps/ 
- The Fairness of Progressive Taxes
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/12/the-fairness-of-progressive-taxes/ 
- The United States Elections Should NOT be Run as a "Lottocracy".
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/26/the-united-states-elections-should-not-be-run-as-a-lottocracy/
- Parents Should NOT be Given the Legal Rights to Refuse Medical Treatments for Children
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/10/03/parents-should-not-be-given-the-legal-rights-to-refuse-medical-treatments-for-children/
- Roe v. Wade: Why the Current Ruling is both Unconstitutional and Unethical
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/10/10/roe-v-wade-why-the-current-ruling-is-both-unconstitutional-and-unethical/

Why the US Should Hold Onto USPS

Opinions on Debatable Issues #3

USPS is the oldest and most important public goods in American history. It has catalyzed the development of many of our nation’s essential networks. Our national roads, railroad systems, and even airlines were kicked off by a need to transport mail around the country as efficiently as possible. 50 years after its establishment in 1971, USPS has survived and continues to play an important role in our daily life. It is among the country’s most popular institutions, enjoying approval ratings as high as 90 percent. The transparent and straightforward public review demonstrates the dedication and favorable service USPS has been providing to the US citizens for decades. However, an increasing volume and amount of voice are advocating for abolishing the Postal Service amid the Pandemic, criticizing its inability to pay for the accruing debt and inefficient delivery.


In response to the criticisms, I would argue that most of those issues are not legit reasons to wipe out the great contributions and services provided by USPS to have it abolished. The slow delivery is mostly due to the political tension that intensifies as the presidential election approaches. Besides, the opposition regarding the debt and lack of profit fails to consider the essence of USPS. The Postal Service was founded by Congress to achieve various public purposes, and is not a private enterprise despite the PRA gives the Postal Service a high degree of independence from other Government offices. Thus, making money is never the purpose of the USPS. As applied to public education and public libraries, self-sufficiency is not the measure of any public federal agency’s success. Otherwise, all public schools and libraries, fire stations, and police offices should all be eliminated on this ground.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy departs from a meeting with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the Capitol on Wednesday
Caroline Brehman | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images


Now, leave aside the shortfall of USPS, we should honor, instead of depreciating, the Postal Service’s crucial contributions and its advantages.

First of all, USPS is mandated by the Constitution. Article I, Section 8 authorizes Congress “[t]o establish Post Offices and post Roads” because of the importance of communication and interconnection. As James Madison explains: “The power of establishing post roads is a harmless power, and may, perhaps, by judicious management, become productive of great public conveniency.” He is right, the USPS does bring convenience to the US. It delivers 48 percent of the world’s mail to 160 million homes. At this very moment, U.S. Postal Service carriers are delivering masks and respirators to the front lines in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic. The postal workers maintain the nationwide service of delivering essential mail and parcels, such as prescriptions, food, and household necessities, as well as distributing a hundred and thirty million copies of the C.D.C. guidelines for coronavirus safety. They are moving test kits to labs and prescription medication to seniors. Moreover, USPS is responsible for delivering financial support checks and cash to small businesses and unemployed individuals, serving as the crucial bridges between citizens and governmental assistance.


Taking a step back, USPS is gravely important and indispensable in normal American lives. According to postal times, due to its national reach and presence, it’s often the only personal point of contact people have with the federal government. The Postal Service works closely with other agencies in providing passport services, getting Census Bureau surveys out to the public, and sending and receiving absentee ballots. It has the infrastructure, such as post offices all across the country, even in small rural communities that aren’t economical for private-package delivery companies to service, making it irreplaceable. Currently, we all rely on the mailing ballot to vote for the upcoming election, which demonstrates the necessity of USPS, an extensive and collective network that facilitates communication and distribution within the entire nation. In fact, the service that USPS provides is so vital that the House has just passed a 25 billion bill to reverse changes that have slowed down its services to ensure it functions smoothly.


Furthermore, USPS supports the sustenance of thousands of American families, especially the minority and vulnerable populations. Today, the Postal Service employs more than 630,000 workers nationwide, making it among the largest employers in some states and comprising nearly a quarter of the entire federal workforce. Together, the workers constitute thirty-two thousand post offices and nearly five hundred processing and distribution centers, handling a hundred and forty-two billion pieces of mail each year. Getting rid of it will not only affect the recipients but also those who rely on delivery to make a living. Among the six hundred and thirty-three thousand employees, nearly half are people of color, and more than a hundred thousand are veterans. The demise of USPS will be a harsh blow to especially those who are already vulnerable.

Sources:

Check out other Opinions on Debatable Issues:
- Nature vs. Nurture
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/07/09/nature-vs-nurture/
- The "Weaknesses" of DACA
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/08/25/the-weaknesses-of-daca/
- Why the US Should Hold Onto USPS
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/01/why-the-us-should-hold-onto-usps/
- The Fairness of Progressive Taxes
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/12/the-fairness-of-progressive-taxes/
- The United States Elections Should NOT be Run as a "Lottocracy". https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/26/the-united-states-elections-should-not-be-run-as-a-lottocracy/
- Parents Should NOT be Given the Legal Rights to Refuse Medical Treatments for Children
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/10/03/parents-should-not-be-given-the-legal-rights-to-refuse-medical-treatments-for-children/
- Roe v. Wade: Why the Current Ruling is both Unconstitutional and Unethical
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/10/10/roe-v-wade-why-the-current-ruling-is-both-unconstitutional-and-unethical/

The “Weaknesses” of DACA

Opinions on Debatable Issues #2

DACA, the abbreviation for the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals is stirring lots of political disagreements and intense sentiments. Under the policy, people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action, which is the use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period for two years, subject to renewal, according to USCIS. They are also eligible for work authorization. However, Deferred action does not provide lawful status. To be qualified, individuals must have arrived in the US before their 16th birthday and have lived continually within American territory since 2007. They must also be students, highschool graduates, or military veterans that have passed an exhaustive background check. 

black Dreamer-printed jacket

In 2018, the estimation of the number of active DACA recipients by USCIS and immigration researchers is between six hundred nighty thousand and eight hundred thousand. There are currently 643,430 dreamers in the US according to the US Department of Homeland Security. The number of DACA recipients has decreased a little bit but remains to be a considerable large immigration group. Proponents of DACA reprimand the cruelty of punishing children for the crimes perpetrated by their parents and deporting those who became Americans culturally into a completely strange environment. Those moral aspects must be considered when deciding the fate of the DACA recipients, and they do make DACA a lot harder to discard; however, the legitimacy of DACA and the disadvantages it creates for US citizens are crucial obstacles that hinder the advancement of DACA in helping more illegal immigrants.

First, DACA is not recognized by the constitution. It was created by an executive order issued by President Obama in 2012 without the approval of Congress – although Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution assigns complete authority to Congress to determine our nation’s immigration rules. According to the ruling of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, “providing administrative amnesty and access to government benefits is beyond a president’s constitutional and statutory authority.” Since Congress has not passed any legislation that legitimizes DACA, technically speaking, DACA is unconstitutional; nor is it a program that follows the federal immigration laws because none of the immigration laws allows giving residential privileges to illegal immigrants. 

What is "Constitutional"?
outsidethebeltway.com

Second, the unfairness incurred to legal immigrants. Even though DACA does not promise legal status and identity, after maintaining Lawful Permanent Residents status for five years, DACA recipients can apply to become U.S. citizens through the normal process. Basically, they enjoyed benefits that only deserved by permanent residents, not illegal immigrants, without putting into money and efforts to apply for a green card as others did. The policy uses the mere reason that they are children when they stepped on the territory of the US to justify their immunity to all consequences of illegal immigration and deserving of a clear pathway towards citizenship. This is unfair to all other immigrants who obtained their residency and citizenship legitimately. 

passport book on floor

Third, DACA does not contribute to the US economy as expected and even can become burdensome. Fifty-five percent of DACA recipients are employed, amounting to 382,000 workers, according to the Migration Policy Institute. They account for 0.25 percent of all U.S. workers only, so they do not make too much of a difference in terms of contributing to the workforce. Furthermore, to help those undocumented students afford college, at least 19 states have passed laws that provide them with the opportunity to receive in-state tuition. However, DACA recipients are far less likely to have completed college compared to their American citizen counterparts with an astonishing ratio of 4 percent versus 18 percent. Also, only 49 percent of DACA beneficiaries have attained a high school education when a majority of them are adults now. WIthout high school education, it is unlikely for them to be in any profession that directly benefits the US. To put it into perspective, the Center for Immigration Studies calculated in 2017 that undocumented immigrants cost the government nearly $750 billion throughout their lifetimes. However, AAF research found that DACA recipients currently contribute only $42 billion to the annual U.S. GDP. It does not look like a favorable investment.

Fourth, DACA has a high potential to encourage more illegal immigration. We have witnessed that The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), which legalized about three million undocumented immigrants, incurred an annual growth of 500,000 illegal immigration between 1990 and 2007, during which the population peaked at 12.2 million. It is, thus, highly possible that the continuation and advancement of the DACA program would result in an increased influx of illegal immigration into the US, worsening the burden that the US is already struggling to cope with. Moreover, the continuation of DACA is giving implicit permission to the ratification of DAPA, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, and Lawful Permanent Residents. Currently, approximately 3.7 million unauthorized immigrants are qualified for applying to DAFA benefits, according to the Migration Policy Institue. With this massive legalization of illegal immigrants, new political struggles, economic concerns, and social tensions would arouse.

5 facts about illegal immigration in the U.S. | Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center


Sources:

Check out other Opinions on Debatable Issues:
- Nature vs. Nurture
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/07/09/nature-vs-nurture/
- The "Weaknesses" of DACA
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/08/25/the-weaknesses-of-daca/
- Why the US Should Hold Onto USPS
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/01/why-the-us-should-hold-onto-usps/
- Why No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is a FAILURE
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/05/why-no-child-left-behind-act-ncld-is-a-failure/
- The Fairness of Progressive Taxes
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/12/the-fairness-of-progressive-taxes/
- The United States Elections Should NOT be Run as a "Lottocracy". https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/26/the-united-states-elections-should-not-be-run-as-a-lottocracy/
- Parents Should NOT be Given the Legal Rights to Refuse Medical Treatments for Children
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/10/03/parents-should-not-be-given-the-legal-rights-to-refuse-medical-treatments-for-children/
- Roe v. Wade: Why the Current Ruling is both Unconstitutional and Unethical
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/10/10/roe-v-wade-why-the-current-ruling-is-both-unconstitutional-and-unethical/




3 Small Things to do to Organize your life.

Main Tips:
1. Clean up your email (Gmail and Outlook instructions)
2. Check and manage spendings on credit card subscriptions
3. Donate/sell all unwanted or seldomly-used stuff
white desk lamp beside green plant

1. Clean up your email

Gmail Users:

  • Clean Up Your Google Drive and Photos to free up storage
    • Sign in to your account and go to google storage page.
    • Click “View details” under a pie chart to see the storage breakdown by platform.
    • If the majority of your Google Drive space is being occupied by Google Photos, go to settings and make sure the upload size is selected as “High quality” instead of “Original.”
    • If you want to clean up your Google Drive, go to https://drive.google.com/#quota in your browser.
    • After you have deleted the files you don’t need, make sure to empty the Trash folder. Otherwise, the file will stay there taking up your space.
  • Delete Huge Emails
    • Click the downward facing triangle on the right side of the search bar to show search options.
    • In the bottom-half of the pop-up window should be an option titled “Size.” Make sure the first field next to it says “greater than” and the last field says “MB.”
    • Type the desired email size in the middle field.
    • Click Search.
  • Use the Categories
    • Delete all emails under the “Promotions” category which contains marketing emails and newsletters you are subscribed to.
    • feel free to click “All” in the select menu in the top left corner and a yellow pop-up message will appear above the category tabs stating that only the conversations on this page are selected.
    • Delete all after making sure no important messages are included.
  • Block Unwanted Senders and Unsubscribe from Marketing Emails
    • Open the email, scroll down, and click the unsubscribe link. This link is usually very small to prevent accidental clicks.
    • If it takes too much time to find it, press CTRL+F and search for the term “unsubscribe” in the body of the email.
  • Delete All Emails from Senders You Don’t Care About
    • Use the asterisk followed by the domain name to find all senders you no longer care.
    • Select and delete
  • Get Rid of Old Emails
    • Click on the search bar.
    • Type “before:[date]” (replace [date] with an actual date) and hit enter.
    • This search option tells Gmail to find all emails that were sent or received before the specified date and display them.
  • Create Custom Email Filters
    • Click the Down arrow in the search box at the top.
    • Enter your filter criteria.
    • Click Create filter.
    • Choose what you’d like the filter to do.
    • Click Create filter again.
  • https://clean.email/clean-gmail-inbox

Outlook users:

  • Use Mailbox Cleanup through choosing File > Info > Cleanup Tools > Mailbox Cleanup.
    • choose the View Mailbox Size option which scans the size of your mailbox and all of the subfolders.
    • Delete all th biggest and oldest folders
    • Run an AutoArchive
    • View and delete multiple versions of items in our mailbox if the option is avaliable
  • Move Messages to Your Personal Folders if you are using Exchange
    •  Right-click the message you wish to move.
    • From the menu that appears, select Move to Folder.
    • From the list that appears, select a folder and click.
    • If you wish to copy messages (i.e., leave a copy in the original folder), drag and drop the messages into the personal folder.
    • A menu will appear, allowing you to choose Copy or Move.
    • To repair your personal file folders, search the Microsoft Help and Support web site on the terms outlook.pst repair.
  • Archive Older Messages
    • Setup your archive preferences under the Info > Cleanup Tools > Archive option. 
    • Archived items are removed from your Outlook mailbox size and moved to the archive file based on the settings you determine.
    • Archived items are not accessible remotely and should be backed up on a regular basis.
  • Empty Deleted Items
    • Choose File > Options > Advanced tab.
    • From the Outlook start and exit option, check Empty Deleted Items folder when exiting Outlook and OK to apply.
    • Locate and right-click the Deleted Items folder and click Empty Folder on the shortcut menu.
  • Save and Remove Attachments
    • Open the message.
    • Right-click on the attachment and then pick Save All Attachments. Or select Actions from the Message tab. Then pick Other Actions > Save All Attachments.
    • Next, locate and select the folder where you want to save the file(s) and pick Save.
    • Once you have saved the attachment, delete the message if it doesn’t need to be retained. If you need to keep the message, you can remove attachments from a message by right-clicking them and choosing Remove.
  • Reduce the Size of an Outlook Data File
    • Click the File tab.
    • Click Account Settings, and then click Account Settings.
    • On the Data Files tab, click the data file that you want to compact, and then click Settings.
    • Click Compact Now.
  • https://kb.iu.edu/d/aesn#:~:text=To%20move%20mail%20to%20a,a%20folder%20and%20click%20OK.
  • https://thesoftwarepro.com/reduce-outlook-mailbox-size/
black laptop computer

Check and manage spendings on credit card subscriptions (Get rid of forgotten Recurring Charges)

  • Feeling completely uncertain and confused about what your credit or debit card has subscription? A new Waterstone Management Group survey finds that 84% of Americans grossly underestimate their monthly tech spending. Many waste money on things that they no longer need.
  • Causes:
    • Fail to cancel a subscription service before a free trial period ends.
    • Forget to cancel subscriptions for streaming services you no longer use.
    • Forget about automatic renewals that charge your card biannually or annually.
    • Don’t get confirmation that a subscription has in fact been canceled.
  • Solution:
    • Use Truebill to track spending, start saving account, and lower bills
    • Check your credit card statement every single month. Make sure to skim through each transaction twice, as it should be pretty obvious to notice charges you don’t want if you’re proactive.
  • Future prevention:
    • Use calendar reminders
    • Read the fine print before sharing credit card details.
    • Watch out for reactivation or penalty fees.
    • Get confirmation when you cancel.
    • Use apps to monitor for recurring charges.
      • AskTrim.com
      • ClarityMoney.com
      • HiatusApp.com
      • Prosper Daily
      • Truebill.com
    • Set up transaction alerts for your credit cards
    • Take advantage of other credit card tools. 
  • https://creditcards.usnews.com/articles/how-to-find-and-cancel-recurring-credit-card-charges#:~:text=The%20easiest%20and%20best%20way,of%20personal%20finance%20app%20Medean.
  • https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/free-tools-to-stop-recurring-charges/
person using laptop computer holding card

Donate/sell all unwanted or seldomly-used stuff

person holding knitted textiles
Check out other tips:
- Some Lifesaving Advice for those who are have CHILDREN that need to be engaged and entertained.
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/07/08/some-lifesaving-advice-for-those-who-are-have-children-that-need-to-be-engaged-and-entertained/
- The Guide to THRIVE as Highschoolers during the Pandemic
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/07/08/the-guide-to-thrive-as-highschoolers-during-the-pandemic/
- What You can do to Make the MOST out of this "Isolating" Pandemic
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/07/08/what-you-can-do-to-make-the-most-out-of-this-isolating-pandemic/

The Problem with “Ageism”

Disabusing Stigmas Series (#2)

“Ageism is the stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people on the basis of their age” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). To be more specific, Robert Butler, who coined the term, states that ageism causes the elderly to be “categorized as senile, rigid, and old-fashioned in morality and skills. Ageism allows those of us who are younger to see old people as ‘different.’ We subtly cease to identify with them as human beings, which enables us to feel more comfortable about our neglect and dislike of them”. In reality, it is proven. A survey of 84 people ages 60 and older found that nearly 80 percent of respondents reported experiencing ageism–such as other people assuming they had memory or physical impairments due to their age. Many are unaware of this stigma of seniors and aging individuals. However, we must examine the causes and impacts of ageism and come up with solutions to cope with it.

person's hand in shallow focus


You might wonder why to pay more attention to ageism now? Why wasn’t it a problem decades ago? The main reason that ageism has gained more attention today is due to the steady trend that individuals are reaching an advanced age in greater numbers and better health than ever before in almost every country. In fact, the world’s elderly population will have grown by a factor of 2.5 between 1960 and 2020 according to Health Affairs. This growth is faster than that of the total population. Moreover, “nearly 35 million Americans are over 65 years old, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, and that number is expected to double by 2030 to 20 percent of the population.” With their numbers increasing, older adults are becoming actively involved in many aspects of community life. Hence, addressing the needs and issues that elders have is crucial to the welfare of the entire society.

The false prejudices that society holds, such as incapability, put older people at a disadvantage in workplaces. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reported a more than 24 percent increase in the number of age-discrimination complaints filed this year compared with the previous two years. Employees over the age of 40 are often considered “old” and not offered the same training, promotion opportunities, and pay as younger colleagues. Other manifestations of ageism in workplaces include automatic offering learning opportunities to younger employees, overlooking or passing over older employees for challenging assignments and promotions, and assumptions of lack of commitments. Ageism, incurring unequal treatment and pay in and the prejudice that the elderly can not perform well, is a major contributor to the US’s high elderly poverty rate by causing low payment and unemployment of the elderly. According to the National Council on Aging, “Over 25 million Americans aged 60+ are economically insecure—living at or below 250% of the federal poverty level”. This dire situation for many is the inevitable consequence of the difficulty in getting a well-paid job or even just getting one at all. “Nearly half a million older adults aged 55-64, and 168,000 aged 65+ who wanted to work were unemployed 27 weeks or longer in 2014” (Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS], 2015). Hence, many elders struggle to pay for their essential expenses, such as loans, medical expenses, and insurance. They often end up with huge amounts of debt. In fact, the median total debt was $40,900 among senior households according to the Federal Reserve Board’s report in 2013.

grayscale photography of human holding coins


Ageism also occurs frequently in healthcare. According to a nationally representative Health and Retirement Study conducted on 6,017 Americans older than 50, 20% of elders experience discrimination in healthcare settings, and one in 17 experiences it frequently. The detriments of frequent discrimination based on age are drastic and iniquitous. 29% of participants who reported to have experienced frequent healthcare discrimination developed new or worsened disability over four years, compared to just 16.8% of those who infrequently experienced it and 14.7 % who never experienced it. For instance, they can become incapacitated of basic functions, such as walking, feeding, dressing, and bathing, according to Stephanie Rogers, MD, MPAS, MPH, a clinical geriatric fellow at the University of California San Francisco. “Older patients are often viewed by health professionals as set in their ways and unable to change their behavior… Mental health problems–such as cognitive impairment or psychological disorders caused at least in part by complex pharmacological treatments–often go unrecognized and untreated in this growing demographic.” Thus, often older adults are not offered a careful assessment to ascertain good diagnoses. “They may not be offered non-pharmacologic interventions, and any physical issues may take precedence over psychological concerns, with sometimes unfortunate consequences”. Worse, age-based disparities in diagnostic procedures are also prevalent in fields other than psychology. For instance, an England report found that breast cancer occurs much more frequently among older women partially due to the fewer breast cancer screening examinations conducted by their physicians than those of younger women. They are also more likely to be treated pharmacologically rather than surgically, which are the more standardized diagnostic procedures and recommended treatments.


Discrimination against elders causes a shorter lifespan. psychologist Becca Levy, Ph.D., assistant professor of public health at Yale University, found that 50+ elders lived 7.5 years longer when having positive perceptions of aging than those who had negative perceptions. That means by creating pleasurable and fulfilling aging experiences help people to dramatically increase their lives. The professor’s study further supports that “older adults exposed to positive stereotypes have significantly better memory and balance, whereas negative self-perceptions contributed to worse memory and feelings of worthlessness.” Thus, solve stereotypes that stigmatize elders not only allows them to live longer but live a joyful and higher-quality life.

man in red jacket walking on sidewalk with white short coat small dog during daytime


The stigmas of aging are not implanted only after entering senior years. Children, as young as four years old, witness and are allowed to understand discrimination against the elderly. Consequently, the stereotype is gradually and irresistibly ingrained into the young generations, contributing to the difficulties of eradicating the problems of ageism. By the time they enter schools many are more than likely have developed negative attitudes toward some older adults and these prejudices are resistant to changes. Therefore, it is imperative that parents, schools, and social influencers to change their previous biased behaviors toward aging and older individuals. It is also important that social platforms realize the huge impacts that they can have among future generations and pay close attention to contents that feed into ageism.


Ageism is a discrimination and social stigma that is no less harmful to our society than sexism and racism. It calls for urgent addressing, which requires the collective efforts of the local and federal government, as well as every single citizen. Some progress has been made. The US’s 1967 Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits employment discrimination against people aged 40 years and older. The abolishment of mandatory retirement ages opens up more opportunities for the elderly to sustain themselves. Also, the call for Geriatricians, who are medical doctors who specialize in treating older adults, and specialized senior healthcare hospitals are rising in recent years. Japan even invented an interactive, therapeutic robotic seal to help provide care to elderly residents in nursing homes. The baby-seal-looking robots have sensors that pick up on touch, light, sound, heat, and posture. The purpose is to alleviate loneliness and to enrich the lives of elders.

In light of this progress, ageism continues to prevail and undermine society and individuals’ subject well-being. Without more pressing enforcement and specific policies being executed to address it, more elders, including you and I someday in the future, will fall victim to this discrimination of age.

Hands, Old, Young, Holding, Caring

Sources:

  1. https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/olderpersons.aspx
  2. https://www.who.int/ageing/ageism/en/
  3. https://www.apa.org/monitor/may03/fighting
  4. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-ageism-2794817
  5. https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/clinical-care/1-5-adults-report-age-discrimination-healthcare-settings
  6. https://www.longtermcarelink.net/eldercare/medical_care_issues.htm
  7. https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.19.3.204#:~:text=The%20world’s%20elderly%20population%20will,5.3%20percent%20to%209.3%20percent.
  8. https://www.apa.org/topics/covid-19/ageist-beliefs
  9. https://www.topresume.com/career-advice/signs-of-ageism-in-the-workplace
  10. https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/economic-security-facts/#:~:text=Over%2025%20million%20Americans%20aged,diminished%20savings%2C%20and%20job%20loss.
  11. https://www.who.int/ageing/features/workplace-ageism/en/
  12. https://www.nyp.org/clinical-services/geriatrics
  13. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/03/health/geriatricians-shortage.html
  14. http://www.parorobots.com/
  15. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/08/paro-robot-seal-dementia-patients-nhs-japan
Checkout other Disabusing Stigmas Series:
 - Say "NO" to Fat Stigma (#1) https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/07/18/say-no-to-fat-stigma/