The Summer Of 2015
This summer has been very eventful. Besides Donald Trump’s continuous entertainment, a lot of serious developments occurred as of late that highlights some of our greatest accomplishments and our ugly past that still exists in today’s society. So let’s take a quick recap of what all went down this summer.
The Economic Crisis of Greece:
Greece has been battling with economic instability for a while now. In late June Greece missed a very important payment to the International Monetary Fund. The Debt payment was 1.5 billion Euros. Their failure to make the payment signaled the final red flag for creditors who refuse to expand the bailout program to help get Greece back to a more stable position. A referendum is then called by the Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, to decide whether they should oblige to the terms set by creditors. Meanwhile, banks closed and the option of negotiating the terms had come very close to no longer being available. On July 5th, 61% of voters voted “no” on the referendum. Banks remained closed until July 20th after a deal was reached in which Greece would be given a third bailout worth 95 Billion Euros but does not include and debt relief. Greece continues to struggle with their capacity to function with their high assimilation of debt.
On June 25th the Supreme Court would decide whether to uphold their decision regard the provision in the Affordable Care Act that allowed subsidies to give tax breaks to those insured in an exchange with the federal government. The issue is that it was granted by the federal government. The rule by the Internal Revenue Service only says that it can be “established by the state” and so since there is no written law that grants the federal government that power. The Supreme Court upheld its decision on the grounds that they should interpret the law in a manner that improved health insurance and did not destroy it. This saved coverage for about seven million people because 36 states don’t have exchanges for their own. King v. Burwell was a 6-3 Decision.
SCOTUS SAME SEX:
June 26th was a historic day for the nation as the Supreme Court rule in favor of same sex marriage! In Obergefell v. Hodges, Justice Anthony Kennedy writes, “Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right”. The decision was 5-4 with the Courts more conservative members dissent.
June 17th will be added to a long list of terrible days in American History. On that day 9 lives were lost at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. 21-year old Dylan Roof was arrested a day later by the FBI and local police officers. He is charged 33 crimes, which include the illegal possession of a firearm, nine counts of murder, and destroying religious property. Protest broke loose for days as the Confederate flag waved at the top of the statehouse. It wasn’t until July 10th was the flag removed after being displayed at the capitol for 54 years. The flag is now placed in a museum. The people of South Carolina await the trial.
SCOTUS on EPA:
On June 29th the Supreme Court rejected the regulations established by the EPA. In the case, Michigan v. The Environmental Protection Agency, a 5-4 decision was made that would inhibit the agency from regulating emissions of mercury and other pollutants by power plants. The reason for dissent came down to a cost benefit analysis and the weighing of the impacts of environmental and health benefits against the economic cost. The Obama administration, being a strong proponent of environmental reform, took a major setback in their goal to cut emmissions. However it wouldn’t be long before the administration took action.
SCOTUS on Euthanasia:
This case focused specifically on a drug, Midazolam, used in the lethal injections. The constitutional question was whether it violated the 8th amendment protection of cruel and unusual punishment. Glossip v. Gross ended in a 5-4 decision in favor of the drug because it wasn’t proved that the drug did significantly more harm than an alternative.
Cuba and the US:
As relationships slowly began to redevelop, Cuba continued to take steps towards relationship building. On July 1st, talks of the re-opening of the Cuban and U.S. embassy commenced and on July 20th it was made official as the Cuban Flag raised at their mission in D.C.
Nuclear Deal with Iran:
After months of negotiating, President Obama was able to come together with the Iranian government on a nuclear deal that would prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. This deal includes regular inspections on facilities, the removal of sanctions based on nuclear weapons development, and the removal of the arms embargo in the near future. Sanction will still exist for the human rights violations but the economic sanctions on financial industries and the energy department would be lifted. This will go down as a Historic achievement if this deal goes through. Israel and most Republicans express their discontent with the deal but when it comes down to it, this deal is the lesser of two evils. The alternative is far worse because according to Administration this is the best deal we will ever have and anything will always be better than a military conflict.
The Unites States has added about 280,000 to the work force in May. Although the unemployment rate rose in June and fell in July, it doesn’t serve as a good indicator to the current U.S. workforce. This is because in June more people were actively looking for jobs and in July that participation died down a bit, which basically means more people couldn’t find a job because there was an increase in the amount of people searching and the opposite happens when less people are looking for jobs. That’s why the unemployment rate follows that same trend.
Obama on Climate Change:
Once again the Obama Admistration takes a great step towards making the U.S. a better nation as a whole. Just two days ago, on August 3, 2015, president Obama released his plan to reduce greenhouse emissions from power plants that burn coal for fuel and energy. Not only will The Clean Power Plan save the U.S. billions of dollars in energy savings and create tens of thousands of jobs in the green industry, it will also help incentivize the international community to follow suit so that global emission levels decrease. This means a safer and cleaner Earth for us all.
What to Look Out For:
Congresses Decision on the Iran Deal
GOP Debates on August 6th
John Kerry’s trip to Cuba this Month
Economic Status of Greece