My quiz results as an ambivalent networker comes as no surprise to me. I love technology and all of the benefits it gives to me, but at the same time kind of hope that my privacy was a little more available. With camera phones, social media, and instant access to recent news all in one’s hand, it is hard to escape everyone’s business without turning off all electronics. However, this perceived lack of privacy also aids in more serious efforts such as stopping crime and catching criminals.
The NSA leaked reports from a few months ago show that our technological conversations can be easily seen or heard by government officials at the click of a button. While people cry out for individual and privacy rights, I tend to learn towards the other end of the spectrum. Don’t we want our government to be able to predict and foil attacks on our country before they actually happen? I would imagine texts with a girlfriend or calls with one’s mother are of much interest to National Security. Key terms and watch list individuals are located and followed in order to catch them before terrible actions occur. As can be read in this article about the sabotaged attack on the Federal Reserve in New York City, FBI surveillance aided in stopping the planned bombing. Instances as such cannot be ignored as successes and the people who wish for “more privacy” should remember that their privacy comes at a cost to National Security.
I found a compelling TED talk by Mariana Mazzucato called “Government: Investor, Risk-taker, Innovator” which describes her argument regarding government’s investment and support in private sector research and innovation. She details the misconceptions about ‘revolutionary’ firms who innovate and the persistent idea that government should simply support basic institutional structures to maintain stability and promote growth and innovation in the private sector.
After going through the Kaiser Family Foundation quiz on Obamacare, I was surprised to get 8 out of 10 questions right. Though I was familiar with most of the questions asked, my understanding of Obamacare is at a basic level and I was interested in learning more about the law. As I read several articles discussing Obamacare, I learned more about the effect that the law would have on businesses.
I enjoyed taking that quiz to “decipher” my political standing. But, when taking the quiz I did find that some of questions were worded with bias (they were worded in such a way that it was much easier to choose one answer over the other). For example, statement 6:
Government is almost always wasteful and inefficient
Government often does a better job than people give it credit for
The first option is way more radical of a response, where as the second option simply says that people do not give the government enough credit. I think that this question made it way too easy to be in support of the government. Yet, I did choose the response that the government is inefficient.
After watching “Too Big to Fail”, it is clear to me that this notion still exists today. The last piece of information you are left with is that 10 banks hold 77% of all American assets. Wow. These banks own more of our tangible country than the government does. These banks cannot fail. With our nation’s money invested in keeping them alive, another downward spiral will cause the government to loose all the money they had to save the banks this time around. The banks failing in the film were too big because they were responsible for pensions, salaries, life’s investment, college funds, etc. If these banks went under, too many lives would be affected. But now, it’s not very different. All of those same concepts apply but now the government’s money is invested. The banks cannot fail, because then our economy fails. The government would be too low on cash.
An issue I also saw at the end of the film was that the banks are not the only entities that are too big to fail. Our government seems the same way. Only the government seems too bigheaded to fail. In the movie, Paulson “stuck to his guns” about not giving bailouts and instead placed government investments into the banks, just so that he could keep his word. We even see it today with other issues as our government is “taking a break”. People cannot compromise and find solutions because they are stubborn. Yes, it is important to stand up for what you believe, but when your position effects the lives of an entire country, sometimes you need to think of the best interests of the general good, not what you personally believe to be good.