Students Are Citizens

Students Are Citizens


BRYAN: Alright everybody,
welcome, it’s just past noon, so we’ll get started here. Um, hopefully you’re all here for the
“Students are Citizens,” uh, panel discussion, um. Our panelists today are
Kristin Jacobson Flex, from science, specifically biology; Ray Kowalczyk from, um, accounting, and Angela Weck, from political science. And I’m gonna let them
give you a rundown of, um, how their, um, particular discipline
relates to this panel. And then we’ll go through some pre-arranged questions, then we’ll open
it up to you for questions at the end. So panelists? KRISTIN: Sure, since you started with me I’ll go ahead. Uh, Kristin Jacobson Flex, I see
half my class out here so I know you know who I am.
[laughter] Um, some of you do not,
though. Uh, I think that I was asked here
to sort of represent the science, uh, end of things, um, also the
citizen end of things, since I teach environmental biology. A lot of what we talk about
in our class is um, the role of citizenship,
and that’s gonna come up in our second unit, so, um,
I definitely think that one of the roles of community college
is to develop citizens. Um, some of them, my students
are grumbling because we have this service learning project
that they have to do, um, but I feel like that may be something that all of us in community colleges
have to do, is to sort of work on…
sort of those soft skills, and I think this is one of them. So, um, I think that’s why, why this will
fit my expertise. RAY: Yeah, I’m Ray Kowalczyk,
accounting instructor. Obviously I’m here because I count money.
Lots of money. [laughter]
And so I’ll be dealing with definitions of what things are and
just monetary aspects, not so much on the human side. We accountants don’t deal
with emotions that much, so… [laughter from crowd] I’ll be counting up all the money
on this one. ANGELA: And I’m Angela Weck,
and I recognize some of my current students and some of my former students, so, also well-known.
[laughs] Um, although this is not
a political discussion, um, funding and how we spend our money
is all about politics. So, he’s gonna count your money,
but I’m gonna try to help you understand how it gets distributed
and why certain priorities are higher than other, um,
things that are paid for. So, that’s the political side of it, and that’s what I’ll discuss. BRYAN: Excellent.
Okay, um, so, first question. Um, can you explain to us
what discretionary funding is, and how it impacts our lives? RAY: I think that one’s on me. KRISTIN: Yeah, go for it. RAY: Okay. Discretionary funding – guess
the opposite of that one is mandatory funding. That’s how it works there. Um, mandatory spending, there’s only
a few things involved in that one, um, Medicaid and Social Security, and
also interest payments on debt. These things must be paid no matter what. And the beautiful thing about
the interest payments is, well, it always comes due. No matter what, it has to come due. The other two, ah,
Medicare and Social Security, those are called entitlements. So, you are pretty much
entitled to get those. You all probably have full-time jobs,
don’t you, or part-time even? If you notice your paystub it says
something that says “FICA,” F I C A, that 7.65%
of your taxable income. About…what is it, 6 point…yeah,
6.2% of that goes to Social Security, so when you retire you get that money back. The other 1.4% goes to, uh,
Medicaid – Medicare, I should say, one is different than the other. You, uh, put into the, to those
two funds, so you get those two back. That is entitlements for you. Discretionary spending on the other hand must go through a legislative process
called an appropriation. Your government must dictate
how much money to spend on those particular things. Everything else the government spends
money on, is discretionary. So your NASA, your school funding,
your grants, all that – that is discretionary, it must be made up and voted on
every single year. And I think this one’s
coming up in October, and yeah it’s gonna happen
real soon here. Those are the two definitions. ANGELA: You might think it’s
gonna happen real soon, but – it might not really happen really soon.
[laughs] That all depends on government. But if you look at this chart real quick. So the blue stuff
is discretionary spending in terms of the total amount of budget
in the United States. The green, uh, all the shades of green, represent the mandatory spending,
so you can tell the distribution. Um, the interest payments at the top
in the tan, um, are also mandatory. So you can tell the distribution,
of how much of our budget is mandatory and
how much is discretionary. So, um, it’s important
to have that distinction because as Professor Kowalczyk
pointed out, not all of it’s just randomly
going up and down. But one of the big things
that I think politically speaking people don’t consider, is military spending. We assume that we have to have a military
and that we have to spend a lot of money on it. That is not in the
mandatory spending side. As he pointed out, it’s Medicare,
it’s Social Security, there’s a handful of small programs
like SNAP and, and, um, CHIP, the healthcare for kids program, but for the most part it’s those things
that we call entitlements that have to be paid for. The discretionary in the blue
is a smaller chunk of the pie, and that’s where the fights come in.
[laughs] Um, so if you wanna put
the other two up, quick. Just one at a time. So this is the pie
of discretionary spending. So this is the part of the pie that,
that your legislative process takes over and, uh, different groups argue about
how they’re going to distribute that pie. That, that part of the pie, rather. And then, the next one
is your mandatory spending. And you can see where the big chunks are. Social Security, unemployment and labor,
is a full 49%. These are 2015 numbers because
this is the last year that we can actually, um, account
for what was actually spent. So the stuff from…
budgeted last year is still being counted this year, and we
haven’t passed the next budget yet. So, um, but, the stuff
that’s discretionary. I’m sorry, yeah, the mandatory
spending stuff, you know there is again the SNAP programs,
veteran’s benefits of a certain degree, fall into the, the mandatory spending. So, uh, mandatory spending is a
huge chunk of our budget. KRISTIN: Can you go back one now? Okay, so all I have to say about
this is, I think mine is maybe, I have one that’s a little bit different, um. ‘Cause I looked up some numbers as well,
but the fact, as Angela said, that, that military portion makes up
over half of the discretionary budget. And, we, I – I saw statistics somewhere
that says that the amount we spend on that military budget is same as the
top 8 or 9 other countries combined. So by no means is that a requirement, that we spend that money,
that is in this pot of money. Um, and the proposal for this year
was that we take more out of the pot on the left,
a large portion more, and put it into the pot on the right. Um, so, um, this is,
without being too political, there is only so much money to go around. Um, that’s why we just had
to do this cap and all of that. There is only so much funds. So, while we’re having this discussion,
we do need to understand that – that there are limits,
just like there are limits on resources, there are limits on funds. Um, and the decisions we make really
are to some extent political. BRYAN: Thank you. Um, let’s look at state-level
for a second. Um, so, how does the state’s
instability in funding affect its federal funding? RAY: I’m gonna take this one? ANGELA: Go ahead. Or I can do it
[laughs] BRYAN: Whatever order works. RAY: Alright. Well, one thing I wanna mention is, uh,
how governments are integrated. They’re horizontally
and vertically integrated. Horizontal we should know about. We have the federal government,
there’s the legislative branch, the executive branch,
and the judicial branch. Each one doesn’t have power over the other
but legislation, they, uh, make the laws. Executive branch they execute the laws, and the judicial branch just make sure
everything’s constitutional. The vertical integration
is a little bit different. We have our local government down here,
the state government, then our federal government. Local governments,
they’re easy to deal with, and the beauty behind those
is their small population, and when they pay their taxes,
it goes to one person where it’s redisbursed out
however they voted to spend. If they run out of money,
it goes to the state level. They fund the local governments,
and then it goes from there. Once the state can’t fund anything,
it goes to the federal level, and the problem there is
once that federal dollars goes down to the state and local government, well,
who’s in charge of the federal, uh, dollars? Where’s the revenue come from? And it comes from every taxpayer
in the nation. So basically a dollar
from the federal government is now dictating what the states
are going to be doing. From there we have less freedom
over what those dollars get spent on, they have to follow certain rules,
the freedom starts to go away. And one thing I’m seeing as of recently is state governments,
with their instabilities, it’s becoming more common. Federal spending is now contributing more
to these state governments than ever before,
so the freedom’s kind of going away. And our states are kind of
acting like, you know, voting areas where we spend our money,
all they do is just distribute where the funds are being spent. So if a state can’t fund its own people,
the federal government has to step in and go from there. And that wasn’t foreseen
in the last 50 years, so the equations
for sending federal funds down to the state level
are kind of outdated, and some states are realizing that some of their funds
are going to the federal government and funding other states. So California, states like that,
more populations, they’re funding states like Wyoming,
South Dakota, that type of thing. And that’s just because
the equations being outdated. And I’ll just leave that one there. ANGELA: That’s actually
a really good point, thank you. Um, the other side of it, too, is a lot
of the funding that your states get, is tied…I’m sorry, a lot of,
a lot of the funding that the federal governments give
to state and local governments is tied to what the state
and local governments match. And so, if your state government,
for example, doesn’t have a budget, or hasn’t – in our case – hasn’t had
a budget until recently, um, they can’t use the funding
that comes from the federal government in some circumstances if they have not
passed that funding measure in the state level. So, if the federal government
gives them matching grants, for example, for education, but the state doesn’t
pass a budget to fund education from their end of it, they can’t use
the federal grant either. And, in many cases,
for the granting system, they come with restrictions –
a timeline, um, specific purposes, um, and so if the state is not meeting those requirements
and spending their money and the federal money at the same time,
they have to give it back. So, when a state government
does not take care of its own business, it’s not only that the federal
government is obligated to step in, but sometimes,
the federal government won’t. You can’t use those federal dollars unless
you have, um, also a state budget that supports that. KRISTIN: I just found
some interesting statistics. This is not my field of expertise
but I did find, um, a rating of different states and how much
federal spending we, we spent. Illinois actually did not
come in the worst. [laughter from crowd] You know, I’m often in class saying we’re best or we’re worst,
and it’s usually in the wrong categories. Um, so I saw, um, for the Illinois budget
that comes from federal spending, 27.6% of our budget came from that. And that was from the US Census Bureau,
so I consider that a relatively good, uh, reliable source. And that put us, um, I think that
put us ninth, um, lowest, so that was actually pretty good. And, um, we only rely on…
[laughs] Well this is not, I don’t know, we rely on
17% of our education spending which was the 4th highest. Um, we used to fund education much higher
and I think that’s pretty consistent across the states. And locally, we could go down
one more level, um community colleges
used to be funded ‘a third a third a third,’ and that has all gone off. So we can go even one step closer. So, that funding’s gone way off. Um, but some of these categories we were in the 41st and 42nd which is good,
that we’re getting less of our money from the federal government
than, um, many other states. So, I like it when I see our state
is a light color on the map instead of the brightest red
or the brightest green so this was actually somewhat good news.
[Angela laughs] KRISTIN: I don’t know if that just means
the other states are doing much worse. Um, I find it hard to kind of
jive with us not having a budget, but. That’s just my input on that one. BRYAN: Excellent, thank you. AUDIENCE MEMBER: What was the,
uh, like, worst state? KRISTIN: Uh, so it, it differed
on what category it was. Um, and I don’t know that I recall
on the, um, the, the total budget. Um, I think it was some of those,
um, less populated states that were doing bad. I don’t recall. Um, I could go back to the source,
I’ve got, it was from the governing, um, website, and it was
from the US Census Bureau. So I can get that for you
and get back to you in class. I didn’t write all that down. I looked up so many statistics for this,
I don’t recall. [Ray laughs]
KRISTIN: Sorry. BRYAN: Not a problem. Alright, um, what, if any,
should the role be for governments in providing funding for healthcare? KRISTIN: I don’t know that this goes
to any of us, um, particularly… I will just say, in our textbook
we have sort of an, uh, ethics and, um, economics chapter, where we just talk about what the role
of government should be. Um, and we, I usually ask the students to,
to sort of tell me that, but often what students will say
is that it’s the, it’s the stuff that individuals can’t do on their own. That we need to come together
as a collective to do. So, often things like infrastructure and
defense come up. But education, and healthcare are also
things that often come up as basic needs that people can’t possibly
accomplish on their own. So, in that regard, I would,
I would say that it seems – and I don’t want to put any pressure
on anybody else, but I feel like that is often
the consensus that my class comes to. So, um. RAY: I’ll go with this one. ANGELA: Go for it. RAY: Well, I’ll share my opinion
on this one. Uh, the way the world works right now,
well it sounds as morbid as it can be, but everyone has a 100% chance of dying.
[laughter] That’s just how it works there. And I like to think of health insurance
and compare it to car insurance. There’s some differences,
and that’ll account for some of the monetary changes with that one. So number one, car insurance. How that works is, you get a car,
you buy insurance for it, and you hope you don’t crash your car. There’s hundreds of thousands of cars
that go through their entire lives without getting into
any sort of accident. It happens all the time. Unfortunately, with human lives,
there is always a 100% chance that we will get sick and pass away. That right there forms a problem. Car insurance, you can be entirely
profitable as an insurance company by having someone pay their premiums
and never having a crash. But for humans, we’re always gonna
get sick somehow. So, let’s think about that. People who are aged, let’s say
18 to 45, generally won’t get sick, so if they pay their insurance
premiums, they’re gonna be just fine. And that aspect I believe corporations
should come in for profit and offer insurance. When there’s more companies out there, they’re offering more competition,
premiums tend to go down, it keeps the price low. But once you hit that retirement age,
well, things start to occur differently. Death rates go up, sickness rates go up,
and insurance companies don’t want to get involved there. So if it’s all private,
we tend to think, well, those companies probably
won’t go in there for the goodness of their hearts,
they’re gonna go ahead and let ’em die. But that’s where the government
should come in, and it actually does with Medicare. Once you reach age 65,
you’re allowed to go on Medicare, and that’s one of those entitlements
we talked about. If you put money inside there,
you’re entitled to get that one out. Because it’s not profitable,
no business is gonna go ahead and take care of that one. So the government should have a role
in providing that because as Americans we believe
that if you’re sick, you should be able to have
the proper healthcare. That’s how it works there. Um, Medicare, like I said,
is an entitlement, you go ahead and put in on that one,
you should be able to get that one out, and your last, uh, few breaths of life. That’s just how I see it, there’s,
just an opinion of mine. I”ll let you do it. ANGELA: Yeah, and politically speaking
this is one of the issues. You know, there is no
right or wrong necessarily, it is your political viewpoint on
how much government you want to be involved in your life,
and in your pocketbook. And so if you believe in, um,
cradle to grave care, um, then you have to be willing
to be able to pay for that. To be able to chip in your taxes that’ll make sure that your healthcare
is covered cradle to grave. Um, if you prefer
to take care of it on your own, and have smaller government, then you need to assume
that responsibility to do so. Um, and, and that was really good
analogy with car insurance versus healthcare insurance, and you’re gonna find –
one of my favorite cartoons of all times, from about 2005. So it was a cartoon that had these little
windows, so 2005 the guy’s looking at his, his healthcare bill and he says
“Ah, my insurance goes up again today!” 2006 – “Oh, my insurance went up again!” 2007 – “Oh, my insurance went up again!” 2008 – “Oh, my insurance went up again!” 2009 – “Oh my insurance went up
and it’s all Obamacare’s fault!” Every year, the price of insurance goes up
because we’re living longer, because just by living longer
we have more illnesses, and higher expenses
the older we get to take care of. So, your insurance is gonna go up, whether
we passed Obamacare or not. So, but the quantity of care, um, that is
mandated by you purchasing, and your age is actually the age
that’s gonna be the biggest challenge. Right now you’re in college, theoretically
if you’re still under your parents’, um, insurance. If you’re uh, uh all on your own,
you have to buy insurance. So, it is a political question,
on how much you want your government to do. Um, do another analogy, now
how many of you have car insurance? ‘Kay – so you had Harvey in Texas and Louisiana, you got Irma heading all over Florida,
is your car insurance gonna go up? Harvey and Irma didn’t hit Illinois. Will you pay more in car insurance,
do you think? Yes. Because those car insurance companies
have to pay out more in Texas and Florida. They’re gonna have to take in more
somewhere else. So the hurricanes didn’t hit us, but we are gonna
pay more insurance. So, that’s your question about
who should be paying for it, and, and, at what, should it be,
be government, should it be personal. Somebody’s gonna pay for it. And it’s gonna be you.
[laughs] You just have to decide to whom
you want to give your money. [laughs]
So. KRISTIN: Great. Having said that, if any
of you were around 3 or 4 years ago, I’m guessing you may have had a claim,
and thank goodness you had insurance. Or if any of you have ever had
to have a claim because somebody else didn’t have insurance. Has anybody ever had that happen? You get in a wreck? I had somebody rear-end me,
the person that rear-ends you always is at fault, right? Everybody knows this. Unless of course they
don’t have insurance. Guess whose insurance rate went up. Because I sat there and got hit from behind. So, there’s no fair in this game. Right? Somebody is going to pay. Um, so, there is,
if you haven’t figured this out, the world is a lot of shades of grey. [Angela laughs]
BRYAN: Thank you. RAY: Not for accountants, though. KRISTEN: Yeah. BRYAN: [laughs]
Yeah, that’s black and white. Okay, so let’s, um, move back to,
um, discretionary talking. Um, so, looking at, um,
government departments. Um, if funding is pulled
from departments, and departments no longer are funded,
what is the result for, um, the trickle-down for that. KRISTIN: Sure, which departments
do we wanna defund? [laughter from crowd]
ANGELA: EPA. KRISTIN: Let’s defund the EPA. ANGELA: Let’s defund the EPA. KRISTIN: Alright, let’s find it. Alright, there’s the EPA. Okay, defunding the EPA. You might think climate might be
the main thing they do. It is. But they also are involved
with superfund cleanup. Any superfunds recently affected? Anybody know what a superfund is? Those are…that’s… AUDIENCE MEMBER: FEMA? KRISTEN: Well, FEMA is what
cleans up after, and provides funds, after a disaster. Superfunds are sites, are sites
that were so toxic, that the, the federal government
had to come in and say we’re gonna clean it up
after a corporation probably didn’t take care of it. So they are really…they’re like
the worst of the worst targets. Um, in Houston alone
there were 13 superfund sites that were flooded…hmm. They couldn’t get in to see ’em. Now, somehow the AP got in to see them, but the, the, the US EPA
could not get in to see them because there’s nobody
working for the EPA any more. So, that causes an issue
because when those get flooded the toxins get out and then
there will be healthcare costs, so there’s always a cost somewhere. If you don’t fund the first part,
you fund the second part. And so then we’ll be funding
the health portions. Um, emissions tests no longer funded. Uh, drinking water,
things like Flint, Michigan, and oh, uh, right here in Peoria – AUDIENCE MEMBER: Galesburg? KRISTIN: And, where we have sewer,
sewer runoff and we have etrazine in our water and all sorts
of other issues. So you don’t have to go to Flint – and lead, all of those things. Um, uh, you just gotta keep looking. Regional programs are cut off,
like to the, um, to the Great Lakes, um, Restoration Project which is dealing
with keeping the carp out of the, the lakes, restoring wetlands,
keeping runoff out. I’ve got just, yeah, okay, Energy Star
program, anybody know what that is? AUDIENCE MEMBER: Mmhmm. KRISTIN: If you look,
I’m pretty sure those yellow tags aren’t there any more. Um, they tell you how
efficient your appliances are. I think that saved us ten dollars. A little bit facetious here,
but it didn’t save us much. Um, federal, federal vehicle standards
no longer, um, being enforced. Cutting grants for non-sourced pollution, which we’ll get to in class,
but that’s all of the runoff stuff. Um, we are no longer trying to work
on radiation protection programs. No threat of radiation any time soon. [laughter from crowd]
Umm, you get the idea? Oh yeah, endocrine disruptors. We were studying endocrine disruptors
– once again, this is my whole class, but we’ll get there. Anybody know what
an endocrine disruptor is? Anybody up here? ANGELA: Prevent…prevent cancer.
KRISTEN: Yeah, well they…yeah. So, they’re found in plastics
and pesticides and things, but that means that they
mess with your hormones. Um, and they cause cancer, they cause, um,
maybe males to become females. Some serious things. Infertility, yeah. So, um, they’re, we, we’re studying
that and trying to prevent that. We’re no longer gonna do that if we
don’t have that. That’s enough, you get the idea.
[laughter from audience] That was just EPA. Sorry, I have one for each one
of those programs, but. [Angela laughs]
RAY: Well, that’s good, I’m glad you went first, because my response was gonna be
it always depends on which department you’re defunding. Sometimes good things happen,
sometimes bad things happen. But ultimately, when you defund
any sort of department of government, unemployment occurs. There’s always people working
for that form, and they’re always getting paid
in some way, shape or form. Once that gets defunded,
they either get transferred, or they become un, unemployed. That’s generally how it works there. Uh, one time a government subsidy
that got defunded was actually a good thing was something
in the Department of Agriculture, they’re talking about this one right now. Some local farmers are complaining that
when they have their livestock or their milk production come out, uh,
larger corporation are able to, you know, put them out of business because
they’re getting paid by the government. If there’s a demand for milk of,
let’s just say 100, and the milk produced is 150,
100 will go to the actual market, but the other 50, guess who buys it? The government. That’s how it works there. So the result is that these farms come out and they start making all kinds of milk products,
all kinds of livestock, even though the demands not there,
simply because the government will buy it no matter what. And as these farms get bigger and bigger,
more regulations come out for them because, you know, economies of scale
and all that, and the smaller farmers are being
put out of business that way. So, some local people might think a defundment of
the Department of Agriculture could have positive side effects,
but ultimately, if you defund a government organization, unemployment
is always one of the side-effects on that one. ANGELA: I think Kristin did a good job. [laughs]
[laughter from audience] KRISTIN: I think the number for the EPA, for
the EPA is 1200 jobs…that have been, well, are at threat of being lost. Or just repurposed, there are people
that are doing climate science that are being put in
as accountants, ironically. I’m sure they have
a real strong background. If you put me in as an accountant,
you’d be really in trouble. [laughter from all]
BRYAN: Alright. That is, is good answers, thank you. Um, okay, so let’s look at that, um,
question more on an institution level. So if an institution, um, is defunded or isn’t
receiving a budget, what is the effect on the institution level? And that can be local, state, or federal. RAY: Guess I’ll go first. Now for institution, I like thinking
you know of Illinois Central College, that type of thing. We’re dealing with that one
right now, just a little bit. If a budget is not passed,
well, like we said with that mandatory
and discretionary funding, the mandatory stuff will still go through,
so your mail will get delivered, your entitlements will still go through, but certain programs,
they’ll start to disappear, and that creates a problem. Things like Pell grants,
and the result of that one is, well, less students. Less quality of life, there could be
some programs we’re trying to get involved in as well, those kinda get shut down. Pretty much everything we were looking for
for the next year, gets shut down as well. There is also a psychological effect too,
if you live in a state where a budget is not being passed,
or even a country where a budget is not being passed,
it creates instability. People start to get a little worried,
and start moving out of the state. I know for a fact that 2016
was a record low year, I think we had a record amount
of people leaving the state of Illinois last year, just because
of budget problems. KRISTIN: Largest exporter of students. RAY: Right there!
[laughter from all] So that creates a problem as well. So even if the budget gets passed
the next year, the effect is still felt. Less population, less students –
well, the budget’s back, but who are we gonna spend it on? And I believe you said so too,
if the government doesn’t have a reason to tax dollars or a reason
to spend the money, we can’t take the money anyways. So, the permanent effect is already done. ANGELA: I’ll, yeah, I’ll add to that
just a little bit, um, because this also affects
your national government. So I, I joked, you know, we are supposed to be voting
for a budget here, in the next month, um, but we did vote to raise the debt ceiling, which may…
which will give our legislators more time to fight about the budget. Um, if the debt ceiling was not raised,
and if we hit that debt ceiling because we’re borrowing money
to cover expenses until the budget is passed, then
the government has to shut down. And when the government shuts down,
that’s all bad publicity for everybody too. So if you can imagine,
in this last three years with the state of Illinois
not having a budget, our government did not shut down. So it, it made it feel less pressing
because stuff was still going on. When the US government
shuts down, everybody feels it. Your mail doesn’t get delivered
[laughs] Your, you know, the stuff doesn’t happen,
and funding doesn’t go through for a wide variety of programs. And most notably, for you all,
so your Pell grants, your, your subsidized student loans,
you don’t get them, if the government doesn’t
pass a budget. So, we’ve now pushed it off
because nobody wants to shut down the government when everybody needs
so much help recovering from two major storms. So we’re not gonna stand on principle
when everybody’s in, in pain. That pain’s not gonna last very long and the debt ceiling was
only extended three months. So, we’ll have a fight coming up in January over the budget
for the US government. That fight at the US government level, affects us at the state government. And we will again have a fight next summer
[laughs] for the state of Illinois. So we could be having both
fights at the same time. It’ll be fun!
[laughs] Blood sport. Again, it all depends on
your political priorities. What is most important to you,
let your elected officials know. That’s how they make decisions for you. RAY: Oh, and just a quick factoid, uh,
last time the government shut down was in 1995, for a few days,
it cost the nation 1.4 billion dollars. ANGELA: Yeah. KRISTIN: Just to come back
to the institution effect, um, I feel like ICC has been affected
in the last couple years. ANGELA: Oh yeah. KRISTIN: I feel like we’ve had a loss
through attrition of staff, of faculty, uh, so you, if you, we had low students,
but we’ve also lost colleagues. People have left the state,
people are looking, um, and when you lose that, my trust,
the same thing. U of I has had this,
Northern, um, so when you have that, then that affects students’ choices
once again from long into the future. As you said, the feeling
at the institution, and then your security is
kind of set off, and so as you said, it’s kind tenuous now. We feel like, well,
we’ve got spending for now, but are people gonna get raises,
are jobs secure, so it does impact, the trickle-down happens
the whole way through. So, unfortunately, I don’t,
I feel like it has a pretty strong impact. ANGELA: Well it was a slow bleed, is the problem. So instead of shutting down the state government,
which they should have done – KRISTIN: Right. ANGELA: Because then we all would have known what was going on and paid attention. But instead, we allowed
a little bit of money for that, and a little bit of money for that,
and a little bit of money for that, and so, it was a slow bleed. But the ramifications of that
are just as profound as had we shut it down for a week. ANGELA: And then, everybody kicks their elected
officials into gear. KRISTIN: I don’t remember, but there were a number of state universities that were,
I mean, ISU, um, Northern, Northeastern, Western, Eastern, I could keep going, and,
a number of community colleges that were really close
to closing their doors. ANGELA: Yeah. KRISTIN: So, that’s serious. Once you close the doors,
it’s really hard to, to get accredited again and all of that,
so, um, there are ramifications. BRYAN: Excellent. So we’ve talked, um, a lot
about the issues but, let’s switch and talk about
what us as citizens can do to raise our voice about these issues. RAY: Well, you’ve all made
a good move so far, you came to this panel. So you’re educating yourselves,
that is the most important thing you can do right now. Educate yourself by what these matters
are we’re talking about, sometimes we watch the news,
they’ll be talking about whatever, and we have no clue
what they’re talking about. If you learn those definitions,
you’ll get a better understanding of what’s actually going on here. Uh, one thing I read earlier, um,
the next thing they’re trying to pass in the budget with healthcare,
is moving Medicaid – Medicaid, Medicare – they’re trying to move that one down to,
uh, 60 years old. So instead of being 65 to be eligible,
you’ll be 60 years old. The problem with that is,
now the government has more people to fund,
more people to take care of, and that’s gonna cause
some sort of a tax increase. So how are they gonna
pay for such a thing? One suggestion that’s being thrown around,
is – you guys! Right now you can be on your parents’
insurance until you’re age 26 as long as you’re in college. They’re thinking about
eliminating that one. That’s what they’re talking
about right now. If you’re aware of that, and you
have the knowledge of what’s actually happening, the ramifications, you can have
those discussions in these hallways. College, universities, this is the place
to start the controversy. Have some arguments,
have some conversations, buy your opponent a coffee,
have a nice conversation, and when those ideas get thrown about,
you’ll get proven wrong, or you’ll prove someone else wrong,
but the truth and the will of the people gets a little bit stronger. You guys are the ones
that are gonna be voting in these next few elections here, the turnout for your age is kind of low,
but by having these conversations you can get that attention back
and turn it up a little bit louder. ANGELA: Works for me. [laughter] KRISTIN: I got something to say,
of course. Huh…so, I’ll start at the bottom,
um, which,of my card. It says ‘be informed,’ and I think
that’s what we would all say that’s why you’re here, is
to get an education. So find reliable sources of information. That’s one of the hardest things
to do right now. You cannot go on Reddit, or Facebook,
which I’m sometimes, you know, guilty of myself. You gotta get out of your bubble,
and find the actual sources. That library site I just took you to
actually has vetted information, um, so go find that. Go find some sources maybe
out of the country, go find the BBC or the German news,
or where they’re, they’re not telling the biased information. Um, go read some scholarly journals. Really, just find some
good information that is not coming from, from a biased source. Which is hard to do right now. There’s a lot of editorializing on news. Which wasn’t a thing when
we were younger. We didn’t have to sort, sort through
all of that information. Once you know what your thoughts are, you can call, you can email,
you can send letters, you can go to town halls. And if you get mad enough,
you can march, you can protest, you can hold a sign. Um, done all of it, and not
a big surprise to any of you. Um…and then eventually
you can get to voting, but I think voting is the end of the list, not the beginning of the list. Voting happens once or twice a year. It’s important but what you do
in between the voting, I think, is more important, and know what you’re voting for. Now we’re going into a primary season
for our gubernatorial race. We have something like nine Democratic
candidates – find out about ’em, find out what they stand for. Um, we should probably get
some of them on this campus so we can hear what they have to say. Um, and find out what
the current governor has done and what he thinks
and what has happened. And so you are –
can go in informed. So, we have state issues
and we have federal issues. And that’s not coming up for a while,
but the state stuff is happening now, um, and find out what’s happening
in your congressional area. And find out who your mayor is,
I mean literally, um, and, and then the citizen part of this –
be citizens of your own community. Go be a Cub Scout leader,
go do the stuff in your community, go help with your churches,
go help with the…library boards and the school boards and all that. Because…there’s no they. That’s what I, what drives me crazy, is everybody is like “Well,
they’ll take care of it.” You are they. You absolutely are the people
who are going to be doing this. Um, I’m sort of frustrated that we have,
um, nine candidates for governor and not one of them looks like me. Not one. So we need some women in the race. We need some people to start now. We need, um, some young people,
there’s one young person, um, but we need more. So you are the ones that need
to get that started. Alright. RAY: Also, this is why I have office hours, if you have anything monetary-related you
want to ask me about, stop on by, I’m happy to see you. BRYAN: Thank you. Um, follow-up question, Um, follow-up question, um, this wasn’t
one that we talked about beforehand, but…a lot of times students and,
um, people in the community will tell – will hear of all the things
that they can do, but the response – and I’ve said it myself to other people –
is “Does that really matter? Does that make Does that make an…make an impact?” And can you, can you talk to that? KRISTIN: You’re political, yeah. ANGELA: Absolutely – every voice matters. Even in the presidential election. So you know, when you get up
to the presidential election, you have the popular vote,
but the president’s actually elected by the electoral college, which is one elector per member
of the House, per member of the Senate, plus three
for our territories. So there’s 538 people
who elect your president. So, my vote can’t make a difference! Yeah, it can.
It’s compounded. So if I say,
“My vote can’t make a difference, I’m not even gonna go bother to vote,”
and I tell Professor Kowalczyk and he says “Well if her vote doesn’t make
a difference, mine’s not either.” And we tell Dr. Flex, and she says “Well if their vote doesn’t make
a difference, mine doesn’t either.” And pretty soon, you have all kinds
of people whose vote won’t make a difference so I don’t even
bother to show up and give my opinion. Every vote, every time, makes a difference. In the local level, you’ve had city council, school board, all kinds of races that have been decided by one vote. Every vote makes a difference. So, you know, all the way from your most
local elections – and run for office. So be involved, the best way
to be involved is actually to run. You can run as an adult. Pick where you wanna be involved,
and get involved. But, absolutely, every vote
makes a difference. Every voice makes a difference. And the more you poo-poo politics,
“Pfft, you know, it’s too confusing, I just don’t know!” Somebody’s making decisions
for your life, for your pocketbook, rules that you are going
to have to follow. Put your voice in the ring. Add your opinion about what’s happening. Because you will have to follow
whatever they decide for you. Be part of that decision. KRISTIN: I would say this, the best
example recently would be the, the Affordable Care Act. I feel like that was absolutely decided
by the people standing up, calling their senators,
being at the town halls being a pain in their butts,
calling, calling, calling, calling, emailing, all of that stuff, and they
literally made it so uncomfortable that people actually said
“This isn’t what my constituency stands for, I’m not gonna vote for this.” Surprised everybody, I feel like,
but it made a difference, and that’s just one example,
but I do think that…often, even the people in office forget
who they’re beholden to. I remember hearing, um, a,
a congressman recently saying “Wellmy constituents don’t do that,”
in a town hall and everybody is like, “We are your constituents.” Um, and he’s like,
“Oh, yeah.” Um, but, so, that’s the thing, you have to
remind them sometimes, who, who votes for them. So I think that we’ve seen it,
in the last six to eight months, that people make a difference with,
the, um, immigration, um, when people went to the airports,
that got changed almost immediately. So, I think we’ve seen some,
some actual change in the last six months. BRYAN: Excellent, thank you. Um, so that is our portion of, uh,
scheduled questions. So now I wanna open up to you
as, um, participants, if you have questions for our panelists. ATTENDEE: The government shutdown on
the state level – uh, does that mean that it just shuts down all
discretionary spending, or is that certain things they shut down
over things they keep open? How do they decide what will happen
or shut down, or is it all, not really sure. RAY: Well, for a state shutdown,
it’s only those things that the state appropriated for. Like, I guess every single year they
go ahead and make a budget, and if they shut down,
that means that whatever budget they tried to make up or didn’t make up at
all, will not go through. The mandatory spending will still occur,
but anything that was not appropriated will not go through. KRISTIN: So I’m not clear on that, what, what’s an example – RAY: Let’s see – KRISTIN : – of appropriations, they’re using
appropriated funds. RAY: Okay, yeah, I have, anything else
that’s not mandatory. Let’s think here, state level… KRISTIN: Like paying employees at the
prisons and all that, is that – RAY: Yeah, that type of thing, they will not
get – ANGELA: No, that’s not mandatory. RAY: They will not get paid. They’ll do something called furlough, where they’ll either let them go
or keep only the mandatory people on, and they will not get paid. But over time, if the budget gets passed,
they get retroactively paid that way. But, it’s always causes some sort of
psychological issue on that one. Imagine working for a month,
and not receiving your paycheck. That’ll do some damage. [Laughs] ANGELA: Well, and, and, your bills
still come due. So, you know, you may not be getting paid
by the state, because salaries are all part of discretionary funding. Um, a lot of your payments –
if your state has a Medicaid program, that is mandatory spending. Um, but it depends on how much that is. Um, so, so, just like the Social Security
and Medicare at the national level, there are a handful of things
are mandatory spending, there’s, they’re a big chunk of your spending,
that will go through. Everything else – so any
road construction projects, funding for colleges,
early childhood education programs, um, food for, you know, seniors,
what’s it called, um, Meals on Wheels. None of that goes through. So, over the last three years,
we’ve seen a number of agencies for the elderly or the infirm, a variety of social service agencies that have laid people off or
closed their doors, because they couldn’t guarantee that they were gonna
get any funding from the state. And if they got some, how much? So, it, when the state shuts down, most – KRISTIN: [coughs] ANGELA – of the things you think of, are
actually discretionary spending. It’s just, the biggest part of it
is actually mandatory, [laughs] but the things that we think of as coming
from funding from either the national government or the state governments is discretionary. There has to be a budget passed where your legislators fight about
how much is gonna go to this pocket, that pocket, that pocket. If they can’t decide, none of it goes. They have to pass
a spending appropriation bill. KRISTIN: So I remember Spoon River, um,
Correctional Center, I think, was having an issue, right,
because they couldn’t pay their water bill because they weren’t getting funded and they almost – the water company almost shut down – ANGELA: Threatened to shut ’em off. KRISTIN: Right, so it’s a trickle-down,
and I know, um, like if you’re not paying your vendors
for your food, and but you still have to feed the prisoners, then all the other
companies get affected. So that’s what we’ve been having,
so I guess I knew this, I just didn’t know the words, sorry.
Yeah. BRYAN: Thank you.
Um, other questions? KRISTIN: [coughs] BRYAN: Yes. ATTENDEE: Um, I kind of…have, um,
someone said about the debt ceiling, I wanted to know the definition of that. ANGELA: For your, for your
national government, and you might even be better at this, debt ceiling? RAY: Give it a shot. ANGELA: Okay, the debt ceiling – KRISTIN: [coughs] ANGELA: – um, is, is again part of that
legislation where we set a budget that says we don’t wanna owe more,
as a country, than X. So this is our ceiling, so, in order to
um, keep under that ceiling, we have to pass a budget that
cuts spending in some areas so that we can afford to keep spending in other areas. But the overall spending has to be
below that ceiling. The problem is, the mandatory spending
– the Social Security, the Medicare, the, the interest on what we owe,
continues to accrue. So we’re – we have more, it’s more,
it’s more, it’s more. [laughs] So, those are things we have
to spend money on. So we could cut, you know,
the discretionary stuff, um, those are the things that, that are
hard for people to accept cuts. Do we really want a weaker military? Do we really want less money
for Pell grants? Do we really want, um, less money
to protect the environment? I mean, I want my water to be safe,
and I want to know it’s safe
know it’s safe when I turn on my tap. You know, where are we gonna cut it then? So if we don’t cut it,
we have to borrow more. And that’s where the debt ceiling
has to be either raised or we have to agree to make cuts…so. RAY: So I think there was a slide earlier
that said we make 3.4 trillion dollars in revenue per year. You know where that all comes from? Federal taxes. That’s how much we get with that one. But how much do we spend per year? It’s probably a little bit more,
I think it’s like 4.8 trillion. So in that aspect, if we wanna
keep spending and having these things that we like, we have to have
some sort of debt come on. And as you know,
you accountants out there, assets equals liabilities
plus stockholders’ equity. If you take on debt,
that means you have money that you didn’t otherwise earn,
and when that happens, well, you’ve gotta pay it back. The way we work it right now,
the whole, uh, theory behind this one, if we take on debt, what happens
to our economy? It starts growing right? We have more businesses, more revenues,
more people having jobs, so eventually the inflation
will help take care of that. It’s actually not a bad thing
to take on debt, but if it gets out of control or –
it becomes something that’s a little bit more worse. Let’s think here, if you have,
let’s just say, one trillion dollars in debt that was borrowed in 1950,
is that the same worth in the year 2000? Not so much. So when we take on debt, our theory is,
we’re gonna use it to grow, and inflation will take care
of the actual balance. Debt when you borrow it,
freezes with inflation. If you borrowed one thousand dollars
in 1920, and you didn’t pay it back until today, you still borrowed that same
one thousand dollars. One thousand dollars is easier to
get back today than it was back then. So it keeps growing, but the legislation says,
we’re gonna stick to a certain number, I don’t know what the
national debt is right now but let’s just pretend it’s 18 trillion. If next year we say, we can only
make it go up to 19 trillion, once we reach that amount,
we can’t take on any more debt. So when they talk about
raising the ceiling, they gotta pass that budget first, and see how much they’re gonna spend,
and then go to that level or even higher depending on where
they’re actually putting that ceiling. ANGELA: I think we went up to 20. RAY: Oh man! [laughs] ANGELA: We agreed to. RAY: We need some inflation.
[laughter from audience] BRYAN: Thank you. Um, other questions? KRISTIN: What would you do? BRYAN: Okay, well, I want to thank, um,
our panelists for this informative and thought-provoking panel discussion,
so, thank you very much all three of you. Um, we will have a sign-up sheet,
um, if you are here, um, for a class, we can put it,
we’ll put it up on the front table right there, and you can sign your name
and your, um, instructor, um, as you leave, and also, there were surveys
handed out at the beginning. Please, um, turn those in
on the front desk as well, so that we can collect and know,
um, your thoughts on this panel. Thank you so much for attending. ANGELA: Remember for my class
you gotta give me a paragraph. KRISTIN: Yeah, for me it’s a page. ANGELA: [laughs] KRISTIN: I’m meaner. RAY: And my former students,
it was nice seeing you again. [laughter from all] KRISTIN: Oh! Ouch.

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