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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    A new(sworthy) year

    This year, resolve to stay informed of the national and international news that are shaping the world and market we will all soon enter. Staying abreast of current events will be critical this semester as pressing national problems are translated into campaign promises and hold immediate consequences for college students. Here are four news stories to follow this spring:

    2008 Presidential Primaries

    The marathon race to the White House, with two primaries and two caucuses already completed, is finally picking up steam. The election promises to be the top news story for the spring semester as well as the most visible launching point for discussion about other current events. With several front-runners on both tickets, the race has proven to be as predictable as the weather.

    College students have a historically dismal voter turnout rate, and with the election wide open, the 18-24 age demographic will be a critical swing vote across the country. Candidate platforms will develop significantly over the next month and any citizen interested in the political climate of the country should take stock of forthcoming political promises.

    Are voters hungry enough for political change to embrace the Democrats’ progressive promises? Has the Internet changed the campaign process enough to open doors to a Ron Paul third-party ticket? Pay attention and find out.

    Impending economic recession

    Most economic analysts are now predicting a significant economic downturn in the first half of 2008. The big economic uncertainty for the semester lies in the extent to which the credit shortage, initiated by the subprime crisis, will stunt growth in other economic sectors. Undoubtedly, though, the cost of living for students will continue to increase in 2008.

    Inflation was higher in 2007 than it’s been since the early 1990s. Although the Federal Reserve System has wisely continued to cut interest rates, low rates promise to exacerbate inflation and the decreasing value of the dollar. This translates to continued escalation in crude oil prices, higher housing and food costs, and more expensive imports. Expensive gas, expensive apartments and expensive French wine mean careful budgets are a must for college students this semester. While the Arizona Board of Regents increased tuition rates over break, that hike was only the beginning. Students can expect further tuition increases thanks to inflationary pressures.

    Troop withdrawal in Iraq

    With troop levels in Iraq hovering above 160,000 and the 30,000-strong surge still remaining a year after their deployment, withdrawal is again a national issue. Yet immediate involvement promises to increase – President Bush recently authorized $550 billion to provide more funding for the soldier-strapped brigades. Many Wildcats have friends and family in Iraq, as the vast majority of military recruits over the past four years have been from the 18-24 age demographic. The future of these troops is of paramount importance to both the presidential campaign and our generation.

    Beneath the political debate over troop withdrawals lies the story to watch: Can the divisive Iraqi parliament form a sustainable, governing coalition? On Saturday, the parliament passed the long anticipated Justice and Accountability Law, ostensibly allowing members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party back into government positions. The law is a positive step toward reconciliation and compromise politics, but it’s riddled with loopholes that will make coalition-building difficult this semester. Troop increases are in vain if not matched by equivalent Iraqi political gains.

    No end in sight for writer’s strike

    The Writer’s Guild of America strike is well into its third month with hope quickly fraying for a speedy conclusion. The pressing issue is whether union leaders or producers will compromise over the quagmire of writer compensation for shows online. American audiences will be forced to tune in to this news story as popular shows, such as “”Lost”” and “”Desperate Housewives””, only air reruns. Enjoy season openers while you can – due to the prolonged writer’s strike, students everywhere will soon lose a valuable procrastination tool. At least we’re suffering a scriptwriters strike and not a newswriter walkout. Then we wouldn’t even know it happened.

    While current events both international and domestic will be resolved this semester, staying informed of these major stories is a must for the well-informed voter. Resolve this semester to not simply vote or passively watch, but to trace the shaping of our history.

    Matt Rolland is a junior majoring in economics and international studies. He can be reached at

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