An Intro to Stock Markets

Nearly everything we own was made by a company. The chairs we sit on, the computers we work with, and the phones we use; all were made by Ikea, Google, Apple, and the like. Even the foods we eat and the houses we live in came into being with the help of some large agriculture or construction firm. These companies are incredibly large and powerful, with billions in net worth. To the average citizen, they may seem overwhelming. How could anyone hope to control these huge forces responsible for shaping the economy?

However, anyone can own a company with just a couple dollars. That’s because companies, in order to raise money, will sell pieces of themselves in packages called “shares”. How much do these shares cost? A measure called book value shows what each share of a company should be worth based on factors like net profit and numbers of shares issued. However, their selling(market) value ultimately corresponds to what investors think the company is worth. New information like quarterly earnings is always being absorbed into the market and reflected in a stock’s price. For example, if a company releases an innovative new product, its market price will likely jump up because investors will predict that the company will do well and rush in to buy its stock(increasing demand pushes its value up). Investors should take note if a company’s book value and market value have a large discrepancy: the stock may be overvalued, and will likely become cheaper in the future.

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Why Immigration is Great for the Economy

Immigration, especially the illegal variety, is a pretty hot topic. With such a large number of unemployed in America(4.9%), it seems likely that social welfare associations like the NASW(National Association of Social Workers) would lobby to tighten up border control and generally work to ensure that less illegal immigrants are able to find jobs, allowing “true Americans” looking for work able to obtain it. Thankfully, social welfare associations have learned that illegal immigrants provide not only unique and diverse cultures, but significant contributions to the economy as well.

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Why Homelessness should be a Relic of the Past

Homelessness, especially in larger cities, is no uncommon sight. Scraggly people with signs and jingling cups can be found throughout any city. Of course, there are a variety of reasons why they might have to live that way; not all are drug addicts with money problems. Some have been kicked out of their homes, some couldn’t afford rent. The list goes on. While it seems logical that helping the homeless get back on their feet is a good thing(moral reasons, the economy improving from more buyers and spenders), would the cost of giving them housing, job training, and other services really be worth it? The answer, surprisingly, is yes.

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Why Small Businesses are good for Social Workers

An article recently published by Usnews.com provides information about the higher-than-predicted number of jobs created this June. According to the report, “172,000 new positions” were created, 20% more than predicted. Interestingly enough, companies with “less than 50 employees generated 95,000 new positions, while larger companies with at least 500 employees accounted for just 25,000 additions.” That means collectively, small businesses are hiring more employees per month than larger corporations. Of course, the numbers make sense, as large and more stable businesses grow less, therefore hiring less than rapidly expanding start-ups.

Now, this information may seem more relevant to the field of economics than social welfare. However, this is not the case, as social workers regularly deal with the unemployed. If more jobs are available(especially jobs with the lower standards that local businesses tend to have), the unemployed naturally have a better chance at finding work and becoming self-sufficient. And isn’t that the goal of any social welfare program to begin with?

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Trump’s Wreck of a Platform(Conclusion: The Slapdash Health Plan)

Like some other conservatives, Trump doesn’t approve of Obamacare, stating that he will “immediately deliver a full repeal of [it]” by the end of his first day in office. In its stead, he promises to use free market principles to broaden health care, simultaneously making it cheaper and higher in quality. However, will the steps he has outlined really achieve these goals?

His first idea is a Republican staple: allow insurance providers to sell health insurance across state lines. The rationale is that if anyone can sell to anyone; competition would work its course, and insurance premiums would end up costing less. Furthermore, since different states have different regulations, consumers in a more tightly-regulated state could buy a plan out of state, saving additional cash. However, there is a major flaw in this plan. To ensure that customers can use their health insurance, insurance companies need to set contracts with enough hospitals in an area. That’s the difficult part; even though some states allow these out-of-state plans, most insurance companies are unwilling to take them up on their offer. If anything, this sort of plan supports monopolization, as larger insurance providers are the ones with the resources to expand to multiple states. And of course, monopolization means price control and possibly more costly insurance, both of which are the opposite of what Trump promises.

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Obamacare: A Diagnostic After 6 Years

When people talk about an “American Healthcare Crisis”, they’re usually referring to health care costs that have gone through the roof, making up an entire 17.5% of GDP. Realizing this problem, everyone has proposed solutions to cut costs. Some conservatives have suggested increasing competition between health insurance companies to drive down prices, while some liberals have claimed that greater governmental oversight would protect Americans from for-profit hospitals. In the end, we got Obamacare. Were the liberals right in implementing this program? Obamacare has been around for 6 years; what does it have to show for itself?

But first, what exactly is in the dense text of the Affordable Care Act(ACA)? Like the name suggests, the ACA aims to make medical costs lower, especially for the middle and lower classes. It does not, however, actually provide any health insurance. Rather, Obamacare is the legislation that regulates the companies that provide insurance plans.

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What’s Medicare, and why is it in Trouble?

As discussed in the last article, social security is like a giant pension plan. The US government takes a chunk out of each paycheck and eventually returns it in the form of monthly paychecks after a certain age. With more, longer-living citizens, benefits must either be scaled down, which hurts seniors already struggling with current benefits, or the SS tax must be increased, which hurts current workers who pay into the system. Unfortunately, Medicare faces the same problem.

    But first, what is Medicare? As the name suggests, it’s health insurance. Less obvious is the fact that it’s exclusively for older people, funded the same way Social Security is(thankfully, the tax is 4x lower). Medicare’s services are split up into four parts, labeled A-D. Part A comprises of hospital stays, Part B deals with medical insurance, part C provides for with private insurance, and Part D exclusively covers prescription drugs.

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