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IS 260 Project

Each team member make their own frame, and we will put them all together to tell the whole "story."
by

Valerie Mackrain

on 9 December 2012

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Transcript of IS 260 Project

Russian-American Relations Human Rights Issues Reforming the Pension System Current Political Issues: Russia & America Energy Issues Energy Issues Economic Reform Healthcare Reform Possible solutions (thought of by policymakers and financial experts in Russia):
Increase the retirement age This would be very unpopular, especially in places where the life-expectancy is not very high.
Raise Taxes
Increase amount of years worked before ability to collect pension

(Teplinskaya, and Ryzhkova) Problems:
Pension fun deficit
Increased amount of payments are needed
Low life-expectancy
Demographic structure problem - More elderly than young people

(Teplinskaya, and Ryzhkova) The officials say that the new reform should address two issues: firstly, to set up a balance tariff policy that provides long-term sustainability of the pension system, and, secondly, to bring the regulations of the pension scheme in line with international standards.
- 1. Long-term sustainability will make pension system more stable, but it calls for steps that are unpopular like the increase of retirement age and raising various taxes.
May have to replace wage system
Raising something like a business tax hurts the small business- less likely to expand and hire more people
- 2. International standards: Russia's taxes are too high and the replacement rate is too low
(Teplinskaya, and Ryzhkova) With respect to the proposal to increase the minimal number of years worked you need to confirm working at the labor market to be eligible for the pension, not social pension, but this labor type of pension, to increase it from currently 5 years to about 15 or 20 years.
The driver behind this proposal is different. It is to provide additional stimulus for those working in shadow economy, in shadow sector, who are not registering their employment and in this sense not contributing to the pension fund now, to enforce their employer to pay for them to the pension fund.
(Teplinskaya, and Ryzhkova) 2007 Russia-EU Summit: leaders addressed key controversial issues. One of which was Russian Human Rights Record
Especially in Chechnya and future status Kosovo
Russia continued to reject Kosovar independence without Serbian approval- even after Kosovo declared independence in 2008
Western nation recognition of Kosovo may have provoked Russia to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia

(Banks, Muller, Overstreet, Isaccoff, and et al 1209) 2011 Human Rights Report done by US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor : Two major problems ("Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011: Russia")
1. Violations of Democratic Processes
Government interference, manipulation, electoral irregularities, and restrictions on the ability of opposition parties to organize, register candidates for public office, access the media, or conduct political campaigns ("Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011: Russia")
Example: 2007 Putin announced that he could foresee serving as prime minister when his second presidential term came to an end.
Putin announced his support for Dmitri Medvedev in 2008. Also that he would be serving as prime minister and continue his work “as head of government.”
The first thing that Medvedev did after being elected president was elect Putin as prime minister. (Banks, Muller, Overstreet, Isaccoff, and et al 1209) 2. Administration of Justice and Rule of Law

Poor condition of prisons (poor medical care, lack of basic needs, abuse by prison officials) which sometimes resulted in death

Government did not take adequate steps to prosecute or punish officers responsible resulting in environment of impunity

Rule of law particularly lacking in the North Caucasus: conflict between government and insurgents, Islamist militants, and criminal forces led to numerous human rights abuses by security.

("Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011: Russia") 2011 GDP report (Love, McIntyre, Frame, and et al ) :
Agriculture- 4.8% gross domestic product (GDP)
Industry- 37.0% GDP
Mining and quarrying – 10.7% GDP
Manufacturing sector- 16.0% GDP
Construction – 6.5% GDP
Services sector (energy) – 58.8% GDP

(Love, McIntyre, Frame, and et al ) In terms of energy usage, Russia's domestic production greatly exceeds it's domestic demand. This makes Russia one of the world's largest energy exporters along with Saudi Arabia.

Their electric energy comes from petroleum-, gas-(petroleum and gas: 47.6%), and coal-fired power stations (18.9%), nuclear power stations (15.7%), and hydroelectric installations (15.9%).
In November of 2007, Gazprom signed an agreement to create a new pipeline to Italy. Scheduled to be completed in 2015.
2010 Russia's principal export was mineral fuel- 68.3%
2011 Russia recorded surplus in federal budget.

(Love, McIntyre, Frame, and et al ) Problems:
America is relatively unaware of how badly we need work on economic reform
-The public seems to be uneducated in economic matters
We no longer produce what we need to sustain ourselves
-America imports more than we export, even though we rank first in economic output and productivity (Banks, Muller, Overstreet, Isaccoff, and et al 1565)
Accumulating massive federal deficit
-Are we trying to pay for a standard of living we cannot afford?
-High government spending, government bailouts, failed stimulus package, national healthcare, etc. (Banks, Muller, Overstreet, Isaccoff, and et al 1574)
Undermining US industry and producing in other countries
-US jobs are being shipped oversees
-Buying products not made in United States
(Heffner) There are many arguments from both Republicans and Democrats as to how/why our economy crashed. But what can we do to fix it and why hasn't anything worked yet?

According to an article in Forbes magazine entitled "What Can Obama Do to Fix the Economy?" there is no easy answer to hastening this reform, and most answers seem to have to do with the government getting involved in the state-level government and private companies. (Gleckman 1-2).

In 2009, Federal Reserve chair Benjamin Bernanke proclaimed gradual economic improvement with the rise of stock prices. However he also stated that this would be a long, job-less recovery and there is little hope, or expectation of repayment of the emergency government bailouts of various companies (tax-payers money). (Banks, Muller, Overstreet, Isaccoff, and et al 1574)

But we can get educated on the issues, decrease government spending/deficit, support US companies and jobs, and start manufacturing more of what we demand here in the United States. Problems:
Uninsured- Approximately 50 million Americans are uninsured

Restriction in Choice of Health Care and Job Opportunities- Employer healthcare usually restricts employees choices on plans or physicians. Employees may feel restricted in job choices based on receiving healthcare.

Quality of Health Care is not Consistently Measured

Financing a New Health Care System- Approximately $88.6 billion; where will this come from?
(Garson)
(Banks, Muller, Overstreet, Isaccoff, and et al 1574) Solutions according to the 2010 plan:
Providing universal coverage.- It will become required, much like automobile insurance. Payment plans will be income-based, or based on choice.
Individuals have the choice to go with either an individual plan or the employer plan
Patients will be able to create their own personalized report cards online. Health care plans will compete on basis of innovation and prevention and also physician-patient relationships
(Garson) Solutions according to the 2010 plan (cont.):
4 potential sources according to Dr. Garson
1. Federal and state government already pay $23.5 billion for non-Medicaid services to the uninsured
2. Even a two-thirds reduction in bad debt and charity care (what is currently spent on the uninsured) would save $17 billion
3. Insurance premiums paid by employers with more than 10 employees that currently do not provide health care could fund $43.9 billion
4. Automation, elimination of preapproval requirements, and other innovations could increase billing efficiency by 50% and could save insurers $27.2 billion, hospitals $17 billion, and physicians $6.9 billion
(Garson) Sources of energy is a major issue and priority for many nations, especially ours. America has tried many different things to secure our energy sources while also being careful to preserve our environment. A big issue is innovating an efficient, inexpensive renewable source. Industry efficiency- Government agencies work with manufacturers to increase efficiency to save money and reduce environmental effect

Efficiency in homes, cars, etc- Government regulations have provided consumers with options to increase energy efficiency in their homes and cars (HE appliances, hybrid and electric cars)

Clean energies- United states has almost doubled its renewable energy generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources
(“Securing American Energy”) How America Has Worked to Secure Our Energy Sources: Domestic oil production- Domestic drilling is the highest it has ever been, while also keeping strict environmental regulations.

Reducing dependency on foreign oil- Domestic drilling will decrease our imports of foreign oil.

Innovating new energy sources- Obama Administration continues to fund research into new, clean, renewable energy sources. It also funds research into improving the resources we have now- improving batteries, energy storage, etc.
(“Securing American Energy”) Banks, Arthur S., Thomas C. Muller, William R. Overstreet, and Judith F. Isacoff, and et al. Political Handbook of the World 2010. Washington DC: CQ Press, 2010. 1201-1210; 1565-1574. Print
Garson, Arthur. "American Heart Association: Circulation Journals." American Heart Association: Circulation Journals. (2010): n. page. Web. 4 Dec. 2012. <http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/101/16/2015.full>.
Gleckman, Howard. "What Can Obama Do to Fix the Economy?." Forbes: Money & Politics. 09 2011: 1-2. Web. 5 Dec. 2012. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/beltway/2011/08/09/what-can-obama-do-to-fix-the-economy/>.
Heffner, Thomas. "Economic Problems Facing the U.S.." Economy In Crisis: America's Economic Report- Daily. N.p., 30 2012. Web. 26 Oct 2012. <http://economyincrisis.org/content/major-economic-problems-facing-united-states>.
Love, Juliet, Philip McIntyre, and Iain Frame, et al. The Europa World Year Book 2012. 53rd Ed. Vol. 2. New York: Routledge, 2012. 3810-3827. Print.
Teplinskaya, Oksana, and Kate Ryzhkova, ed. "Russia's Pension System: problems and challenges." Russia Business Report. Radio: The Voice of Russia, 04 2012. web. 10 Oct 2012. <http://english.ruvr.ru/radio_broadcast/34718245/63167543.html>.
United States. Office of the Press Secretary . U.S.-Russia Relations: “Reset” Fact Sheet. Washington D.C.: , 2010. Web. <http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/us-russia-relations-reset-fact-sheet>.
United States. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011: Russia. 2011. Web. <http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt>
United States. www.whitehouse.gov. Securing American Energy. Web. <http://www.whitehouse.gov/energy/securing-american-energy>. Resources Relationships between Russia and western nations have been deteriorating for many years.
-2007 Russia-EU summit leaders criticized Russia's human rights issues
-Russia Struggled against US plans to deploy a defensive missile shield in Europe– Poland and the Czech Republic
-Putin announced Russia would suspend its participation in the Conventional Armed Forces Treaty (CFE) due to the proposed missile shield and because some NATO members never ratified the revised treaty.

(Banks, Muller, Overstreet, Isaccoff, and et al 1209) US-Russian relations continued to suffer over Iran's efforts to develop nuclear power.
-Russia had been involved with Iran's nuclear development since 1995.
-2005 Russia sold Iran $700 million worth of missile systems
-2007 Iran violated the Non-Proliferation Treaty and United State and other western nations tried to force Iran to dismantle its nuclear programs
-Russia voted against sanctions in the UN Security Council against Iran on the grounds that all states have the right to develop nuclear energy

(Banks, Muller, Overstreet, Isaccoff, and et al 1209) (Banks, Muller, Overstreet, Isaccoff, and et al 1209) In July of 2009 Barack Obama traveled to Moscow to meet with President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin to try to reset the relationship between the United States and Russia.
Both countries pledged cooperation that “might prove easier to translate into words than reality.”
Both countries share a main interest in areas of nuclear energy, security, and non-proliferation. “Reset Relations” United States and Russia agreed upon many various things, some of the most important being:
Bilateral Presidential Commission
Dedicated to improving coordination of the two countries in various efforts (arms control, space cooperation, defense relations, etc.) and pursuing joint projects (international security, economic well-being, etc.)
Military-to-Military Cooperation
US and Russian officials signed a Framework Understanding which will work out a plan for restarting not only military-to-military cooperation, but also bilateral activities
New START Treaty
Reducing nuclear arsenals
Joint Statement on Nuclear Security
Both countries share this interest and want to work together to stop nuclear proliferation and acts of nuclear terrorism
("U.S.-Russia Relations: “Reset” Fact Sheet") Even though US-Russian relations are improving, there are still things that the two countries still do not see eye-to-eye on, like Russia's recognition of independence of South Ossetia and Abhazia. However, this fresh start has given both countries the atmosphere of cooperation needed to address their disagreements and work on solutions together. (Banks, Muller, Overstreet, Isaccoff, and et al 1574) Obama called on Congress to pass his 2010 plan. His plan included actions to give everyone health insurance, bar private agencies from refusing people with preexisting conditions, and incorporate a new government-sponsored health plan that individuals could choose instead of private health insurance, making private agencies and government agencies compete with one another.
(Banks, Muller, Overstreet, Isaccoff, and et al 1574) Comparing United States and Russia

Political Campaigns And Structure

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli

Major political parties in Russia: United Russia - represents the majority of the State DumaCommunist PartyLiberal Democratic PartyA Just Russia

Russian Political Parties

There are more than 35 registered parties in Russia, 4 of them are currently represented in the State Duma

President is elected on a two ballot system. Any candidate that receives a million signatures can run on the first Ballot. If the Candidate has the majority then they win outright if not, then there is a run off election two weeks later with the top two or three candidates.

Russian Campaigning

Upper house has, The Federation Council which has two members from each republic and region with 168 members. Lower house, State Duma is elected through proportional representation.

Russian Duma

Essentially a two-party system:Democrats and RepublicansSome of the major third parties include: The Constitution Party, The Green Party, and The Libertarian Party

US Political Parties

President is elected by the popular vote of the people and the electoral college.The incumbent president in office has the nomination for the party. The opposing party has primaries and a convention to determine who will be the challenger.

US Campaign Process

Upper house, Senate. Two members from each state voted on by district.Lower house, House of Representatives, is based on population and there is one candidate per district.

US Congress
Full transcript