Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mongolia Brief February 6, 2015 Part IV



25 days until ITB Berlin 2015
By A. Ganbold
February 6 (gogo.mn) Mongolia will be the official partner country of "ITB Berlin 2015", international tourism expo, taking place from 4 to 8 March 2015 at Berlin, Germany.

However, revenue of Mongolian tourism industry had decreased in recent years, they had achieving with the aim to attract one million tourists in next two or three years by promoting Mongolia to the world and tourists. 
"ITB Berlin 2015" is considered as the biggest expo by its scope and participation. 80% of the preparation work for the event has already done and the Mongolia will organize 41 works including official opening of the exhibition, conference for 3600 international VIP guests, gala concert, show with Mongolian culture and tradition, three-time press conference, tourism professional conferences, round table discussions, nine-time report, "Who know Mongolia well?" radio quiz, number of other entertainment, meetings and cultural events. 
Moreover, several documentary films about Mongolia is being made by AMARA Film production, Germany while published brochures and publications about Mongolia in three languages. 

Boxer U.Munkh-Erdene won silver medal
February 6 (gogo.mn) London 2012 Olympics bronze medalist, World Boxing Championship bronze medalist, state honored athlete U.Munkh-Erdene won bronze medal at Shopokov Memorial Tournament. Tournament has finished in the city of Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan where 177 boxers from nine countries fought for the medals in the ten male weight classes.
He was injured in the opening round against the Uzbek teenager, Makhmud Gaipov in 69kg class and finished the tournament. 
Mongolia was represented by four athletes under the guidance of L.Enkhbaatar, boxing coach. However they were not awarded except of state honored athlete U.Munkh-Erdene. 

What Obama's Recent Speech Reveals About the Next US Presidential Election
February 6 (Mongolian Economy) /Political commentator and social critic, Boldsaikhan holds a dual undergraduate degree in History and International Relations from Lindenwood University. He is a regular contributor to Mongolian Economy/
Two months after the latest United States mid-term elections brought a historic defeat for his party, President Obama addressed the newly assembled joint session of Congress, which, for the first time in his presidency, is fully dominated by the opposition. In his last State of the Union Address before the 2016 presidential election, Obama proclaimed, "I have no more campaigns to run," after which he quipped, "I know because I won both of them." While the statement is factually true, he will most likely be campaigning for the rest of his term, albeit in a non-traditional way, to drum up popular support for his policy initiatives. His 2015 State of the Union speech marks the beginning of this campaign.
Given that the Republicans, who have vigorously opposed Obama's agendas for the previous 6 years, have finally won both houses of Congress with a pledge to dismantle and destroy his signature accomplishments, the legacy of his presidency itself is at risk. Only threats of veto by the lame duck president stand to salvage his key legislative accomplishments, including the controversial health care reform, the Affordable Care Act. Keenly aware of the issues at stake, the White House went on the offensive with the speech, during which the President unveiled a set of populist policy proposals, collectively termed "middle class economics," which calls for, among other things, a complete overhaul of the current tax system, renewed infrastructure projects, and new government spending to provide free community college, child care, and paid sick leave for millions of low and middle class Americans.    
Tax Reform
At the center of middle class economics is the reform of America's tax system, which is infamous for its complexity. Though both political parties agree it should be simplified, they nonetheless strongly disagree when it comes to the specifics of how to simplify it. The administration wants a comprehensive tax reform bill that would close various corporate tax loopholes, increase tax levels on the rich, and cut household taxes for lower and middle class families. The Republicans are generally opposed to any new taxes whether in tax revenue collected, or in the tax level itself. Rather they want to cut taxes for businesses and shrink government spending. They have repeatedly rebuffed Obama's tax reform initiatives on the grounds that raising taxes will hinder economic recovery and job growth. 
With rising economic indicators, including a modest GDP growth of 3.9 percent in the last quarter of 2014, and a stronger than expected increase of 252,000 new jobs created in December, the White House seems confident it has enough of the broad support it needs to force the opposition to return to the table. Bringing Republicans to the table over taxes is easier than actually having any real legislation passed, however. Especially when the presidential election is looming right around the corner. Why then would the President, who surely knows this improbability, raise the issue in the first place?        
Income Inequality and the 2016 election
Obama, as a shrewd politician, is aware of many Americans' growing insecurity and despair about wage stagnation and rising income inequality. Despite a total of 9.2 million private sector jobs being created over 52 straight months under his administration, many Americans are either underemployed or dropped out of the workforce entirely. The official unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since the Great Recession ended, and currently stands at 5.6 percent. However, this number does not reflect those who are making ends meet by holding several part time jobs or the people who have given up looking for work. In a nutshell, the economic recovery the President boasted about during his speech has been painfully slow. Inequality continues to soar while wages remain stagnated. Which is why the central theme of the next election will certainly be inequality. Which is why the President is raising the issue of middle class economics now.
Inequality in America will surely be the central theme of the 2016 Presidential Election
Framing the tax reform issue in terms of "fairness" and "asking the richest Americans to pay their fair share," Obama is preemptively setting the tone for the inevitable debate over how to mitigate the rising tide of income disparity. At a time when most Americans are insecure about economic progress, the rise in income inequality is fast becoming the central issue among many voters across political parties and demographics. The president, through his widely popular proposals to tax the rich and increase government spending to provide for the middle class, is pushing the Republicans on the defensive. Promising to repeal everything Obama enacted has served the Republicans well in the last congressional election when the president's popularity was at an all time low. However, if they want to actually govern by winning the general election, they will need to counter Obama's populist tax reforms with an agenda of their own.      
Conclusion
The 2015 State of the Union address was unabashedly a campaign style speech, both in substance and rhetoric, offering neither concessions for the error in leadership Obama's critics accuse him of making, nor any hint of compromise with Republicans regarding policy making. The speech, delivered on the eve of rising modest but steady economic indicators, was indeed a sweeping attempt to set the tone for not only the hard battles that lay ahead for the remainder of Obama's presidency, but also for the 2016 election and beyond.
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