Unfortunately, due to uncertainty about weather conditions, UMBC has postponed the Provost’s Teaching and Learning Symposium scheduled for Wednesday, January 22. The university will share the new symposium date with the UMBC community when it is set.
In a Washington Post op-ed titled, “Court ruling ignores India’s rich heritage of diversity,” UMBC mathematics professor Manil Suri critically examines the Indian Supreme Court’s recent decision to reinstate a 19th-century law criminalizing homosexual acts (Section 377), a law which had been repealed by a lower-court decision in 2009.
In his analysis, Suri draws attention to how the ruling “criticized previous judges for relying too much on foreign precedents in their ‘anxiety to protect the so-called rights of LGBT persons.'”
Suri argues that the foreign imposition in this case is actually the statute itself. He notes: “The statute was passed in 1860 as part of Britain’s colonization of India. Other former British colonies, from Malaysia to Jamaica, have the same law on their books, also labeled Section 377.” He concludes, “India needs to be reminded of its rich heritage of diversity, its historically liberal attitude toward variations in human behavior.”
You can read Suri’s full op-ed here.
Hilltop Senior Regulatory and Policy Advisor, Maansi Raswant, JD, gave a presentation titled The Affordable Care Act’s Impact on Small Business to the Catonsville Chamber of Commerce on October 30, 2013 at the Charlestown Retirement Community.
In the presentation, Raswant gave an overview of the basic provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and described health reform implementation in Maryland; described the ACA mandates for coverage (who needs to have it and who needs to provide it); and discussed how to determine whether an employer is considered a large or small employer, how to purchase coverage through exchanges, new benefits of and requirements for health plans, and how tax credits will be allotted. Access the full presentation here.
Raswant is a member of Hilltop’s Health Reform team, which provides essential support to Maryland’s Health Benefit Exchange as it implements health reform. For more information, go to www.hilltopinsitute.org/hrr.cfm.
In an October 1st tweet, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz suggested the current federal government shutdown will result in “$10 billion in costs to the economy per week.” Is that accurate? PolitiFact consulted with UMBC political science professor Roy T. Meyers to find out.
The $10 billion figure Wasserman Schultz quotes is from the White House, which itself acquired the estimate from an August report from Goldman Sachs. To check this figure, PolitiFact went back to Meyers’ analysis of the 1995-96 government shutdown, which was estimated to cost $1.4 billion (mainly in back pay to furloughed workers). However, Meyers shares, you can’t simply add inflation to that figure to come up with an estimate for today, because of differences between the current shutdown and the previous one.
“This one is going to be bigger in terms of daily costs…,” Meyers told PolitiFact. “The economy is weaker. It can’t handle as much of a shock as it could handle in ‘95-’96.”
PolitiFact concluded that Wasserman Schultz’s statement was “mostly true.” Read their full analysis online. Meyers also contributed to PolitiFact’s analysis of Newt Gingrich’s recent statement that shutdowns are “a normal part of the constitutional process.”
“The federal government has shut down,” reads a new Baltimore Sun op-ed by political science professor Thomas F. Schaller. “And it’s the Republicans’ fault — period.” In contesting the House Republican’s use of legislation funding the federal government to block or alter the Affordable Care Act and its implementation, Schaller notes:
The Constitution clearly establishes that a bill becomes a law if it passes both chambers of Congress and is signed by the president or if his veto is overridden by two-thirds supermajorities in both chambers. In 2010, Democrats in Congress passed, and President Barack Obama signed, the Affordable Care Act. [...] The Constitution’s legislative process remains available to those who want to repeal it, of course. If unable to do so now, they can try to win elections and push to replace the law at some future point.
Schaller suggests members of the U.S. House of Representative who identify with the Tea Party have rejected this process. Read the full op-ed at the Baltimore Sun.
NBC News shared Meyers’ finding that the 1995-65 closure of national parks, monuments and battlefields alone cost businesses and local governments $295 million by preventing seven million park visits.
In MSNBC coverage of the shutdown, Meyers shared the importance of not just accounting for all of those costs, but also for those that are less measurable. “The real costs are really not in terms of consumer confidence or any of the standard measures in macroeconomics or even the federal budget,” he said. “The real costs are in trust in government and belief that government officials are paying attention to the real issues of the country.”
Read these articles to learn more:
Washington Post: Day One of the government shutdown: Now what?
Le Monde: Quel sera le coût du blocage budgétaire américain
Pew: How much might a government shutdown cost? Plenty, history says
The Hill: Small percentage of lawmakers served during 1990s government shutdown
NBC News: Why a government shutdown could be a pricey proposition
MSNBC: Taxpayers pick up bill if government shuts down
Politifact: Ted Cruz says ‘a strong bipartisan majority’ in the House of Representatives ‘voted to defund Obamacare’
Update: Meyers has also written a blog post for the London School of Economics on the shutdown: “Congress should be a venue for deliberation and compromise over policy, but the shutdown shows that Washington’s budget process is broken.”
Although Maryland voters won’t elect a new governor until the November 2013 general election, six gubernatorial candidates are already “poised to start running in earnest — touring the state, signing up volunteers and raising millions of dollars for a spirited race,” reports The Baltimore Sun.
“We’re moving into this phase when the policy and platforms are being rolled out,” says UMBC political science professor Thomas Schaller. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that voters want to be on that timeline.”
Why the rush? Because of a change by the General Assembly in 2011, the primary will be held in June rather than September. Plus, notes the Sun, it’s expected to be the most competitive primary in 20 years.
Learn more about the election in “Maryland governor’s race off to an early start.“