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Many a Little Makes a Mickle
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Essay by:Chiyo Hashimoto
Emporia State University
As a student from Japan, it is amazing to see how the debt of the U.S. federal government continues to increase. The U.S. government managed to 46 of the past 47 years in the red. In addition, although they do not secure a source of revenue, they draw up the national budget with approximately 15 percent excess every year after 2000 (“The Actual Condition of The Economy”). The national defense, health and retirement have mainly increased and they are the large parts of the budget.
The problem is that after a president introduced a budget, there was little opposition to an unbalanced budget from members of Congress; they do not seem serious about deficit spending. The result of their aggressive attitude without sufficient tax revenue is today’s enormous debt.
State and local governments also have problems because of their waste. Actually, it is a large part of the U.S economy how local governments use budget. Therefore, it is no exaggeration to say that reforms in local governments can lead to an improvement in the whole U.S. economy.
First, local governments should appeal to people to economize on everyday life. From my point of view, American people are used to wasting food, paper, plastic tableware and so on, because there are many types of disposable goods and they have no reluctance about using them. Some people can say that the problem is too small, but the total waste of these in the U.S. is large in terms of money and resources. This is not only about disposable goods, but also water and electric power can be economized if people have enough determination. “Many a little makes a mickle” is the translation from my Japanese to English dictionary of something I think is powerfully important; it means the accumulation of a little provident action will cause a big change in the future.
The problem is that people have little conscience for saving. It is natural for them to count on financial aid from the government. If the government starts to clear up debt, public services may be decreased and taxes will be heavier. These steps are natural considering the actual conditions, but people will be discontented with them because they are used to getting overprotection and subsides from the government. Therefore, we should try to encourage a conscience of financial conditions and a way to grapple with saving. The situation is becoming worse, so it is a problem of great urgency.
In Japan, more than 300 self-governing bodies experienced significant economic challenges after the war. The national government was in a position of leadership, so local governments were losing their independence. This situation continued until the economy was restored. However, they finally overcame the depressed economic situation after going through many difficulties. If Japan could succeed, why not have
If the government does not have more revenue, the debt will never be cleared. The only thing to do is to increase revenue with policies, unless borrowing from other nations for immediate use is the culture America wishes to perpetuate and expand. I already mentioned saving. The other reform is to start new businesses.
Some U.S. businesses still have many untouched possibilities to explore, and some of them have certain probabilities to make a large profit; for example, an enterprise about ecology and volunteerism has multiple advantages. Everybody knows that America is the most conspicuous nation which has little concern for ecology. However, ecology and volunteerism have many opportunities for businesses to get customers to be more sensitive to the environment.
For instance, sales of ecological bags, called ecobags, are having remarkable growth in Japan. An ecobag was derived from a campaign to carry a collapsible bag for shopping and prevent the consuming of plastic bags. With this movement, we not only can decrease carbon dioxide, but also avoid using precious crude oil, which is a major input for plastic bags. Many famous brands produce ecobags. There are many types of designs, and some companies produce custom-made bags with any design that a customer likes. The ecobag became a social phenomenon and many people purchased it. It could be a great trend in America, too.
The other example is a volunteer campaign “Drink 1, Give 10” by Volvic and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). This campaign began in Germany and expanded to France, Japan, Canada, and the United States. Buying the mineral water from Volvic helped UNICEF to provide clean and safe water in Ethiopia (“Volvic + UNICEF”). Volvic successfully launched the "Drink 1, Give 10" campaign in North America in 2008, donating $250,000 to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF (“Volvic’s ‘Drink a 1, Give10’ Campaign”).
As already mentioned, ecology and volunteerism are becoming large parts of business today. The important point is that those movements are not only for individual life, but also for the poor, the earth, and life in the future. That is why they get a large profit in spite of a financial panic.
Success in reforms depends on whether people change their understanding and behavior or not. Most people actually don’t care about saving. If so, how can we help them change their minds? This is a role of government leadership. They should lead by example and emphasize the importance of saving; this means sacrificing now for a better future. However, this is not enough; we must encourage to everyone in our global community practice making wise economic and ecological choices little by little for a better life in the future. If the leading a nation of the world does not take action himself, who will?
»A new report finds the main problem in getting the public to deal with our fiscal problems isn't opposition to tax increases or spending cuts -- it's their lack of trust in the government to spend their money wisely.