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
America go into similar action?

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?

Works Cited
“The Actual Condition of The Economy.” Concealed America. 18 June 2008. 20 Apr.
2009 .
“Vlovic's ‘Drink a, Give 10’ Campaign to Benefit UNICEF Water Programs in
Ethiopia :: U.S. Fund” Unicef. 2009. 20 Apr. 2009 .
“Volvic + UNICEF Together We Can Make A Difference.” Volvic. 2004. 20 Apr. 2009
.




Re: Many a Little Makes a Mickle

Chiyo, first, very nice title! I have never heard that expression before, and I like it!

Your essay is well-written, and it is fascinating to read an essay written by someone from another country. In your case, Japan. The ideas you have are not only more environmentally-friendly, but also will save costs in the long run, albeit small ones. However, as you imply, these small costs we save will snowball in the long run, helping the United States save massive amounts of money.

Nice ideas, Chiyo, and I enjoyed reading it!

-Ryan Wilson


Re: Many a Little Makes a Mickle

Thank you for sharing your viewpoint. I definately agree that we, Americans, are wasteful creatures. Humanity, is what kept running through my mind while reading your essay. If we were all just a bit more humane towards are environment and others through the ideas you bring forth in your essay, this country could definately heal itself. Education is key...and a good marketing plan to get everyone involved. Good job!
April Courtney


Re: Many a Little Makes a Mickle

Chiyo,

I really enjoyed your essay. I read every sentence, and truthfully you taught me some things I did not know. I was very impressed by your essay. Wonderful work!


Re: Many a Little Makes a Mickle

You are right--Congress really doesn't try to create a balanced budget. And for all that they say they want to decrease the deficit, their actions don't match their words, as proved by year after year of operating "in the red," as you pointed out. You are also right about the fact that people need to change their thoughts as well as their behavior in order to for reforms to succeed.


Re: Many a Little Makes a Mickle

I really appreciate an "outsiders" view on what is happening in America and your unique views on what are some possible solutions. You made some points that I haven't yet come accross in other essays and they really made me think. I believe you wrote a very good essay. Thank you for expressing your very well articulated views and beliefs. -DeZ


Re: Many a Little Makes a Mickle

Chiyo,
The title is really attractive, and you wrote the essay from a international student's perspectie. You did research to help provied many knowdgeable background information, and they help to support your suggestion. Thank you for your work, I enjoy reading it.
- Jing


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