Many angles to one question

Melissa Dilley

Political groups discuss economy

Jacob Shreffler (left) and Matthew Wayman discuss their views as members of the Libertarian Party. The political debate last night was held in the Kiva and revolved around the issue of the economy. Jessica M. Kanalas | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Representatives from each of the four campus political organizations were seated right to left on the Kiva stage last night in the order they might fall on the political spectrum.

College Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and the International Socialist Organization took part in a debate focused on the economy.

Steven Hook, the head of the political science department and moderator of the event, said he hoped the audience of about 75 members would look at the debate as a learning experience by comparing the different political beliefs.

“This isn’t about who wins or loses,” Hook said. “We are here to gain an appreciation for the different views.”

In the opening statements, the audience learned what each party considered as the cause of the economic state of the country.

The Republicans, who were represented by Stephen Ontko and Vince Tilenni, said the current economic downturn is not the worst in history, and the deficit and stimulus spending is only a product of overreacting that will pull the country into financial peril.

Amy Groya and her fellow College Democrat Kyle Gilindez said they believe, like many, that the economy took a turn for the worst as a result of the housing crisis and the only way to save it is through government spending and the creation of jobs.

Jacob Shreffler, the debate’s organizer, spoke on behalf of the College Libertarians along with Matthew Wayman. The two expressed how the creation of the federal reserve has plagued the American economy since it’s creation in 1913.

Lastly, Jacquelyn Bleak and Nikki Robinson defended the International Socialists organization’s view that with the creation of capitalism came the creation of depression and debt.

The groups debated for an hour, answering questions from both the moderator and the audience.

While the groups sometimes spoke over one another or made sarcastic remarks, overall Shreffler said the debate turned out better than he expected.

“The questions were great, and I think the responses gave people a good idea of the differences between the different political organizations.”

Alumna Jackie Esparza said she didn’t learn anything new about the economy, but she benefited from seeing the different groups side by side.

“It was interesting to actually hear the different sides because I don’t usually talk to Libertarians or Republicans,” she said. “It was different to hear young people talk about it and not the old people you see in politics in Washington, D.C.”

Junior history major James Osborne said his interest in the debate was also sparked by the student participation.

“I think people are fed up with economists and their explanations and solutions for the economy,” he said. “I liked that it wasn’t all economics majors because this debate shows (the economic downturn) affects normal people, even college students.”

Contact student politics reporter Melissa Dilley at [email protected].