Archives for December 2011

Payroll Tax Extension Counterproductive but not Harmful

Amy Schmidt, Ph.D.

Amy Schmidt, Ph.D.

On the Payroll Tax
While the Senate breaks for the Christmas holiday, the House of Representatives is taking a stand on the payroll tax, rejecting the bill days from the year-end deadline. If the bill doesn’t pass Congress by December 31, taxes will rise to 6.2% from 4.2% in the new year.

Regarding the current impasse, economics and business professor Amy Schmidt says:

"The national economy is still fragile. Letting the rate return to its pre-cut level is effectively a tax increase. Studies find that most people are spending the payroll tax cut—as opposed to tax cuts received by high-income individuals who tend to save more of a tax cut. But according to the CBO  the tax cut amounts to about $20 billion over the next year if it is extended over the next two months. If it was extended for the next year, multiply that by 6 (my ballpark, not the CBOs) and you have $120 billion. The federal budget is over $3 trillion and Gross Domestic Product is about $15 trillion. It is unlikely that not passing the extension will throw us into a recession, but it is counterproductive. Similarly unemployment benefits are spent. To the extent that the reason unemployed individuals are out of work is because they are unable to find a job and not because they aren’t willing to accept a job, a reduction in those benefits will also have a negative effect on the economy."

On Occupy Wall Street
Regarding the movement, Schmidt says:

"Income inequality is at a historic high. I believe there is reason for concern. Democrats and Republicans seem to be talking past each other. I do not know how well organized or effective the Occupy movement will be in the long run, but they have brought the topic into mainstream discussion and it is likely to be part of the Presidential campaign.

Republicans, in general, are most concerned about growth of GDP. The income distribution does not seem to be a big concern to them. They oppose taxing those at the high end of the distribution because they are the “job creators”—which I think is too broad a brush to paint them with. My personal view is that there is a tradeoff between efficient taxation (which reduces growth the least) and equity. The United States has generally chosen to err on the side of efficiency compared to all other industrialized nations.

Democrats are also concerned about growth, but are also concerned about the income distribution. They have favored raising taxes on those making over $250,000 (the top 2%) and spending more on stimulus measures that are aimed especially at unemployed construction workers. The Republicans are opposed to stimulus."

Professor Schmidt's research interests include education and labor markets. She teaches Principles of Micro and Macroeconomics, Intermediate Macroeconomics, Econometrics, Statistics, Labor Economics and Environmental Economics. She has been interviewed by The Union Leader, New Hampshire Public Radio, and WMUR.

To speak to Professor Schmidt, please call Barbara LeBlanc at (603) 641-7241 (office) or (603) 486-8760 (cell).

Saint Anselm in Photos, 2011

A year on the Hilltop presents countless "Anselmian moments." Whether our students were on the quad, in the classroom, on the ice, court or field, inside the Abbey Church, Dana Center, NHIOP, or any point between, our cameras were present to capture many of the memorable, and uniquely Anselmian experiences of 2011. You can view the full gallery of 70 images on Flickr.

Saint Anselm College, as seen from aboveSaint Anselm College, as seen from above. Fall 2011 photo by Joseph St. Pierre.

Students on the QuadPhotographer Gil Talbot caught these Anselmians on a fall afternoon crossing the college quad.

Members of the women's cross country team compete in a 2011 invitationalMembers of the women's cross country team compete in a 2011 invitational in this photo by Gil Talbot.

Men's hockey celebrates a goal at Sullivan Arena.Gil Talbot photographed this celebratory photo following a goal at Sullivan Arena.

Fr. Augustine Kelly, O.S.B. greets students on move in day 2011Fr. Augustine Kelly, O.S.B. greets students on move in day 2011. Photo by Gil Talbot.

The 'CNN Express' returned to the Saint Anselm Quad for it's second campus visit in June, 2011The 'CNN Express' arrives at Saint Anselm College for a June 2011 candidate debate. Photo by Gil Talbot.

CNN's John King rehearses with Saint Anselm studentsCNN anchor, and debate moderator John King rehearses with Saint Anselm College students. Photo by Gil Talbot.

Gingerbread House CompetitionThe annual gingerbread house competition resulted in a few frosted fingers, and faces. Photo by Cory True.

"Scene on Campus, 2011"Members of the Monastic community walk to noon prayer in the Abbey Church. Photo by Cory True.

Candles and crosses are parepared for the S.B.A. send-off massCandles and necklaces await Spring Break Alternative participants in this photo by Kevin Harkins.

Members of the Class of 2011 celebrate at CommencementMembers of the class of 2011 celebrate at Commencement exercises in this photo by Gil Talbot.

Saint Anselm College, as seen from aboveJoseph St. Pierre made this picture of the Saint Anselm campus in the fall of 2011.

Fr. Iain's Christmas Drawings Featured on New Hampshire Chronicle

In November of this year, an exhibition of Christmas drawings and other religious works by Fr. Iain MacLellan, O.S.B., opened at the Alva deMars Megan Chapel Art Center at Saint Anselm College. It wasn't long before the folks at WMUR television heard about this and asked to come on campus to produce a segment for their program "New Hampshire Chronicle." Watch the segment below.

The exhibition displays more than two decades of commissioned works by Fr. Iain, who is director of the Chapel Art Center. Fr. Iain started producing his distinctive Christmas watercolors for an annual Christmas card to be sent by Fr. Jonathan DeFelice, O.S.B., president of Saint Anselm College. Soon, the Saint Anselm Abbey also commissioned Fr. Iain, a member of the abbey, to create a Christmas card.

Fr. Iain works year round to create the drawings that are eventually turned into the Christmas cards, and which he calls meditations on the Christmas story.

Creating A Conversation

Friday morning, following the conclusion of the Cory Booker town-hall, three Saint Anselm College staff huddled for a discussion. The campaigns of Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman had approached the Saint Anselm College Republicans to sponsor (with the New Hampshire Institute of Politics serving as host) a Lincoln-Douglas style debate (we settled on calling it a conversation), and the time had come to decide where we would assemble an interested audience, the media, and the candidates.

It would be appropriate to mention at this point that by Friday morning, there were hundreds of requests for seats, and members of the foreign press from Germany, Switzerland and Japan had inquired about covering this event.

"What do you think?" asked Neil Levesque, Executive Director of the NHIOP.

We settled on relocating from the NHIOP auditorium to the Dana Center stage, and so started approximately 72 hours of phone calls, emails, meetings and countless spreadsheets and seating diagrams.

In a 12-hour marathon on Saturday, the audience was assembled, email confirmations were sent, and our media list grew to more than 50.

Sunday featured email conversations about finding matching American flags for the backdrop, buying 200 credentials at a local Staples, and figuring out how to accommodate the press list as it surged towards 100.

As we all signed off our iPhones and iPads around midnight on Sunday, we saw a story from the BBC: "Republicans Gingrich and Huntsman to hold epic debate." (No stress to live up to expectations!)

Republican presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman plan to hold a debate styled on the historic 1858 tussles between Abraham Lincoln and Senator Stephen Douglas.

Their campaigns say the debate, to be held on Monday 12 December at St Anselm College in New Hampshire, will provide a detailed exploration of their positions and views for the country

As Monday dawned, Saint Anselm College did what it does best: welcome our guests with the highest of hospitality: from offering a family on an admission visit with a private tour of the hall as the set was under construction, to greeting "Campaign Carl" of Fox News Channel as an old friend who spends so much time on campus he knows us by name too.

The press assembled, the audience filled in, the candidates appeared on stage.

For 90 minutes, two candidates discussed the issues on the same stage where Humanities lectures are offered four days a week, and where in early January, the full candidate field will appear for our ABC News, WMUR debate.

Following a brief press conference, Jon Huntsman walked up to the coffee shop, entering to a round of applause, and ever-so-briefly interrupting students from their dinner, or studying (it is finals week, after all) to say hello, and ask how exams were going. The candidate walked behind the counter to greet the staff (and grab a few french fries).

And then it was over.

Campaign vehicles headed out to the next event, the media filed their video, stories and photos, and the college staff enjoyed an ever-so-brief moment of pause.

No time to rest though, the primary, and our next debate, is less than a month away. Just another day in "America's Classroom"

Students Tell Their Stories to the Wall Street Journal

After her morning exam, English major Amanda Brahm sat down in the NHIOP and told a Wall Street Journal reporter about an experience she will never forget: standing in for presidential candidate Mitt Romney during rehearsals for the June 13 Republican primary debate on campus. She learned the candidate’s position and gave accurate answers to the moderator (a classmate standing in for CNN chief national correspondent John King). Meanwhile, technicians did sound and lighting checks in preparation for the live national broadcast.

Amanda Brahm

Amanda Brahm stands in for Governor Mitt Romney at the June 2011 presidential primary debate.

The reporter, Jennifer Levitz, wanted to know what it is like to be at Saint Anselm College during a presidential election cycle. These students had numerous up-close-and-personal experiences to relate.

“I have friends who go to college in Washington, D.C. and they’ve never had experiences like this,” said Lyndsay Robinson. “I’ve met every single candidate at least three times.”

Although she is a Romney supporter, Robinson will be assisting candidate Newt Gingrich during this afternoon’s Lincoln-Douglas style debate with Jon Huntsman.

Jake Wagner talked about being an intern in the Huntsman campaign. The passionate politics major and Huntsman supporter (with a minor in campaign management) has been a political addict since the age of eight, and is executive director of the Saint Anselm College Republicans.

Unlike Robinson and Wagner, Brahm is more interested in the election process than in a particular candidate.

As the students chatted with the Wall Street Journal reporter, MSNBC’s broadcast of political coverage played on the NHIOP’s wide screen TV in the background. For Saint Anselm students who want to get a closer look at politics in progress, the opportunities are unlimited.

Reflections on September 11

Post by Capt Ian Brown, USMC, '03
December 12, 2011

It's been ten years since I woke up late that Tuesday morning, ready for an easy day with only one class in the afternoon, to find my roommates glued to the television, newscasters almost unable to comprehend what they were reporting on, and, apparently, the whole world on fire. By the time I finally tuned in, both towers of the World Trade Center were burning and the Pentagon had a hole in it; reports were just beginning to come in about a plane crash in Pennsylvania; and rumors were flying wild, including one of a bomb set off on the Washington Mall. We sat there, watching reruns of the planes striking each building, watching smoke pour out of the gaping wounds in the Twin Towers, watching people hanging their heads out the windows for air and, in some cases, flinging themselves down into the streets below, preferring to plummet to their ends rather than be consumed by the flames.

I remember the first person I called that morning was my Marine selection officer: I wanted to know if there was anything I had to do, if we officer candidates might get called up for some task (a silly question, of course, since I had all of 12 weeks of extremely basic training and would be lucky if all I did was shoot one of my fingers off without hurting anyone else). The second person was my mother. I come from a dual-citizenship family – my father is Canadian, my mother American – and I wanted to know what she made of all of this. She was the first American in my life, and I thought maybe she'd have some insight from all her years here about who, what, why this was happening. My parents still lived in Canada, and I also wanted to know whether it was being reported up there, if perhaps Canadian news had some outside tidbits of information we lacked. Yet she, and the Canadian media outlets, had no additional insights. Few people knew anything that morning, other than the fact that we were under attack. So all I could do was watch.

The first Tower fell. Clouds of smoke, dust, and ash billowed through the streets of downtown New York as people tried to outrun it. At the Pentagon, flames roiled up out of the gash that had been cut to the very center of the building. Rumors of a fourth plane wreck were confirmed, and we got our first look at the gaping scar of earth where Flight 93 had come to grief. The second Tower fell. Manhattan was now obscured by sheets of haze and smoke as the debris spread and fires burned. I don't remember what my roommates and I said to each other, if anything. It was all so unexpected, so unbelievable. It was supposed to be a Tuesday like any other. What was it now?

My one class for the day was cancelled, but I still had to go to cross-country practice. I was a co-captain of nine or ten guys who also thought that today was going to be like any other day. I tried to think of something to say to them; I think what I came up with was something about our country getting hit hard, but that we still had to press forward and not let this interrupt our lives. Whatever I said, it wasn't memorable. Someone else on the team said something far better in far fewer words as we practiced. We were running laps around the track, and our workout was almost done when Chris Ambrose (’03), crossing the start line, yelled out, "Let's do it for New York and DC!" The guys jumped across the line, and I thought I would lose my last vestiges of self-control from that day right there.

The rest of the week was turned upside down. Classes were cancelled the next day, as I recall, and we had a memorial service instead. I remember Father Jonathan trying to hold back tears as he told us that he'd learned of an alumnus who'd died in the World Trade Center. I heard from my parents that the father of several kids who attended my old high school had also died there. That morning of rapid destruction was starting to ripple across the country and across borders.

At some point that week we learned that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were taking credit for the attacks. I think my first reaction was, "What the heck is al Qaeda?" I'd heard of bin Laden a few times, in connection with the USS Cole bombing and the attacks on American embassies in Africa; but he certainly wasn't a topic of daily conversation in the news. Now, his face was everywhere, and eventually a video tape emerged of him gloating as he learned how successful his plans had been.

By then I really didn't care who was behind it. All I knew was that these attacks had given my rather general decision to join the Marine Corps a focus that it previously lacked. Before 9/11, I'd wanted to join up out of a fascination with the American military tradition, a general desire to serve my country, and go with the Marines because they had a bad-ass reputation and the coolest uniforms. Now there was a specific purpose: I would make it my personal responsibility to make sure that no one I loved would ever have to see what we saw that morning ever again, or be threatened by the kind of men who perpetrated it.

9/11 gave focus to something else too. It made me realize that my fun little fling with this big old sea-to-shining-sea country had, over the last couple of years, developed into a full-fledged love affair. I was born and raised in Canada, but spent a lot of time visiting America as my mom’s side of the family lived there. Often I joked that I had one foot North of the 49th parallel and one foot South. When the Towers fell, I knew that both feet would be forever here. Because what I saw that morning hurt me more than anything I could remember in the twenty-odd years of my life. This wonderful country where I'd found an incredible school, even more incredible friends (and ultimately, in the months to come, the remarkable woman who would become my wife), a way of life that was energetic, freewheeling, and boisterous, neighbors and acquaintances who challenged me and made me think about who I was and what I believed – this place that had given me so much was now reeling under a blow from petty, angry little men who couldn't even begin to understand what they were attacking. I hadn't felt so stung by any single event before or since. Hurricane Katrina has come pretty close, but Katrina was a natural event, one beyond our power to control. It was a force without guidance or malice. 9/11 was committed with malice aforethought. It was the purposeful decision by a group of men to kill as many of their fellow human beings as possible.

The rage and pain that this barbaric act generated were indescribable, and though the years have dulled these feelings, they've never subsided. Sometimes those feelings lingered below the surface, remembered more at the intellectual than emotional level, and I would force myself to remember them to help me through the difficult times of deployments in Iraq and the Pacific. Sometimes they exploded to the forefront, as when I learned that one of my roommates in basic training had been shot down in Iraq by the same type of murderers who executed 9/11, or when the headlines announced that Capt Kyle Van De Giesen (’02) – the first fellow candidate I met in the officer selection program, a proud product of Anselmian education, and a loving husband and father awaiting the birth of his second child – was killed in action in Afghanistan shortly before he was due to return home. They come flooding back to me now as I write this, and I'm actually a little surprised that they're still this strong. That's a good thing, though: it means that I still haven't forgotten what it felt like that Tuesday morning, on what was supposed to be an easy, relaxing day. I hope I never forget, and that the rest of America doesn’t either.

I forget why but we had an alternate schedule that day. Otherwise, I probably would have been in bed when everything happened. It was my junior year and I lived off campus at Squire. I came home from class just before 9:00. My roommate Jeff was sitting on the couch watching TV and said a plane hit the world trade center. I figured it was a small cessna and thought that it was terrible loss for a few people with no idea of the magnitude of what was happening. He said it was a 767. Shortly thereafter that the second plane crashed. I froze, my heart sank. I sat down in complete shock. America had been attacked. The news soon showed Boston being evacuated. My first thoughts were to try to get in touch with my brother and sister who lived and worked there, except there was no cell service. I was terrified. I'll never forget that feeling. God Bless all who were lost that day, the families they left behind and the servicemen and women who went to fight for our country in the following years.

Post by Will Tattan '03

I have tried so many times to write about that Tuesday morning in September 2001 that began with a cerulean sky and the optimism that accompanies the perfect fall day, and ended with anguish, profound tragedy and a sense of fear so overwhelming and raw none of us had the words for it yet. Every time I try to write about September 11, I get as far as “I cannot grasp it—the ‘there-then-not,’”—before I have to stop.

Because, really, how can I capture on paper what we felt that day? What we still feel, 10 years later, as tribute shows replay the unthinkable—the planes crashing, impossibly, into the towers; the towers collapsing (even now, I can’t get over how slowly they seemed to fall); the dazed men in their suits, covered in ash so thick and gray you wonder how they’ll ever get clean; the women clutching their high heels and crawling through panic-filled streets; the incomprehensible, pin-wheeling silhouettes of those who jumped out of offices to escape the flames and smoke and terror; the police officers and firefighters wiping away sweat and grime and tears as they headed doggedly towards what everyone else was running from. And I certainly couldn’t write about the overwhelming grief I felt in the days to follow, as newscasts showed disbelieving moms, dads, sisters, brothers, cousins, daughters, sons, fiancées, coworkers, friends, lovers—holding up photos of Sara, Riley, Marcus, Nathaniel, Ellie, Maria, Beth, David, Sam, Karen, Josh, and asking someone, anyone to please help find their loved ones because they missed them and just wanted them home.

I didn’t lose anyone on September 11. But I think one of the reasons I was—and still am—so deeply affected is the realization that I easily could have. The terrorist attacks were exquisitely targeted, yet so brutally random. Those directly impacted by that morning’s tragic events began their days doing the heartbreakingly ordinary—dropping kids off at daycare, grabbing one last cup of coffee before a 9am meeting, kissing husbands goodbye before leaving for a conference, hitting snooze on their alarm clocks three times like they always did, cramming for a Physics test they really should have studied for the night before, yelling at little sisters for borrowing a favorite sweater again without asking.

And me? I was home bracing for another long day of job hunting. I had graduated with an English degree from St. A’s four months earlier and naively believed I would immediately become a writer. Never had I felt so lost, so adrift. And never had I yearned more for the comfort of my St. A’s community than I did when the second plane hit. What I wouldn’t have given to be within walking distance of all of my friends, who in four years, had become my family. I craved my St. A’s “bubble”—a safe haven where I had always been able to laugh, talk, share, vent, grieve—and a place I now desperately needed to help me make sense of the inexplicable. How I longed to be sitting in the Abbey church, finding the deep quiet and peace I only seemed to achieve there. Maybe then I wouldn’t be so bewildered by God.

In the years since September 11, I have found a job writing. I have gotten married and given birth to a beautiful, perfect daughter. I have celebrated triumphs and tragedies with my brothers and sisters from St. A’s. I have made peace with God and tried to be grateful every day for all the blessings He has given me—my family, my friends, my health, and of course my St. A’s roots. But never have I forgotten that crisp fall morning in September when everything changed. And never have I taken the ordinary, the miraculous, and the everything-in-between moments for granted again. Be good to each other. Breathe. Love. Rejoice. Forgive. This life is all we have.

Posted by Tracy (Duwart) Jordan ’01

Thanks for this opportunity to express my thoughts. The attacks on 9/11 and the response by the 343 FDNY men who ran TOWARDS the flames and lost their lives should remind us all of our obligation to service. By looking for "What [we] can do for [our] country, not what [our] country can do for [us]…" we'll continue to be the "shining light on the hill." A former POW once said that one of the greatest things about coming home to America was "waking up to a door knob on his side of the door"…let's work hard to make sure that is NEVER an issue for people desiring to live in freedom. I implore all of you students to serve, and make a difference. Go Hawks!

Posted by Joseph O'Brien

Great job to all who shared their thoughts and posted them regarding September 11th. We all were in different places and of different ages and backgrounds. We all realize how precious life is. I enjoyed reading all of the posts.

Posted by Mike Delury

I was sitting at my desk in room 3C257 of the Pentagon when the plane hit the building.

Friday following 9/11 the crime scene tape that had been keeping us out of our office was taken down. We were back to work.

It seemed like only days later that the anthrax letters were in the postal system. Anthrax spores found their way to the Pentagon post office.

A short distance to the left of my desk was the site of the plane crash. And even closer on my right was the post office.

And there were the Washington snipers. One poor soul was shot just across the street from where I would get my bagel and coffee every morning. There seemed to be no escaping the senseless acts of violence.

And yet, out of the destructive violence brought upon us by the terrorist acts that shook our world on 9/11, there emerged an abundance of brotherly love, hope and charity. The resilience of the human spirit is remarkable. This is what I witnessed post 9/11. This is what I learned. Good does conquer evil.

Posted by Joe Corriveau '81

Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker Stumps for Barack Obama

Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, New Jersey made a reading day stop at The New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College Friday, December 9 on behalf of the reelection campaign of President Obama. During his speech, recorded by C-SPAN for broadcast hours later, Booker discussed his support for the President, focusing on education, among other topics.

Anselmian Keith Charles, a member of the Saint Anselm Student Democrats provided the student introduction for Mayor Booker. He spoke to The Union Leader, at the conclusion of the event:

“Mayor Booker is very inspiring,” Charles said. “I asked him what drives him every day, and he said, ‘If you can make a difference, then that's what matters.

New Hampshire Voters Taking a Second Look at Gingrich

Newt Gingrich at NHIOP at Saint Anselm College on November 21, 2011.

Newt Gingrich at New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College on November 21, 2011.

Regarding Newt Gingrich’s recent rise in the New Hampshire polls against long time frontrunner Mitt Romney, Professor Elizabeth Ossoff, director of the research center at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, says:

“One could say that Gingrich is the anti-Romney ‘Candidate of the Month.’ But the combination of national news accounts showing Gingrich’s rise in the polls and the New Hampshire Union Leader’s recent endorsement, which anointed Gingrich as a ‘true conservative,’ may have New Hampshire voters taking a second look. Perhaps Gingrich appeals to their desire to not be pigeon-holed. New Hampshire voters do the unexpected at times. Sometimes we react against that which is expected of us. Maybe the expectation that New Hampshire would definitely go for Romney rubs some voters the wrong way, and has led them to reassess their choice now that the primary is closer at hand.”

Professor Ossoff’s research interests include the psychology of political behavior, from perspective of both the voter and the candidate. She is also interested in politics and the media, and the psychology of gender.

Saint Anselm College professor Elizabeth Ossoff

Elizabeth Ossoff, Ph.D, Professor of Psychology at Saint Anselm College.

Director of the research center at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, Professor Ossoff speaks to reporters frequently about public attitudes toward politics and candidates, gender and politics and other themes. She has been interviewed by CNN, New England Cable News, New Hampshire Pubilc Radio, the Associated Press, The New York Times and other news outlets.

To speak to Professor Ossoff, please call Barbara LeBlanc at (603) 641-7241 (office) or (603) 486-8760 (cell).