Thursday, October 28, 2004

All I Need To Know in Life....
from the mind of  Evan Kruse.

... I sure as heck didn't learn in Kindergarten.

Even though President Bush seems to be pulling away in the polls, the current popularity of the haughty, French-looking Massachusetts Democrat who by the way served in Vietnam (Thanks Mr. Taranto) is still baffling. One could chalk it up to populism, where Senator Kerry uses the lower middle class people's distaste for the wealthy to gain popularity, even though he belongs to the precise group of people that they hate. It could be attributed to the unbalanced picture that the media constantly provides to the public that allows them to buy into the doctrine of the 'do anything and say anything to be popular' Kerry. It could be many things, but it all boils down to education. If our voting public was more educated on some of these important issues, they would be able to notice when a load of bull was coming their way.

The problem lies within the fact that we could never educate the public on all of these issues. The only medium that we truly have to provide the public with such education is in our public schools. High school students would never be able to cover the required curriculum along with a course on the current state of our health care system, current tax codes, foreign affairs, and so on. We must look at the one piece that ties all of these together. One might ask what single piece ties all of this together? The answer is simple. Economics.

Our lives thrive on the exchange of money for goods and services. Even our recreation thrives on it. Almost everything we do, almost everything we use and experience has an economic aspect to it. The theories and laws of economics even come into play when trying to understand how different regulations on the health care industry will effect the quality and availability of care. A basic understanding of our nations economic structure would allow people to understand that taxing the rich is not a ticket to free money, and will, in fact, have adverse effects on our quality of lives. A basic understanding of how our economy actually works would allow people to see the realities of our current and proposed policies rather than trusting people trained in journalism to properly convey an accurate portrayal.

In my high school, we did have an economics course. It really went only as far as teaching us that supply and demand would find an equilibrium and that Mr. Keynes was supposedly a cool guy. Oh, and there was some sort of French word that was supposed to have something to do with the free market. Our compulsory education does not address issues of macroeconomics at a level beyond completely superficial. Macro would give people the tools to accurately clear the smoke screen placed by all of the different candidates claims about the benefits of this policy and the detriment of that policy. Understanding the time value of money would allow people to see that our deficit is not the highest that it has ever been, and compared to most other first world countries, it is still tiny. People would be able to see the whole picture for themselves, not have the picture interpreted by a group of people whose reputation has recently come under intense scrutiny.

No offense to you, Mr. Shakespeare... But we spend a lot of time on your works, and that doesn't help me at all know how to vote. If any candidate addressed the problem and offered a comprehensive plan (and actually explained that plan to us, not just say over and over again "I have a PLAN!") on how to educate people on these issues, I'd vote for him. If we are to be the worlds economic superpower, we need to have a better understanding of the economy. If that means that we have to sacrifice a little Shakespeare, a little Poe, a little Thoreau, so be it. It will offer huge dividends.


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