the holistic radical

August 10, 2007

most high schoolers don’t know how economics works

Filed under: Uncategorized — sesame seed @ 2:54 am

and neither does george w. bush, apparently.

on the same day, reports about how high schoolers know little about money except how to spend it–they are blind to how interest and savings work, how foreclosures work, how credit works–

and a press conference from george saying our economy is basically good.

our economy is good? so why are so many people:
–in debt
–without health insurance
–living from paycheck to paycheck
–can’t afford to move from crappy apartments because landlords jack up rent every time someone moves in or out regardless of “repairs made” (um, changing a lock should not count as a repair–takes 10 minutes)
–working 2 or 3 jobs just to survive
–are in bankruptcy or foreclosure

sounds like a great system to me. listening to the conference (which was on npr, which i listen to on kplu, 88.5 fm seattle–great jazz station that keeps me from committing suicide and which, though i can’t afford to give them money right now, i promote rigorously by telling all my friends about), you get the sense george just doesn’t know what he’s talking about, that he has a script he reads once or twice before a conference and just gets flustered when he can’t stick to that script. the problem is, who writes the script? beyond the simplistic arguments of george being stupid and other such nonproductive namecalling, you do get the impression that, whether he’s stupid or not, it has nothing to do with the fact that he’s not doing his own thinking. whether he’s not doing his own thinking because of inability or laziness is another issue. my point is that we have someone in office for whom thinking is considered optional–that’s how deep his anti-intellectualism is. this is capitalism at its worst: just pay someone to think for you, to write your script. in capitalism, you can pay someone to eat for you, shit for you, and have sex for you too–sorry i’m stepping out of decorum here, but follow the logical consequences and see if they don’t lead to mind-numbing amounts of anger–

side note: i really hate people telling me to “put my money where my mouth is” by acting like i should give money to every charity-talker on the street. i just can’t, sorry. that obviously means i’m a bad person, right?

this man, this administration, knows nothing about the economy. it’s not economical to:
–deprive your citizens of health insurance and housing
–spend your citizens’ tax dollars on tearing apart other countries
–not spend your citizens’ tax dollars on weak bridges and mass transit
–make the poor and middle class bear the majority of the tax burden, while the rich pay maybe a max of 15 cents on the dollar.

this creates unrest, unrest exacerbates already present instability, and overall volatility can’t be good for any economy. people want to be able to live and work in peace, and not have to work all the time to survive.

for example, maybe renters who work and study very hard, are human beings and don’t deserve to be treated like utter shit.

just a thought. maybe thoughts can lead to change? i see how the educational system is working lately–the kids i come into contact with have no sense of current events, let alone of history, and don’t know how to write–meaning, they don’t know how to think. wither democracy?

From: High School Students Find Economics Hard


Morning Edition, August 9, 2007 · For the first time, the federal government is testing U.S. high school students on how much they understand economics.

…The answers to questions on trade also held some surprising results — about half of the country’s high school students understood the basic principles of global trade.

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Bush Touts Economy, Urges Pakistani Elections

President Bush speaks in the White House Press Room.

Ron Edmonds

President Bush speaks in the White House Press Room. In a recent AP-Ipsos poll, only 37 percent of respondents approved of his handling of the economy, close to a record low. AP, August 9, 2007 · President Bush rebuffed questions Thursday about raising the federal gasoline tax to pay for infrastructure improvements and said there is enough liquidity in the market to weather the fallout from sub-prime mortgage defaults.

After last week’s bridge collapse in Minneapolis and the close scrutiny of the nation’s infrastructure that has followed, some Democrats in Congress have proposed raising the federal gasoline tax to repair failing roads and bridges.

“Before we raise taxes, which could affect economic growth, I would strongly urge the Congress to examine how they set priorities,” he said.

About $24 billion, or 8 percent of the last $286 billion highway bill, was devoted to highway and bridge projects singled out by lawmakers. The balance is sent in the form of grants to states, which then decide how it will be spent. Federal money accounts for about 45 percent of all infrastructure spending.

More than 70,000 of the nation’s bridges are rated structurally deficient, including the bridge that collapsed over the Mississippi River on August 1. The American Society of Civil Engineers says repairing them all would require spending at least $9.4 billion a year for 20 years. Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN) says his tax increase proposal would raise about $25 billion over three years.

As the president spoke to reporters, Wall Street was in a steep decline after a French bank said it was freezing three securities funds that struggled to find liquidity in the U.S. subprime mortgage market, a situation that has stalked the markets for days.

“I am told there is enough liquidity in the system to enable markets to correct,” Mr. Bush said.

Asked if he would support a “bail-out” for those losing their homes, the president said: “If you mean direct grants to homeowners, the answer would be no, I don’t support that. If you mean making sure that financial institutions like the FHA have got flexibility to help these folks refinance their homes, the answer is yes, I support that.”

Mr. Bush said one solution was to promote more “financial literacy” and transparency for financial documents because “a lot of people sign up for something that they don’t understand,” referring to complaints that many home buyers did not understand risky sub-prime and adjustable-rate mortgages.


From NPR reports and the Associated Press

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