We talk a lot about education, mainly because how we educate kids now has a significant effect on our own future. That's why we find it interesting that videos promising to turn kids into geniuses don't really work as advertised, and that promises to put every American child into preschool isn't what the science recommends.
The problems in the mortgage industry are not the end of the world -- just a sign that there's been some bad lending. What could be much more serious is if China gets serious about messing with our currency. Another truly serious calamity is the Baghdad bank heist in which $282 million (in cash) were stolen, almost certainly by an organized group -- and there's plenty of reason to believe the money will be used against American forces in Iraq.
According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, America's high-school students know far too little about basic economics. A good example: Only one in three knew that personal income taxes are the main source of government revenues. That was the right answer to a four-option multiple-choice question, but two of the answers were preposterous -- so we should've at least seen 50% of the students get it right, even if they were only guessing.
Here's another (albeit a little extreme) example of why politicians need to think about incentives to solve our energy problems: In the early days of the Soviet Union, the Communist government turned to pro-smoking propaganda in order to bump up cigarette sales. Why? Because the government owned all of the cigarette factories, and the national treasury was running short. So when politicians promise that higher energy taxes are for our own good, they're probably ignoring other alternatives because higher taxes might help them pay for more promises that will help them win re-election.
Keywords in this show: children • Communism • credit • debt • economics • education • energy • future • income taxes • incentives • inducement prizes • Iraq • mortgages • preschool • propaganda • sub-prime lending • taxes