The Grade School Economist

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There comes a point in one’s educational journey when you arrive at the realization that what you are learning, as good as it may be, isn’t the way it is in the real world. For me, that happened in my 12th grade wood shop class when I figured out that I would probably never use a table saw. I got transferred to an electronics class.

For my son, it happened this week when he brought home an economics study guide. The material on the study guide was excellent. But sadly, it isn’t being applied in today’s America.

Here are a few examples.

Study Guide: “Economics is the study of how people use resources. Natural resources are resources from God such as water, fish, and farmland.”

Today’s America: “Economics are rules that only get in the way of the government trying to give you what’s best for you. Natural resources such as water, fish, and farmland belong to the government. Never use natural resources, you selfish pig.”

Study Guide: “Producers sell goods and services.”

Today’s America: “Producers are greedy, old men who own fast food restaurants and only want to make more money so that they can golf more. They have no compassion for their hard working, completely non-greedy minimum wage employees who go on strike every two weeks because they want more money to spend on video games.”

Study Guide: “A budget shows how much you earn and spend.”

Today’s America: “A what?”

Study Guide: “Savings can be used for sudden expenses.”

Today’s America: “Credit cards are used for sudden expenses. Or, in the case of the federal government, money printing machines are used for sudden expenses. Either way, it’s free money. Savings accounts are only for those greedy fast-food restaurant owners.”

Study Guide: “People earn an income by working.”

Today’s America: “People earn an income by watching Judge Judy, having kids, developing a drug addiction, creating art that they could never sell without the aid of the government, having more kids, getting their own reality show, voting for people who promise to increase their wages for doing nothing and having kids. Anything but work. Oh, and did I mention having kids?”

Study Guide: “Prices of items are determined by the supply and demand.”

Today’s America: “Prices of items are determined by the government after they establish a monopoly by bailing out their ‘too big to fail’ corporate buddies and forcing the small, private producers out of business.”

Study Guide: “Wants are things that people would like to have.”

Today’s America: “If I want it, I have a right to it. And if I can’t afford it, someone else has to pay for my right to whatever it is that I want. Now give me my smart phone!”

Study Guide: “A factory is a place in which people use machines to make goods.”

Today’s America: “A factory is a place where people once used machines to make goods. But then it had to shut down because the owner of the factory couldn’t afford the new federally mandated insurance plans and the mandatory minimum wage increase. A factory is now something in another country where small children are used to make goods.”

I didn’t learn economics until the 9th grade. My son is learning it before he turns ten years old. I couldn’t believe it when he came home and showed me his study guide. That night, I even brought it to bed with me to read again.

I’m thinking about mailing it to the folks up in D.C.

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