Seven Big Economic Lies

We are fortunate to have Robert Reich to debunk them for us. The thing that always frustrates me is that the lies are mostly so implausible on their face… so obviously false to anyone with any background in economics who thinks about them for a while… that I cannot believe they persist, decade after decade, and that Americans persist in believing them, over and over, decade after decade.

And then I think about the elementary and secondary education I received. I spent the usual number of years in public schools back when public schools were on the whole very good, and I have few complaints with the education I received… few, but not none: I was never taught the basics of economics until I reached college. And this omission was apparently nearly universal in public schools in a century in which America had seen the absolute best and worst of economic practices, by presidents from FDR to Reagan, the former in the face of catastrophes not even yet surpassed in American economic life; the latter bearing fruit this very moment in the cataclysmic downturn we face today. Yet somehow it has never been thought necessary to teach kids and teens even the simplest basics. And as a result, we still have an overwhelming majority of Americans who think a government’s budget works just like a family budget… and a whole political party dedicated to reinforcing that falsehood for its own political advantage.

I don’t have easy answers to this one, just one suggestion. If you have kids, make sure they get age-appropriate economics education somewhere, from the schools if the courses are available, or from yourself if not. The Republican onslaught against education and the concomitant victimhood of ignorance must cease.

(H/T Avedon for the Robert Reich link.)

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