Education: basic economics.

The findings reported in the article below only reinforce my view that education is the single most important factor in moving any society forward, and we are lacking. When it comes to Economics, most people don’t understand the basics – at all. In a society where young people are supposed to be better educated lack a real understanding of how the system works, we have a problem.

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Article: Millennials’ Political Views Don’t Make Any Sense

That’s not a harsh assessment. It’s just a fair description.

Millennial politics is simple, really. Young people support big government, unless it costs any more money. They’re for smaller government, unless budget cuts scratch a program they’ve heard of. They’d like Washington to fix everything, just so long as it doesn’t run anything. That’s all from a new Reason Foundation poll surveying 2,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 29. Millennials’ political views are, at best, in a stage of constant metamorphosis and, at worst, “totally incoherent,” as Dylan Matthews puts it. It’s not just the Reason Foundation. In March, Pew came out with a similar survey of Millennial attitudes that offered another smorgasbord of paradoxes:

    • Millennials hate the political parties more than everyone else, but they have the highest opinion of Congress.
    • Young people are the most likely to be single parents and the least likely to approve of single parenthood.
    • Young people voted overwhelmingly for Obama when he promised universal health care, but they oppose his universal health care law as much as the rest of the country … even though they still pledge high support for universal health care. (Like other groups, but more so: They seem allergic to the term Obamacare.)

1. Millennials are more liberal than the rest of the country, particularly on social issues, but they get more economically conservative when they make more money.


Richer Millennials on Redistribution: No, Thanks

Reason Foundation

2. Millennials don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to economics.

Young people lean way left on issues like gay marriage, pot, and immigration. On abortion and gun control, they swim closer to the rest of the electorate. But on economics, they’re all over the map. You get the sense, reading the Reason Foundation and Pew studies, that a savvy pollster could trick a young person into supporting basically any economic policy in the world with the right combination of triggers. Conservative and liberal partisans can cherry-pick this survey to paint Millennials as whatever ideology they want. To wit:

  • On spending: Conservatives can say: 65 percent of Millennials would like to cut spending. Liberals can say: 62 percent would like to spend more on infrastructure and jobs.
  • On taxes: Conservatives can say: 58 percent of Millennials want to cut taxes overall. Liberals can say: 66 percent want to raise taxes on the wealthy.
  • On government’s role in our lives: Conservatives can say: 66 percent of Millennials say that “when something is funded by the government, it is usually inefficient and wasteful.” Liberals can say: More than two-thirds think the government should guarantee food, shelter, and a living wage.
  • On government size: Conservatives can say: 57 percent want smaller government with fewer services (if you mention the magic word “taxes”). Liberals can say: 54 percent want larger government with more services (if you don’t mention “taxes”).
Overall, Millennials offer the murky impression of a generation that doesn’t really understand basic economics. To be fair, neither do most Americans. Or many economists, perhaps. Or most journalists. Economics is hard.

Socialism or Capitalism?

Reason Foundation

Source: originally published by Derek Thompson at The Atlantic.
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Student debt and wages.

Graduating college continues to have significant economic benefits, despite the rising costs and weak job market. However, the gap between costs and returns appears to be diminishing.

student debt

student avg pay

Notes: (1) student debt covers 25 year old’s, while median pay covers 25-25 year old’s. (2) Student debt is an average, while median pay is a median (average pay does follow the same trend).

Source: New York Fed; Vox.

Highly selective schools and happiness.

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A new Gallup survey of 30,000 college graduates of all ages in all 50 states has found that highly selective schools don’t produce better workers or happier people, but inspiring professors, no matter where they teach, might.

“It matters very little where you go; it’s how you do it” that counts, said Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education. “Having a teacher who believes in a student makes a lifetime of difference.”

Highly selective schools and happiness.

Source: The Wall Street Journal