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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March employment report.

U.S. non-farm payrolls grew by 192,000 in March 2014, close to expectations. January and February payrolls were revised up by a combined 37,000. Despite the growth, the average for the first quarter of 2014 was just 178,000, below the 2013 full-year average of 194,000. The latest employment report shows an economy that is adding jobs but not at a very strong pace.

The unemployment rate held steady at 6.7% in spite of an increase in total employment. This could be attributed to the labor-force participation rate rising to 63.2% in March. The labor force participation rate had been trending lower in the the last decade and went into free-fall during the recession.

Despite the increase in the employment-population ration and rise in the labor-force participation rate, there are still key issues that need to be addressed in order to reach the desired levels of growth. The number of long-term unemployed changed little in March, accounting for 35.8% of the unemployed, at 3.7 million. There is still a lot of work to be done.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.