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View Diary: Right-Wing Propaganda Masquerades as a High School Economics Curriculum (160 comments)

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  •  It didn't look that bad (7+ / 0-)

    I checked the website that the diary linked to. While the teaching material might be different from the stuff in their blog that they are using to communicate the ideas in their curriculum to teachers, the quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes about taxes was right there on the website (so at least on their website they are not ignoring that point of view unlike the diary suggests).

    Furthermore, there was discussion about fairness and trade-offs when it comes to issues such as taxation and budget deficit cuts. Again, the actual material mailed to teachers etc. might be different but their website isn't what I'd call "right-wing propaganda".

    Also, how many of you have read Krugman's textbook on economics? If I cited it without telling you the author, I bet many here would decry it as right-wing propaganda. Just saying that often economic analysis is bashed as right-wing bs when it doesn't explicitly mention issues of "fairness" and "social responsibility" in every paragraph. Many here would be outraged by stuff that Krugman or Stiglitz have written.

    •  "Fairness" isn't economics (8+ / 0-)

      "Fairness" is a political concept, not an economic one.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 12:29:03 PM PST

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      •  Exactly (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Paul Rogers, coffeetalk

        Yeah that was the point I was trying to make but didn't write my comment very well. If you don't have that kind of political coloring right there with your economic concepts, many people think it is "right wing". One has to separate between theoretical economic concepts and then practical political discussion. Often economic textbooks and blogs etc. (even the stuff discussed in the diary) include the caveats regarding the economic theory in many places but one cannot simply do that in every paragraph.

        I didn't see anything on the website that was questionable in terms of substance (they were very basic economic concepts). Maybe the actual material sent to teachers was framed in an unfair way but the website at least is very uncontroversial. But I feel that because it discusses issues such as deficits and taxation without bringing in every political argument (both from left and the right), it is labeled as "right-wing propaganda".

        •  I don't know if the curriculum mentions this... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JFactor, ORDem

          One thing it could mention is that social spending programs can diminish the impact of economic recessions.  That way it just isn't about basic information that would please republican deficit-worriers.

          Since economic cycles of boom and bust are a feature of capitalism, fairness actually doesn't need to be mentioned at all in order to justify things like social security and unemployment.  It's just how our 'side' most commonly approaches the issue.  I think that's a mistake.

          The main concern I would think most have is that 'fiscal responsibility' is often Republican code for getting rid of all those 'freeloading' people out there.  Hearing things that sound like they might be code words can raise an alarm, but they could also just be words.

          But there is a real desire to base economic science on a-priori assumptions about economics.  Just like how people want to teach biology science according to a-priori assumptions.

          •  yeah (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Paul Rogers, coffeetalk

            I agree that many view concepts such as deficit reduction always through that lens. I understand it (we all know how Republicans are not actually fiscally responsible etc.) but I also think sometimes it goes too far. Debts and deficits are real and these economic concepts used to discuss them are very useful. Sometimes I'm frustrated that we tend to see things through a slightly warped view (all debt and deficit talk is garbage etc.) and unfairly treat pieces of analysis that are actually not all that partisan at all.

            •  Education is our friend. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              happymisanthropy, ORDem

              We just need an effort to combat economics nonsense by teaching economics, the same way we defeat biology nonsense by teaching biology.

              Just the former is a little more difficult to parse, in general, since it's based on reams of evidence that are highly analytical, partially implemented in many cases and not easily notable things like, "Huh, that's funny, that bird looks like that other bird."

              Libertarian economic thinking is stupid.  If people can learn to think, they will understand that.

          •  The boom and bust cycle is not an inherent (0+ / 0-)

            feature of capitalism, just of insufficiently-regulated capitalism. As when you trash Glass-Steagal.

            America—We built that!

            by Mokurai on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 09:46:46 AM PST

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    •  Are we looking at the same thing? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DarkLadyNyara, happymisanthropy

      A line from the first lesson intro "Social Security and the National Debt:"

      A redistributionist Ponzi scheme that perpetuates fraud on the American public and silently ushers in a collectivist, socialist mentality
      Here's one from lesson three, "The Economics of National Security:"
      A government-provided public good or service cannot be evaluated based on its profitability, so the political process must determine how many parks to create and maintain, how clean the air should be, and how adequate the nation’s security systems are. Many believe this process is less “rational” than decisions made by the free market because there are no independent data, such as sales figures, to confirm that they are a good value and a good use of the resources they require.
      •  Are you serious? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Paul Rogers, marianevans, Sparhawk

        You do realize that the Ponzi scheme quote is them introducing one view point to the debate (that some people sadly have)? You do realize that the line right above that says "A bedrock of the social contract as envisioned in the New Deal" and the last line under that "Introduction" section says "The basis of the modern social welfare state that is fundamentally sustainable and must be preserved"?

        I mean, come on.

        And what comes to your other example; you skipped the first line of that paragraph that frames what they're trying to say: "Deciding how much to spend on national defense is not easy. It is not, for example, like deciding how many cars to build if you are General Motors."

        And they're completely right. The political process making these decisions is completely different from the dynamics of the free market. And you do realize that they write "many" instead of just proclaiming it to be true and that the word rational is in quotes? There's nothing sinister about that paragraph, especially when looking it in the context of the whole curriculum which includes view points from the left and the right.

        You completely ignored the quote that said SS is "fundamentally sustainable and must be preserved" even though it was right there next to the Ponzi scheme one. Why? It is clear that these are just samples of arguments that people use when discussing SS. What you did is just intellectually dishonest or just plain ignorant, I'm sorry to say.

        I'm sure you're a lovely person but the whole diary and most of the comments are absolutely ridiculous - most people haven't checked the website and some that have (including you) misrepresent it completely. We're supposed to be a reality-based community and stuff like this, painting something to be a sinister right-wing conspiracy when it's not, is counterproductive and plain dumb. Let's be real people.

    •  but (0+ / 0-)

      the fact that Krugman (and Keynes) represent economic centrism, does not make it OK to ignore them.

      It's been a hundred years, isn't it time we stopped blaming Captain Smith for sinking the Titanic?

      by happymisanthropy on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:25:21 PM PST

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    •  I have a copy. I couldn't get through it. (0+ / 0-)

      Same with Stiglitz.

      America—We built that!

      by Mokurai on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 09:44:57 AM PST

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