Monday, October 29, 2012

Trick or Treat Teaching Moment

Halloween is here and why should we waste such a great teaching moment for younger Americans?

Our schools all too often fill our children's heads with liberal, progressive mush.  It occurs to me that we could teach them a few lessons about economics, capitalism and freedom using Snickers, Starbursts and Swizzlers.

How about a lesson on taxation?  When the children bring home their candy haul on Halloween night and spread it out on the family room floor, take 40% of it away before they get their hands on it.  They need to understand the burden of taxation.  They need to see first hand that when they work hard they also have a "partner" that wants to share in everything they work for-GOVERNMENT.  You need to explain to your child that their "partner" is always hungry.  It has an insatiable appetite for taxes  (and spending).

Pre-Tax Candy Haul

After-Tax Candy Haul

How about a lesson on the redistribution of wealth?  One of your children doggedly rings doorbells on two additional streets after your other child calls it quits because they are tired and cold.  As a result, they have 40 more pieces of candy in their bag when they get home.  When you see that they have more goodies, immediately tell them that it is not fair that they have more than their sibling.  They will invariably protest and say that they earned it by doing more than their sister.  You then tell them that they could never eat all of that candy by themselves anyway and they are just being selfish. What is really unfair is not giving their fair share.

For good measure you can also point out that they did not build the sidewalk they walked on, nor the streetlights they walked under or the houses they rang the doorbells at to get the candy.

How about a lesson on regulation that would make Mayor Bloomberg proud?  If your children happen to get one of those large Snickers bars instead of the little bite size ones prohibit them from eating it.  It is not healthy to take in all of those calories at one time so ban the large size and mandate that they limit themselves to small sizes.

King Size- Banned

Regular Size- Limited Availability

Enjoy the Fun Size!

On second thought, just let the children enjoy Halloween and their treats.  Forget the lessons and the teaching moments.

The sad truth is that the trick is really going to be on them when they realize that they are responsible for $16 trillion of debt.  Big Bird seems to be in hiding right now but Elmo tells it like it is to our kids.  The chart below compares per capita money income to national debt per capita.  Money income is what most people would consider money that they can spend-wages and salaries, interest, dividends, Social Security payments, welfare payments, disability income, etc.  It does non include capital gains, food stamps, withdrawals from bank deposits, employer contributions for health care from employers, etc.

Credit: Mark McHugh, Across the Street

Of course, if you look at the additions to debt over the last four years compared to the growth in total Gross Domestic Product you still get math that even a 5th grader knows does not compute.

Since President Obama has been in office the United States has borrowed $3 for every $1 in economic growth that has taken place.

                                                   2009                           2012                          

Federal Debt                           $10.6 trillion              $15.9 trillion         +$5.3 trillion

Gross Domestic Product         $13.9 trillion             $15.6 trillion         +$1.7 trillion 

Source: from Treasury Department and Bureau of Economic Analysis (thru Q2, 2012 for comparison purposes.

Enjoy Halloween and keep the kids safe.  A little chocolate makes everything better!