Klagge's Econ

2018-19 Course Syllabus

Senior Economics

Course Syllabus and Cover Sheet

Mr. Klagge

                Economics—“yuck!!”  So goes the sentiment of many a typical student (and adult, for that matter—the discipline itself has been labeled the “dismal science).”  However, economic understanding and economic thinking equates with advantage—money motivates-- and I’m guessing all of you relate well to the dollar sign ($$$$$$$$$$$$). Economics, at its most basic, deals with efficiency and maximizing utility, so in that respect, may you all come to think more like an economist.

                This course is practical—it has the potential to “pay you back!!”  I hope that heightens your interest and that you take the personal finance lessons with you.  It’s too bad if this remains nothing more than a necessary and required hoop on the road to graduation.

                I want to work with you and really make this your class, not mine.  What we do must be clearly relevant and you need to insure that it is.  I look forward to learning from you and you can look forward to learning about everything from the coming revolution (what?) to the beauty of Wal-Mart.  I hope this class gets us all thinking (about who we are, what the world looks like/should look like, and what, if anything, it all might mean – and, just where does economics sit within all that??).  Our economy is more global, more interesting than ever (bank bailout, stimulus scramble), and the questions we pursue and the “connections” you make will give the course its meaning.  If the class proves dry, I’m blaming you.

               

Rules

 

                I assume all of you are familiar with the various do’s and don’ts of classroom behavior.  I’ll expect the same.  Remember, it’s your ability to speak freely and listen to one another that will greatly determine the effectiveness of the course.

 

                A few expectations:

 

1)       Be on time (tardies - and absences - will eat your daily work and participation grade).

-- “the cottage” is no excuse

 

2)       Be prepared (for class) and work (in class).

n  You should have a notebook and folder for this class.  You should use/experiment with Cornell notes.  Hopefully, you’re somewhat familiar with this technique (social studies!).

 

3)       Don’t talk when someone else has the floor—it’s rude.

 

4)       Be reasonable and use common sense.

 -- Treat one another with respect and courtesy— I’ll do the same.

 

5)       Water only in the classroom— no food or drink.

 

6)     No cell phones--  I will take participation points away if I see them.

 

If I have a problem with something, I’ll let you know.  If things continue, expect to be called on it.  In that situation, your grade may be reduced and I'll be talking to someone on the home front.

 

 

      In the immortal words of John Wooden:  “Discipline yourself and others won’t have to”

 

 

 

                No late work will be accepted.                                                        No extra (“instead of”) credit.

                 (it’s a no-go on the outside)

 

 

How the Course will be Taught

 

                The course will include all of the following: lecture, class discussion/debate, individualized readings, small and large group projects, individual work and analysis, and a variety of assessments and tests-- hopefully, it will provide enough of a blend that we accomplish much.  There will also be included a real practical unit in personal finance—saving and investing (buying and selling stock/mutual funds), making a major purchase (i.e. – a house), or dealing with our ever-present friends insurance and tax.

 

Subject Matter

 

                The first unit will cover introductory economics, such as the scarcity of economic resources and the tradeoffs that must be made because of those limitations. We then explore who makes decisions within differing economic systems before addressing major microeconomic concepts such as supply and demand; and the different market structures we find in America today.  We’ll look at personal finance, including how individuals can make investments in business and government, and how those investments can be beneficial for all involved.  We will then start looking at the business cycle, a macroeconomic concept.  We’ll look at what it is, how it works and the factors that affect it.  Concepts like leading indicators will be discussed along with monetary and fiscal policy and international trade (a la the WTO mess in Seattle). By the end of the semester, you’ll better understand how the cost of goods, investments, taxes, interest rates, and globalization color and affect our lives and those of the other six billion who inhabit the planet.

 

Grades

 

Your grade will consist of a percentage of total points based on the following: assessments, writing assignments, special projects, daily work and participation.

 

Assessments – You will be given a test or assessment in conjunction with each unit.  The format will vary—tests will generally have you tackling some essay and perhaps grabbing the calculator— yippie!!  Whatever the case, you will be given advance notice.  The assessments will be scored on a 90% = A, 80% = B, 70% = C, 60% = D basis.

Writing Assignments – You will be expected to write in conjunction with this class, so welcome and enjoy it.  You will be asked to hand in a paper once or twice a quarter and do some reflective work here and there.  Don’t be taken aback—content will be most important.  I want you to write as freely as you speak (it’s really the same thing)-- open up and enjoy it; there’s a certain immortality to written expression (—think about it).

Special Projects – You will be completing a few projects—individually, within groups and perhaps as a class. Hopefully, these things will be enjoyable and won’t cause too much pain. In any case, they will be best explained when the time comes.

Daily Work – Anything that’s completed in class, or for class, will factor into this grade.  Don’t expect too much in the way of homework busywork, everything else (papers, projects, preparation for tests) should keep you plenty busy-- enjoy.

Participation – This is the purely subjective portion of your grade.  Much of what we do will involve dialogue and discussion, and I would like to see you all involved.  Your contributions, effort and involvement relative to your personality are what I will attempt to measure.

                If you have any questions, feel free to ask.  I will try to update your grades weekly.

 

                                                   Have fun in this class and good luck!!

 

Tentative Lesson Plans:

LT = "Learning Target(s)"  [these are written from the student perspective and should be read before the bell rings everyday-- thank you] 

LT: I/we will be able to appreciate how competition, choices, and trade-offs drive economic thinking.  Pre-Quiz; 'Choices and Trade-Offs'; growing discipline!! 

LT: I/we will be introduced to the idea of 'human capital,' but more importantly understand how that impacts the future.  Reading: "Competition" from Esquire.  Factors of Production [NOTES] and Human Capital-- L, L, C, and E; Created Equal... but, we don't stay that way (employability); F of P Contest (hand out-- peaches to the winners!!!)

LT: I/we will understand the components of production and be smart and creative in out-doing our classmates/competitors.  Factors of Production (a contest... 'brainstorm,' concept drawings, and divisions of labor; marketing effort) - An Entrepreneurial Effort (Shark Tank @ TV)...

LT: I (we) will 'sell' our ideas to classmates and consider whether the educational system is efficiently preparing enough students for the work force, jobs that are or will be in demand...  Pitch Time (and winners)-- technology (STEM) and the future... 'Humans Need Not Apply' (video clip); book: The Case Against Education by Bryan Caplan vs. THE GRAPHS and/or the 'paideia' principle...  or, "Greed" (from Stossel and ABC News);

LT: I (we) will understand how factors of production choices impact economic growth both at the level of the firm (micro) and at the level of the whole country (macro).  Production Possibilities Curve and Economic Growth [Guns v Butter]; book look-- our old textbooks: a good economic decision?  NOTES: Capitalism (incentive and innovation) and other Economic Systems... reading: "Obituary: The Soviet Union" (Kent); NOTES-to-Samuelson's quote and economic goals (analysis)

LT: We will appreciate how data/numbers/math can help us answer interesting questions involving choices and trade-offs (aka - Econ's hot on campuses and at the bookstore).  "Freakonomics" from ABC's 20/20 (w/ the U of Chicago's Steven Levitt) 

LT: We will generate good economic research questions based on table curiosity and interests (thinking quantitatively).  Generating economic questions... !! (test prep... w/ note-card; an incentive for effort/efficiency) 

LT: We will review Unit I with an emphasis on both creativity and relevance.  Reading: 'What Happened to Innovation' (or 'The of America,' Buffet); Creative Review... filling the grid-- 8 boxes (w/ a quantitative square)/be able to themes- follow-up discussion/clarification

Test... conventional or w/ questions and research proposal-- test hybrid... (choices and trade-offs). 

LT: We will understand saving and investment basics and why it matters.  Saving and Investment 101 (time value of money) - NOTES; How the Market Works.com (contest for banana bread!!)

LT: We will compete and have reason to do so.  How the Market Works - class contest (banana bread!!) 

LT: We will self-reflect on our strengths/employability and peer into the labor future...  Human Capital (part II... resume, etc); ...the future of labor (the humanities v STEM)

LT: We'll come to better understand to necessary aspects of the future.  Insurance and Mortgages 

Lab Day: Polonius-to-Laertes... (seeking out some advice); Personal Finance Quiz (looking at an old ghost-- a previous year's questions...)

LT: We will look at Health and Wellness as assets and then move into a practical, lab effort to 'create' demand schedules.  Invest in Health (exercise as 'the fountain of youth'); optimizing wellness- to - 'AUCTION DAY' (a lab...)

LT: We will explore the dangers of debt and move into a glance at an old quiz to cement some major personal finance understandings.  avoid Consumer Credit Debt; Personal Finance Quiz

LT: We will look at 'utility' and diminishing marginal utility with volunteers and real-time participation.  diminishing marginal utility (lab)-- Animal Crackers 

LT: Tom and Dave Gardner take us through some of the dos and don'ts of investment.  The Motley Fools-- 'Life-Changin' Special... 

LT: We will be involved in a graphing party--   supply shocks: a case study (CNN special-- 'We've been Warned'); shifting supply and demand irrespective of price

LT: We will again be artistic and graph and then go 'throwback' and use Economics USA to shed light on issues that impact us in our own backyard.  price floors and ceilings; Economic USA supply/demand (water, oil-- issues we understand in NorCo)-- 

LT: We will use real-world examples to connect to the graphs.  **price floors and ceilings; look at an old test for understanding... 

LT: We will use local businesses and our experience as a basis for understanding Unit 2 themes.  -- U2 in Loveland (supply, demand, and price - observation, examples) 

LT: We will use an old Standard Amoco cartoon to review and draw 3 graphs (and ID some progress made)... 'The Kingdom of Mocha' -- w/ 3 graphs...

LT: We will learn profits related to revenue and costs by 'doing.'  Marshmallow Tower Lab: production costs-- marshmallows and toothpicks

LT: We will draw/design to differentiate (four square) between the four market structures we see in Econ.   (allocative efficiency and deadweight loss); perfect competition/monopolistic competition v oligopoly/ monopoly

LT: We will use math and a real-world application to further understand the dynamic nature of Econ and the trade-offs and costs associated w/ it.  -- Rate of Return equations; Wal-Mart on PBS (video clip)-- supply and price (and the challenge of Amazon)... take-home responses. 

LT: We will look at 'game theory,' engage in some prisoners' dilemma to understand... **oligopoly (game theory and the 'Nash' equilibrium) and monopoly 

Test (follow-up)-- atypical; Q and A-style (w/ partners)...

the business cycle and GDP-- what we're talking about, what we're after

revisiting factors of production and the production possibilities curve-- growth!!

Expert Papers (a look at topics)

draft topics

Lab Dash (paper research) 

banks and banking (understanding fractional reserve and its multiplying effect)

Fed Cube (counter-cyclical responses and its 'tools')

Fiscal Policy-- budgetary calculus (yes/no-- voting our options) 

Comparative Advantage Olympics (lab design...); choose seekers 

the national debt, a reading (from The Week)-- ; peer review 

seekers - Budget reveal... 

a Balanced Budget Amendment (Socratic Seminar...)

Discrimination ('True Colors' Experiment) and... Opportunity Atlas-- 

'The Battle of Ideas'-- Commanding Heights PBS; the 'Classical School' vs. the Keynesians 

Fiscal Policy revisited... (history and)

globalization and trade (NAFTA, CAFTA, do we have 'ta?)

Beans, Noodles, and Corn-- market and currency lab (fixed vs. float)

'The Meltdown' 

review (w/ questions...)

Test-- Macroeconomics!

finish day-- papers (peer review, etc)

Papers due-- Coffeehouse discussion

discuss papers II

Coffeehouse III 

discuss papers IV 

Q and A-- Economics at the next level (going forward), current Qs & 88% (those that have less than 100K saved for retirement-- scary!!)

Final Exam. 

Stock Challenge

Missing...

Economics Pre-Quiz

1. Everything we do, we do in self-interest.

2. Multi-million dollar athletes who get paid to play a game are overpaid-- especially those who sit the bench or are past their prime.

3. If an incentive changes (i.e. - a $5,000 tax cut or $50 a day from your instructor for attending Econ), behavior changes.

4. When planning for the future, more school is always the best choice.

5. Americans are too competitive.

... 

Know and Be Able To Sheets-- KBATs


Economics – Unit I (Economic Thinking)

Know

scarcity                                                            Adam Smith (Wealth of Nations)

opportunity cost                                              the ‘invisible hand’

 money (function of…)                                        self-interest

efficiency/productivity                                     competition

barter                                                               technology (and efficiency…)

self-sufficiency                                               infrastructure

interdependence                                              authoritarian v democratic socialism

specialization                                                   production possibilities curve                        

utility                                                               feudalism/manorialism

capital goods                                                   private property v state owned

market economy/capitalism                             bioregionalism

command economy                                         factors of production

traditional economy                                        the circular flow model

wants v needs                                                 economic goals

R and D                                                          choices/ ‘trade-offs’

standard of living                                            GDP v HDI v GNH

 

Be Able To

 

  • Compare economic systems and highlight the strengths of capitalism— pay particular attention to competition and the idea of incentive(s).

 

  • Explain how the goals of efficiency and stability relate to economic growth.

 

  • Discuss how infrastructure and R & D (investment in) relate to the production possibilities curve and future economic success/growth.

 

  • Explain what’s meant by factors of production and what becomes necessary if a country is lacking in natural resources (…think Japan).

 

  • Discuss how credit seems to momentarily fly in the face of ‘opportunity cost.’

 

  • Explain economies of scale and how the concept relates to efficiency and specialization.

 

  • Discuss self-interest and how it relates to the phrase ‘greed is good’ or what Milton Friedman called the ‘power of the market.’

 Economics - Unit II (Personal Finance)

Know:

investments                                          insurance                                               15 v 30-year mortgages

stocks                                                     blue chips                                                    bonds

the IPO                                                  dividend                                               venture capitalists

mutual funds                                        index funds                                           term v whole insurance

the Millionaire Next Door                  thrift, frugality                                      IRS (& keeping folks honest)

tax sheltering                                        budgeting                                              Roth v traditional IRA

gross v net pay                                     disposable income                               consumer credit debt

financial planners                                                time value of money                          rate of return equation

saving (lack of…)                                education (earning potential)            disposable income

commercial bank                                                credit union                                           savings and loan

 

Be Able To:

 

  • Figure rate of return equations: (net profit over initial investment).

 

  • Describe what insurance is and the difference between ‘term’ and ‘whole’ life.

 

  • Describe how to think about and plan for retirement—methodology, options, etc.

 

  • Recognize how banks and the consumer credit industry targets young people and the danger of consumer credit debt-- how recklessness can ruin one’s credit rating and the negative long-term impact of that.

 Economics - Unit III (Demand, Supply, Price, and Market Structure) 

Know

Subsidy                                                                 diminishing returns

Regulation                                                             law of supply

Externality/market failure                                     law of demand

Rationing                                                              SISTER/STORES (determinants)

Laissez-faire                                                          price controls (floor/ceiling)       

Trust                                                                      equilibrium price

Collusion                                                               minimum wage

Cartel                                                                    price controls: floors and ceilings

Monopoly                                                              perfect competition

Oligopoly                                                              monopolistic (‘Main St.’) competition

Depreciation                                                          price war

Overhead                                                              black market(s)

Marginal cost(s)                                                    economies of scale

Income effect                                                        types of monopoly

Substitute good                                                     elastic vs. inelastic response

Complementary good                                           utility/utils

 

Be Able To

 

  • Explain the ‘Laws of Supply and Demand,’ and know how to graph shifts inward and outward (based on non-price determinants), and how those changes impact price.

 

  • Discuss why price is not seen as a value-laden term for most economics— nothing being over-or-under-priced, people not being over-or-underpaid (remember, as consumers, we ‘vote with dollars’)...

 

  • Explain what is meant by elasticity— and know what can make a good or service more or less elastic in its response to a price change.

 

  • Discuss why policy makers might be tempted to impose a price floor or price ceiling, and explain why most economists don’t like them.

 

  • Explain why a monopoly isn’t considered the healthiest option in a free market, and know the different types of monopolies that exist.

 

Economics – Units IV and V (Macro)

GDP and The Business Cycle—Unemployment and Inflation

The Role of Government: Monetary and Fiscal Policy/Globalization and Trade 

Know -

the business cycle                                            the Federal Reserve

   - Contraction                                                     - why created…

   - Trough                                                           - its most important functions

   - Expansion                                                     - its three main tools (monetary policy)

   - Peak                                                           monetary policy

Consumer Price Index                                        - easy vs. tight money policy

inflation                                                           benefits received principle of taxation

   - demand pull v cost push                             fiscal policy

GDP                                                                    - taxes, (revenue v spending)

   - how it’s measured                                              -- progressive v flat…

characteristics of money                                              excise taxes

functions of money                                         tariffs

fiat money                                                       ‘free trade’

the money supply                                            absolute v comparative advantage

interest rates                                                     supply-side economics (Reagan)

the Classical v Keynesian view                                    stimulus (FDR’s ‘New Deal, etc)

laissez-faire                                                     Social Security/Medicare

   - privatization                                                              - transfer payments; ‘entitlements’

   - deregulation                                                            deficits v debt

prime rate (interest)                                          trade deficits v ‘protectionist policy’

‘real’ v nominal measures…                            embargo

aggregate demand                                            types of unemployment

recession                                                          the reserve requirement

globalization                                                   open market operations

 

Be Able To

 

  • Discuss the role of the Fed relative to the business cycle and the three main tools they used to carry it out

 

  • Explain the arguments for and against supply-side economics and government stimulus (Keynesianism) in response to recession.

 

  • Discuss the pros and cons of government regulation (i.e. – minimum wage laws, environmental protection, occupational safety, etc).

 

  • Explain the ‘cycle of poverty’ that exists in LDCs—what remedies would Milton Friedman and other ‘Chicago School’ adherents prescribe?  most NGOs?  Muhammad Yunus?

 

 

  • Discuss the workings of fractional reserve banking and its multiplying effect (identify periods of credit expansion and credit contraction in U.S. history).

 

  • Explain the difference between absolute and comparative advantage— and, the connection that has to globalization and trade.

Intro Notes (Ch 1)

Chapter 1 – Basic Econ:  ‘Think Different" 

Economics concerns itself with the most efficient/effective way to allocate limited resources.

          Micro: its “parts” (supply/demand);   Macro: the “whole” (business cycle)

Scarcity refers to the perpetual state describing limited resources attempting to address people’s unlimited wants.

          “ONLY SO MUCH…” (of everything); scarcity is universal & affects everyone.

All of this is reflected in these basic economic questions: What to produce?  How to produce it? (and, for whom?)…

-         in a market system, we “vote with dollars”!!

                                                          “CHOICES AND TRADE-OFFS!!” - cost/benefit analysis...

          Factors of Production

Land – natural resources and the like

Labor – human capital, which includes level of education and skills

Capital – monetary assets  and the “stuff” of production (factories, capital equipment, etc. - goods to make goods)

     -- and, entrepreneurship – the vision thing (how’s it all come together?), ideas/innovation/risk-taking...

Productivity counts; technology, divisions of labor and specialization (i.e. – the assembly line; education/human productivity; technology and productive machinery; etc..

                   -- FOR THE ECONOMIST, ALL 'MEN' ARE NOT  EQUAL— skill, expertise, and ability matter.

 

Opportunity cost – “trade offs” [economic thinking] what is given up/foregone in deciding to do or to buy whatever the choice (i.e. – lunch or gasoline, sleep or study, buy or save).

EXPERT PAPER

Economics

“The Expert Paper” – LDC model

 

            After researching an economic topic of your choosing and looking at a least five sources of research, you are to craft an informative essay (hopefully something you can get fully interested in).  A list of possible topics follows (and, yes, you can go “off the board” just as long as you clear things ahead of time).  Be sure to develop an overall take/thesis which details your understanding of the issue.  We will emphasize proper thesis construction.  Be sure to support your position with examples, data, quotes from “talking head” experts, etc.  This should NOT be a simple encyclopedic report—you must analyze and evaluate—why should a classmate care?  What have you done?  What’s your contribution?  The paper should be a minimum of FIVE pages (double spaced) and include a two page appendix (which will be in addition to the five pages of text).  Feel free to include any visual, graphical information, tables, photos, or items that would otherwise enhance your presentation.

 

A quick blurb on writing (take it or leave it):

 

Make Writing Fun - (and recognize the immortality of the pen) – my belief is that people

                                                                                    who find writing boring, write

boring (at least that’s what Mrs. Stofferan told me back in 9th Grade J).

 

Clever Introduction - (get the reader interested, excited, thinking, and on-board) – read

                                                                                    Ed Quillen’s 2/22/05 Denver Post

                                                                                    essay entitled, “To Write Like

                                                                                    Hunter S” to get the full point.

 

“Do Something!” - very important; put your creativity, analysis, insight and evaluation on paper. Don’t just regurgitate something—find it, and drop it down—you’ve done nothing in that case, (and repackaging is boring no doubt).

 

Cite Your Sources - USE ENDNOTES!!  We had trouble with this on the “systems paper--” don’t leave points on the table this time around.  The endnotes should appear at the end of sentences or paragraphs when you need to indicate that you’ve drawn upon the ideas of others, (Mankiw, 2007), for example.  You should also have an alphabetized bibliography or works cited at the end of your paper, so the reader can link certain bits of information to a particular source.  Please don’t view this as a burden.  It takes little time and provides the opportunity to pass credit to those that deserve it—(who knows, someday you might be on the other end of a citation…).

 

Enjoy the process - come up with a new mental metaphor for writing— painting with ideas, playing chess with words, compiling a case/competing, whatever; just don’t leave it a dry, necessary, report-ish task—yuck!!

 

The Rubric (120 points)—  the paper portion

 

30 points – purpose and point: have you done something?  Have you analyzed and evaluated the topic at hand, and supplied the necessary support?  Is your thesis statement underlined?

  

20 points – Intro: did you supply a clever, creative and engaging one?  Did you grab the reader’s attention and let them know what’s coming (good, clean thesis statement—probably in paragraph two…)?  Is there a conclusion paragraph?

 

20 points – Endnotes and Works Cited!!!: Those things must be there!! (must have at

                                least five sources)

 

15 – Creativity and understanding of topic: Do you have a handle on things and avoid any misrepresentation…

 

15 points – look and feel: does your paper have flow?  Is it clean and well-written (have somebody else proof-read your paper and give you feedback)?

 

20 points – Length Requirement/ Apparent Effort— thorough/original, etc 

The “Discussion Piece”:

In addition, we will discuss these topics, “coffeehouse”-style, in coming weeks.  You will be required to facilitate when your topic comes up.  We will spend about five-to-ten minutes per topic and will sign up for “discussion dates” as we get closer to the actual due date for the papers.  When it’s your turn to present, you must be here— no absences, otherwise you will lose your points.  You want to get us thinking and leave us with a sense of understanding and/or appreciation for what you took the time to write about.  This has been real enjoyable in the past and should prove insightful again.

The rubric (30 points – “discussion”) 

10 points – ability to provide background and understanding

10 points – your grasp of the entirety or gist of the topic-- sides/elements, etc.

10 points – your thesis, conclusions, and ability to take questions and provide for discussion

Possible Topics:

1)      ) Unemployment: at what point does it become a problem?  How do you fix it—tax cuts (supply side) or a targeted stimulus package, spending (a “New Dealish” approach)?

 

2)      Inflation: The power of (Germany between the wars, or Mexico in the ‘70s and 80s)—did those lessons warrant both the post—WWII Marshall Plan, or the mid-‘90s bailout in Mexico?

 

3)      Major League Baseball: Its structure with comparatively less revenue sharing as compared to that of the NFL (i.e. – a microcosm; baseball as the USA as compared to, say, pro football as Sweden—thoughts?).

 

4)      John Maynard Keynes: Time magazine dubbed him “economist of the Century”—a valid choice— why or why not?

 

5)      The “battle lines” within the discipline of Economics/macroeconomics—(i.e. - Paul Samuelson, a neo-Keynesian, Harvard/MIT-type vs. Robert Lucas, Thomas Sargent and Robert Barro, neo-classical, neo-liberal, or “Chicago School” folks).

 

6)      The Fed and (Alan Greenspan or Ben Bernanke, previous) Janet Yellen at the helm: too much power?  What does the Fed Chair do?  Do we need a Fed audit?  (what does Ron Paul say??)

 

7)  The Gender Gap: Wage and Income in the United States (discrimination or are other factors at work here...?)    

 

8)      Reaganomics: Did it work?  (his tax cuts, etc.-- 'voodoo economics' v 49 states in '84-- would indicate a 'yes')

 

9)      The Nixon Shocks: Should he have taken us off the gold standard (FDR did it temporarily) or instituted wage and price controls in the early ‘70s?

 

10)  The National Debt: 21.67 trillion and counting…  Is that too much?  Trump's tax cut...?  What types of problems might be caused?  Do we need a Balanced Budget Amendment?

 

11)  Bankruptcy law: Are we too easy (hard) on those who scrape their financial faces?

 

12)  The Trade Deficit (i.e. – our imbalance w/ China): When does it become too much?  Has it become such?  Should we be“buying American?”  [Trump and trade policy...soybeans, etc.]

 

13)  Government bailouts: Chrysler in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s, the airlines post-9/11, or the current discussion involving financial houses torched by the mortgage meltdown—should the gov’t step in?  (yes, no, maybe…)

 

14)  Is economic growth always desirable: yes or no (the case for sustainable living perhaps—i.e. - Gore’s Inconvenient Truth)—looking at Bhutan and Gross National Happiness... (quality of life v 'quantity' of life calculus)

 

15)  The Japanese 'growth miracle' (1960-1990)—my senior Econ class was in large part a discussion of the sizzling economy in Japan—why did the Japanese economy hit a wall of marshmallow in the early ‘90s?  what happened (demographics and...)?  Lessons?

 

16)  The Financial Crisis of 2008 and Great Recession of ’09—the bank bailout—TARP ($700 billion)?; the ’09 Stimulus ($787 billion)—warranted?  too much?  too little?  (a case study in the ‘Keynesian response’)

 

17)  The 10/31/01 Reporter-Herald editorial piece written by John Hurst pertaining to the proposed mill-levy override for Thompson R2-J employees (or this year's 5A/5B)-- salary/money’s place within the quality education equation?  -- or, Educational Reform and/or the public v private debate?

 

18)  Subsidizing renewable energy (wind, solar and the like; Gov Ritter’s “Climate Action Plan” for example)—yes, no?  [Solyndra??  Denmark??—questions/ answers…] vs. fossil fuel and jobs, the market...

 

19)  War and a tax cut: was this an unattainable place in the guns/butter, production possibilities curve, or the necessary path of least resistance in light of a lackluster economy—perhaps both?  thoughts?  (George W. Bush and surplus-to-deficits)

 

20)  Microsoft/Amazon: a monopoly?  (a late '90s case study-- two decisions in federal court)

 

21)  Wal-Mart: will its amazing growth, from 1980-2005, years repeat itself in the form of Amazon?

 

22)  Agricultural Policy: a sub-lesson in economics and politics—do you agree with where we are at in terms of subsidies? What are developing nations saying?  The most recent farm bill and upcoming proposals in Congress…

 

23)  Unions: good, bad?  (yesterday’s news… a “union museum,” no longer relevant-- (collective bargaining and the Courts, etc)

 

24)  Immigration (both illegal v legal): does it help or hinder?  where's the economic impact??  (again, what says Trump?]

 

25)  Globalization and international trade (trade is good!!)—agree, disagree?  What was going on (Dec. '99) with all the chaos in the streets of Seattle protesting the WTO?  What's the future hold...('New World (border-less) Order'?

 

26)  Income inequality (First/Third World, Developed/Developing—LDCs, or within the United States): a problem?  Any fixes?

 

27)  The former Soviet UnionRussia: charting the water in a free market environment (“shock therapy”), organized crime as an inhibitor to growth, currency instability, etc..—U.S. aid (lots of possibilities here…)/Putin and…

 

28)  Subsidizing corporations for research and development: if you were a Congressperson, would you vote in favor of a bill to provide 10-to-20 cents on the dollar in federal matching funds to companies and corporations that invest beyond a certain profit threshold (could by a sliding scale depending on the industry), say, 15% (give or take depending on what would be necessary in terms of addition innovation/R & D?

 

29)  Social Security and tax breaks/tax credits for retirement savings and investment: would you expand tax sheltering options?  Would you privatize Social Security?  [long-term solvency, worker-to-retiree ratios, etc]

 

30)  The 2008 Financial Meltdown and TARP Bailout—was the $700 billion government bailout warranted? What went on here?  (what may have happened without it…??)-- looking specifically at banks: Is too big to fail reasonable?

 

31)  Responding to the Depression: a critical analysis of FDR’s economic policy—did his measures help?  (the Austrian School might answer with an emphatic, “No!”)

 

32)  Is communism/Marxism dead?  Yes, no? (did Stalin co-opt the revolution, etc.?)  Leftist activity today... vs. two Germanys, two Koreas— case studies and game over.

 

33)  The business cycle and economic growth in the 20th Century—usually exhibits A and B in an argument for the stock market and stock market investment.  Will the market continue to grow like it did over the past 100 years?  Is a depression, a la the 1930s, no longer possible (how does '08/09 play in)?

 

34)  Flat or graduated income tax: which is more fair?

 

35)  Lost Tribes, Lost Knowledge: The disappearance of tribal/primal cultures and languages: a problem?  Any resolution? [Time article Sept 1991]

 

36)  Bill Clinton/Donald Trump: deft economic master, or simply in the right place at the right time?  Does the guy deserve any credit for the late-‘90s boom?  Why or why not?

 

37)  LBJ and his 'war on poverty': pie-in-the-sky idealism or worth a shot even today?  (what worked, what didn't)

 

38)  The cycle of poverty in LDCs (Least Developed or “third world” countries)—UN development programs (via OECD countries and the World Bank) and groups like the Peace Corps, other NGOs—are they making a difference?  how much?

 

39)  The EEC and the European Union—how beneficial economically?  (and the coinciding political controversies/current debt crisis… or, Brexit)-- peace prize? ...further disintegration?

 

40)  MNCs (multi-national corporations)—capital creating, lift-countries out of poverty boons, or profit-grabbing, labor-exploiting vultures?  (or, somewhere in-between...)

 

41)  AmericaLand of Opportunity: larger part myth or reality?  How easy/difficult is it to “make it”/climb the socioeconomic ladder? 

 

42)  Educational policy/approach: do we educate everybody the same for too long in this country-- what do you make of the school-to-work movement v liberal arts/paideia approach?  Vouchers and/or a public school “monopoly”… or can it be argued that public education has been the “great equalizer?”  Accountability, tenure, etc…

 

43)  Child Labor—how prevalent?  What can be done to end it?  Should it be ended?  Can one purchase an inexpensive, foreign-made good without thought of the possibility of child labor?  What’s reality here?

 

44)  Differentiating between Republican and Democratic economic policy—how do the parties differ in their approach/priorities?  Does the election of Trump mean any realignment?

 

45)  The Chiapas of the Yucatan region of southern Mexico: a clash of culture and economic modality?  Who is/are subcomandante Marcos/the Zapatistas?  thoughts?

 

46)  In praise of the “robber barons”—is it time to re-think the Gilded Age-- are Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt and Morgan absolute heroes as economic philosopher, David Kelly, would suggest?

 

47)  Mother Theresa vs. Michael Milken—more Kelly... (who did more for humanity?)

 

48)  Evolutionary psychology and “mismatch theory”—do you agree with its premise that we may not be suited for (genetically hardwired for) our modern mode of existence?  Has our economic progress “outpaced” our ability to adapt socially?  What do you think?

 

49)  The regulatory agencies—more friend or foe?  Where the balance today?  Have we taken things too far?  -- a quick catalog and report card for the major players: the FDA, OSHA, and the EPA?

 

50)  Health Care/Medicare and their place within the federal budget and/or the U.S. economy: do we have the system we want?  (Michael Moore’s “Sicko” vs. John Stossel’s 20/20 special “Sick in America: Whose Body is it Anyway?”)  — Obamacare-- how quick a repeal?  -- a completely free market vs. single-payer?  What’s best? 

 

51)  The Green Bay Packers—how do they exist?  (remember, there’s no pro football in Los Angeles, the nation’s 2ndlargest market)—an economist would marvel at this.  What’s the story?

 

52)  Enron and/or Worldcom—the corporate meltdowns/scandals of ‘01/’02—what was going on?  Were the problems solved?

 

53)  Piracy-type issues: (domestic v international)— how different are those discussions and how do we protect intellectual property?  Is anyone really losing in all this?

 

54)  Outsourcing of jobs: a problem?  (yes, no, maybe); Loveland and H-P??…

 

55)  Protectionist trade policy: arguments for and against… NAFTA, the TPP??

 

56)  Norway and Sweden—they been one and top-five in recent UN Human Development Index reports (the best countries in which to live)—what factors into the UN’s equation and what can be said of these Scandinavian states?

 

57)  21st Century slavery (and human trafficking): how prevalent, how problematic?? (Nat’l Geographic, Sept ’03)…

 

58)  Zimbabwe’s economic upheaval (an absolute 'train wreck'): again, Nat’l Geog (Aug. ’03) and recent articles in Time, etc…

 

59)  “Affluenza” an exploration of a made-for-PBS series (and book) about the American consumer culture— too much consumerism… are we on the verge of a 'neo-Romantic' movement?

 

60)  Economic Growth in India and China—a glimpse at economic life in the world’s most populous countries; development, growth v environment calculus…

 

61)  War and “economic benefactors”/military industrial complex—myth, reality, what?  -- can/should the defense budget be cut?

 

62)  Colorado’s state budget and higher education (from near 20% of the total -to- about 8%)— why? thoughts? [Amendment 23, Referendum C, etc…]

 

63)  Regional Economic Development: What’s up with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade?  What do those guys do and what have been some recent accomplishments?

 

64)  Eminent Domain and economic development—where’s the fault line and is it Constitutional?  Kelo v City of New London

 

65)  Hurricane Katrina (and race) and economic re-development: (“When the Levees Broke” – Spike Lee’s film) …fair criticisms—yes, no, maybe…??  Re-development petri dish…

 

66)  Muhammad Yunus: Bangladeshi banker/economist and Nobel prize-winner—his system of microcredit and his vision of a “poverty museum…”

 

66.5) The Carter presidency—a one-term wonder: a case study in the power of economics (and economic woe) to bring about political change [and/or energy policy/crisis]. 

 

67)  David Korten’s book When Corporations Rule the World – review and analysis

 

68)  either Eric Schlosser book: Fast Food Nation or Reefer Madness – review and analysis (CO's Amendment 64...)

 

69)  Thomas Friedman’s The Lexus and the Olive Tree or The World is Flat – review and analysis; Hot, Flat, and Crowded

 

70)  Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics – review and analysis (the follow-up - Superfreakonomics)

 

71)  T.R. Reid’s The United States of Europe – review and analysis (or, The Healing of America...)

 

72)  Joseph Stiglitz’ Globalization and its Discontents – review and analysis

 

73)  Peter Peterson’s Running on Empty – review and analysis

 

74)  Jeffrey Sachs’ The End of Poverty – review and analysis (Time excerpt 3/14/05)

 

75)  Franklin Foer’s How Soccer Explains the World – review and analysis

 

76)   John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hit Man – review and analysis

 

77)  Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism – review and analysis

 

78)  David Harsanyi’s Nanny State – review and analysis

 

79)  Bill McKibben’s Deep Economy – review and analysis

 

80)  Neal Boortz’ The Fair Tax Book – review and analysis

 

81)  David Warsh’s Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations – review and analysis

 

82)  Edward Gresser’s Freedom From Want: American Liberalism and the Global Economy – review and analysis

 

83)  Simon Jenkins’ Thatcher & Sons – review and analysis

 

84)  Randal O’Toole’s The Best Laid Plans – review and analysis

 

85)  Gordon Cain’s Everybody Wins! – review and analysis  

 

86) Aftershock by Bob Wiedemer          ...(and the 'prepper' movement it’s helped inspire)

87) Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty (wealth and inequality trends…) 

 

88)  The Economic Stimulus Package of 2009—enough, etc/failures shortcomings??…

 

89) The Bear Stearns collapse and subsequent TARP bailout— what went on with this?

 

90) Economics of music... rights, methods, marketing, eras, etc…

 

91) What gives art such value?  (auctions, art heists... potential price(s) as sold on black market, etc)?  Loveland’s Sculpture Show, etc...

92) Minimum wage and minimum wage laws-- justified or unnecessary? 

93) The 'Yield Curve' as a "Recession Predictor": Gospel or...??? 

More books-- Zero to One by Peter Thiel, The Virgin Way-- Richard Branson, How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg, The Shifts and the Shocks by Martin Wolf, The Small Big by Steve Martin and Noah Goldstein, The End of Normal by James K. Galbraith, Billionaires by Darrell M. West, Crazy is a Compliment by Linda Rottenberg, This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein, …

 

 

  

Enjoy and Good Luck!!

 

 

REVIEW: Personal Finance, etc

Insurance-- protection against loss/risk management...

TAXES-- money collected from individuals/corporations by the gov't (property, sales, income, etc)

Gross pay = total salary/wages; 'net pay' = what's actually taken home (less taxes, withholding, etc) 

Credit allows a purchase sooner than otherwise possible; credit debt can be problematic and institutions target young people, 18-to-25 year-olds!!

Credit reports include-- records of late payment, a history of default, bankruptcy history, etc

a deductable is 'one's responsibility' prior to the insurance company's obligation-- a $2,000 bill or claim minus a a $500 deductable would result in a 1,500 payout from insurance (higher deductables = lower premiums)...

purchasing stock makes you a 'part owner' in a corporation; people are suddenly 'working for you...'  corporations are companies that have legal authority to operate and function as people...

Compounding = earning interest on interest already receive-- and creates exponential growth!!

diversification means to spread investments across several types of asset choices and/or sectors to minimize exposure and/or risk