Jump$tart reports that only 19.5 percent of students say they are learning money-managing skills in school. Financial illiteracy has personal and national implications. It can leave the ignorant open to claims from politicians that have no basis in fact, as with the often-mentioned, but nonexistent, Social Security "trust fund" or the notion that there is only a fixed amount of wealth and if you make more than I, you must be punished with higher taxes to make it "fair."
Wealth and wealth-building are regarded as evil today. The media and cultural elites treat large corporations as evil, though corporations provide jobs for millions and send millions of dollars in taxes to government.
My Dad taught me basic economic virtues such as thrift, generosity (with my money, not the government's), self control, honesty and personal responsibility. Not many teach these things today, or we wouldn't have such enormous government budgets.
It is a sign of our collective economic ignorance that the president's proposal for cutting just 150 wasteful and unneeded programs (many more could be cut) is drawing fierce opposition from Democrats and interest groups. In Washington, it is easier to drive a stake through the heart of a blood-sucking vampire than it is to kill off a money-sucking and useless government program.
The principles of a free market work if properly applied. It is best to learn them early and practice them always. I would love to hear the president say, "Why don't you take care of yourself first and if all else fails, through no fault of your own, then come to government."
That won't happen because he would be labeled "insensitive" and "mean-spirited." Sometimes people need a kick in the pants to get them to do what they would be doing if government weren't there as a perpetual parent.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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