Political Cartoons & Charlie Hebdo

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January 18, 2015

Due to the number of posts on this blog that pertain to interpretation and analysis of political cartoons, I have been very interested in the cartoons that are coming out of the Charlie Hebdo killings.  Although not specifically tied to the UFR curriculum, since we encourage the use of political cartoons in the use of UFR, I thought I’d post some.

 

The political cartoons included in this blog are selected as tools to teach about public policy issues. Their inclusion does not in any way constitute an endorsement by Teachers College, Columbia University, of their point of view.

Political cartoons can be a powerful way to teach and talk about public policy issues in the classroom. They engaging, often funny, and they teach very complex ideas in a quick and intuitive way. We are so convinced of the value of political cartoons that, in addition to including them in many of our blogs, we feature posts that are all cartoons.

Using cartoons presents an opportunity to teach students media literacy, including the ability to detect point of view or bias. As a sequence, we strongly encourage students to study the cartoon carefully, analyze the specific context of the cartoon, and determine the cartoonist’s point of view. See the blog post of October 8, 2013 for a guide to using the political cartoons we have selected. The Library of Congress also has a a very useful Cartoon Analysis Guide.

 

Daryl Cagle, 2015

 

Daryl Cagle, 2015

 

Signe Wilkonson, 2015

 

View image on Twitter

Rob Tornoe, 2015

 

View image on Twitter

Tom Toles, 2015

 

 

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Modern Monetary Theory

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Harvard economist Greg Mankiw posted a link to the Vox blog regarding Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and his potential quest for the presidency in 2016.  He has hired as his lead economist UM-Kansas City economist Stephanie Kelton, who is a huge proponent of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), a left-leaning economic theory that rather goes against traditional economics.

MMT in part states that having budget surpluses – and in some cases, a balanced budget – is harmful to the economy because money is not being used by consumers.  If there is less cash in the hands of consumers, they are buying less, which means productivity drops along with the decrease in demand, which leads to higher unemployment and increases the chance for a recession.

I found this a fascinating article, and kind of brainstormed with myself about a few different things.  First, if Bernie Sanders were to become president, we could see a new realm of economic theory at the national level.  Second, how interesting to bring this into the classroom!  Students of economics have learned for years typical Keynesian or Neo-Keynesian economic theory, outlining what the federal government “needs” to do in order to maintain the proper balance of unemployment and inflation.  This would show a differing opinion, which always makes for excellent teaching.

Take students through the UFR Lesson 1.5 on Balancing the Federal Budget.  Then, students could research differing opinions such as Modern Monetary Theory.  Encourage them to determine which makes the most sense to them, and explain why they think it would work in our modern economy.

 

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2014 Year in Review Cartoons

Tagged: . | Category: Blog

January 7, 2015

The political cartoons included in this blog are selected as tools to teach about public policy issues. Their inclusion does not in any way constitute an endorsement by Teachers College, Columbia University, of their point of view.

Political cartoons can be a powerful way to teach and talk about public policy issues in the classroom. They engaging, often funny, and they teach very complex ideas in a quick and intuitive way. We are so convinced of the value of political cartoons that, in addition to including them in many of our blogs, we feature posts that are all cartoons.

Using cartoons presents an opportunity to teach students media literacy, including the ability to detect point of view or bias. As a sequence, we strongly encourage students to study the cartoon carefully, analyze the specific context of the cartoon, and determine the cartoonist’s point of view. See the blog post of October 8, 2013 for a guide to using the political cartoons we have selected. The Library of Congress also has a a very useful Cartoon Analysis Guide.

Walt Handelsman, 2014

Dan Wasserman, 2014

Scott Stanton, 2014

Steve Breen, 2014

Chan Lowe, 2014

Chan Lowe, 2014

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The Social Security debate in the House

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January 7, 2015

On the very first day back in session, the U.S. Congress has brought up the issue of Social Security, most specifically SS Disability and the projection of $0 reserves by the end of 2016.  The House has set a rule that the issue must be addressed before the reserves drop to zero, and that it may not be solved by raiding the retirement fund portion of Social Security.  Not meeting that deadline would mean a cut of almost 20% across the board for the 11 million Americans receiving Social Security Disability.

The larger issue of funding Social Security as Baby Boomers age has been looming for many years.  UFR Lesson 1.1 looks at just this question:  What costs and trade-offs are we willing to accept to ensure the benefits of income security to Social Security recipients?  Have students research current issues on Social Security and work through the focusing question.  There is so much information out there, how can you choose what is accurate and what is politics?  Students can wade through the information they find to determine not only where they stand on the issue, but also create potential answers to the question.  How can the Social Security issue be resolved?

 

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Russia, revisited

Tagged: , , . | Category: Blog

January 7, 2015

Revisiting the post I made on December 12 about the rapid decline of the ruble, mostly due to Russia’s dependence on oil prices, I found a really interesting blog post from an American living in Russia and his experiences with the decline of the value of the ruble.

Yael Levine is a writer living in Moscow, and talks about her experience with her own salary (paid in dollars) effectively rising as the ruble drops in value.  This could be a fantastic lesson for students on inflation and deflation.  Tying to a history lesson on the Weimar Republic as outlined in UFR, or to the lesson on the European debt crisis, could put a modern, real face to either issue.

A really interesting part to the blog, though, is her growing understanding that although she was getting comparatively “richer” with the collapse of the ruble, the people around her were suffering.  It’s a great look at income inequality in a different way; not from actual pay differentials, but from what happens with inflation/deflation and how the deflationary spiral can cause inequalities in many different ways.

I love it when you can find multiple lessons for students in one article!

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And oil keeps dropping… (political cartoons)

Tagged: . | Category: Blog

January 7, 2015

The political cartoons included in this blog are selected as tools to teach about public policy issues. Their inclusion does not in any way constitute an endorsement by Teachers College, Columbia University, of their point of view.

Political cartoons can be a powerful way to teach and talk about public policy issues in the classroom. They engaging, often funny, and they teach very complex ideas in a quick and intuitive way. We are so convinced of the value of political cartoons that, in addition to including them in many of our blogs, we feature posts that are all cartoons.

Using cartoons presents an opportunity to teach students media literacy, including the ability to detect point of view or bias. As a sequence, we strongly encourage students to study the cartoon carefully, analyze the specific context of the cartoon, and determine the cartoonist’s point of view. See the blog post of October 8, 2013 for a guide to using the political cartoons we have selected. The Library of Congress also has a a very useful Cartoon Analysis Guide.

 

158251 600 Cheap Oil and the stock market cartoons

Jimmy Marguilies, 2015

157667 600 Putin and oil prices cartoons

John Cole, 2015

 

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Russia’s Economy & Vladimir Putin – Political Cartoons

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December 20, 2014

The political cartoons included in this blog are selected as tools to teach about public policy issues. Their inclusion does not in any way constitute an endorsement by Teachers College, Columbia University, of their point of view.

Political cartoons can be a powerful way to teach and talk about public policy issues in the classroom. They engaging, often funny, and they teach very complex ideas in a quick and intuitive way. We are so convinced of the value of political cartoons that, in addition to including them in many of our blogs, we feature posts that are all cartoons.

Using cartoons presents an opportunity to teach students media literacy, including the ability to detect point of view or bias. As a sequence, we strongly encourage students to study the cartoon carefully, analyze the specific context of the cartoon, and determine the cartoonist’s point of view. See the blog post of October 8, 2013 for a guide to using the political cartoons we have selected. The Library of Congress also has a a very useful Cartoon Analysis Guide.

157656 600 PUTIN on the BLAME cartoons

Bill Day, 2014

 

157452 600 Putins Wish cartoons

Cameron Cardow, 2014

 

157714 600 Falling Ruble cartoons

Sepideh Anjomrooz, 2014

 

157202 600 Putin and dropping oil prices cartoons

Jimmy Marguilies, 2014

 

156920 600 VLADIMIR SCHWARZENEGGER cartoons

Bill Day, 2014

 

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A different look at income inequality

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December 17, 2014

An article from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) blog caught my eye today.  The title reads “Top 400 taxpayers paid almost as much in federal income taxes in 2010 as the entire bottom 50%“, which is not a new thought rolling around in economic circles.  However, it struck me as very interesting that AEI uses IRS numbers and the site taxfoundation.org to make their point.

How is this possible when we continue to hear the rhetoric that the rich aren’t paying “their fair share”?  While there is no denying that the income inequality gap exists – and is, in fact, larger than we’ve seen in the United States in many years – the tax gap is a myth.  The richest 400 taxpayers in the U.S. paid a little over $19 billion in taxes at an average tax rate of 18%, while the lowest 50% of taxpayers in the U.S. paid about $22.4 billion at an average tax rate of 2.4%.

Wait.  2.4%? How is that even possible?

To help outline this, AEI uses federal income tax information outlined at the Tax Foundation.  I found this chart very interesting, as it shows the percentage of those who sent in tax paperwork but had zero or negative tax liability.  I could think of all kinds of ways this information could be used in the classroom, especially through leading questions – how can someone have negative tax liability?  How did we survive through the Great Depression, when over half of tax returns had zero or negative tax liability?  How in the world did it drop so fast by 1944, where there is only a 7.5% zero or negative tax liability?  What trends can be seen?

This is a great use of current issues and data to support the UFR Lesson 1.4 on Taxation and the National Debt.  The essential question for the unit is:  “Is there a fair and efficient way to fund and maintain the public services we want?”.  As students form an opinion and justification for the overarching question, ask them to show how this data helps or hurts their theories.

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Russia and Plummeting Oil Prices

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December 12, 2014

The fear of deflation lives in the Eurozone, but the rapidly decreasing oil prices have hit Russia’s economy hard.  Economist Paul Krugman blogged about comparisons between current-day Russia and 1983 Venezuela, when the economy was almost destroyed.  He points out the private-sector borrowing and oil-dependent economy could cause extreme problems come 2015.

The LA Times states the Russian economy has already collapsed – it just hasn’t shown yet.  CNN Money points out that as the ruble is crashing, the Russian central bank raised interest rates yet again;  rates were at 5.5% a year ago, and are almost double that now.  The ruble has dropped in value by over 40% in comparison to the US dollar.  Time Magazine questions whether Putin can continue a strong foreign policy in the face of a failing economy, and Business Insider flat out says Russia is in big trouble.

So if inflation is rising and deflation is a fear in the Eurozone, how would this affect the world economy and the United States?  Have student research inflation and deflation, focusing in on years of deflation as with the UFR lesson on Greece, and hyperinflation in Germany in the Interwar years.  How could these live side by side?

 

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The Euro – Political Cartoons

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December 10, 2014

The political cartoons included in this blog are selected as tools to teach about public policy issues. Their inclusion does not in any way constitute an endorsement by Teachers College, Columbia University, of their point of view.

Political cartoons can be a powerful way to teach and talk about public policy issues in the classroom. They engaging, often funny, and they teach very complex ideas in a quick and intuitive way. We are so convinced of the value of political cartoons that, in addition to including them in many of our blogs, we feature posts that are all cartoons.

Using cartoons presents an opportunity to teach students media literacy, including the ability to detect point of view or bias. As a sequence, we strongly encourage students to study the cartoon carefully, analyze the specific context of the cartoon, and determine the cartoonist’s point of view. See the blog post of October 8, 2013 for a guide to using the political cartoons we have selected. The Library of Congress also has a a very useful Cartoon Analysis Guide.

 

156898 600 Superman Currency cartoons

Oguz Gurel, 2014

 

156751 600 ECB and Euro cartoons

Paresh Nath, 2014

 

155284 600 euro weakness cartoons

Joep Bertrans, 2014

 

145941 600 One by One cartoons

Pangli, 2014

 

 

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