The Euro – Political Cartoons

Tagged: , . | Category: Blog

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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What’s going on in Europe? Deflation fears.

Tagged: , . | Category: Blog

December 2, 2014

Trying to decide what was important enough to make my first return blog post after a few months hiatus was more difficult than I thought.  So let’s turn to Europe for a post.

All over the media, there are rising concerns over the threat of deflation of the world market, especially the Eurozone.  The New York Times pointed out that the inflation rate across Europe is at 0.3% while the jobless rate hovered at 11%.  Bloomberg says that Europe is in deep trouble, and Business Insider states that Europe is already under the dark cloud of deflation.

A consumer looks at falling gasoline prices and thinks “Great!  It won’t cost as much to fill up my tank to get to work!”.  So why this fear of deflation?

In short, deflation can increase the real cost of debt and could cause the dreaded deflationary cycle we witnessed during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.  The deflationary cycle shows a connection between lowered prices and decreased production, which leads to lower wages, leading to decreased demand and lower prices (figure courtesy of investinganswers.com).

Greece is one of the countries seeing extreme drops in overall price levels.  They are also one of the Eurozone countries deepest in debt.  The Understanding Fiscal Responsibility lesson from World History on Europe’s debt crisis would be one way to bring students’ attention to what is happening in Europe, as well as focusing students attention in potentially easier-to-understand chunks of information, as the big picture can be overwhelming and confusing.  Start with talking about the current issue of deflation and debt – move to the lesson on Greece’s debt issues – and then bring the conversation back to the current day.  Students could research other historical deflation/debt issues, or research the guiding question of the unit:  when is one country’s problem everyone’s problem?

 

As an interesting side note, economist Paul Krugman suggests that the Eurozone debt crisis leads to the return of Keynesian economics.  As an extension activity, have students research what he means, and whether they think Keynesian economics is the answer to the issues facing the Eurozone.

 

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Brookings Institute: Understanding the Federal Debt

Tagged: . | Category: Blog

August 27, 2014

The Brookings Institute released a short video explaining the federal debt in comic format.  David Wessel, the Brookings’ Director of The Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, outlines the general “the federal debt is okay as long as it stays a small percentage of GDP” argument in three minutes.

The video is very well done and easy to understand, and as soon as I saw it, I thought “Ah ha!  A great tie to UFR and the national debt!”.  What a great video to bring to students to align to the Economics lessons overall.  As I get ready to close my tenure on the UFR blog, I thought it would be interesting for students to look at the bigger picture – what do we want them to walk away from the UFR curriculum knowing and being able to do?  I think a fine example is taking information from current news sources and comparing them to the lessons is a great take away.

But…it would be important to always show the “other side”.  There are those economists that hate the national debt, and those who believe, as Wessel states, that it is necessary to balance the economy.  How can students find information to help them make a decision?

In my final blog post later this week, I’ll share some of the sources I’ve used to bring current policy and news to the UFR curriculum

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National Security and the Federal Budget – ISIS and the New Terrorism

Tagged: , . | Category: Blog

August 23, 2014

UFR Lesson 2.3 in the Civics portion of the curriculum looks at National Security Goals, the Federal Budget and the National Debt.  I thought it was a great opening to a lesson on the current situation in the Middle East and ISIS.  There are  a TON of political cartoons about ISIS and the beheading of the US journalist, James Foley.  Using political cartoons is a great way to show students differing points of view.

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.

152653 600 ISIS Coexist cartoons

Rick McKee, 2014

152591 600 ISIS Execution cartoons

Nate Beeler, 2014

152643 600 Iraq Lesson Not Learned cartoons

Pat Bagley, 2014

152593 600 World Falling Apart cartoons

Steve Sack, 2014

152620 600 Still cartoons

Mark Streeter, 2014

 

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Veterans Disability Compensation: CBO Analysis

Tagged: , , , . | Category: Blog

August 18, 2014

On the heels of the Social Security Trustees Report is a report from the Congressional Budget Office on Veterans Disability Compensation.  Although the report did not make the big splash like the Social Security report, it addresses the same issue:  how do we choose to allocate funds to support public programs?  What decisions need to be made to continue support?  How does this reflect policy priorities in our federal budget process?

This ties well to UFR Lesson 1.5 on Balancing the Federal Budget, but because of some specifics in the report, it may tie even better to UFR Lesson 1.4 on Taxation and the National Debt.  One of the suggestions to keeping VA disability benefits solvent is to begin to tax the benefits.  Have students analyze the issue and take a stance by using research skills and evidence they find.  Should VA benefits be taxed?

 

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Back to School!

Tagged: . | Category: Blog

August 18, 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.

 

152293 600 School Supplies cartoons

Nate Beeler, 2014

 

151732 600 Back to School cartoons

Rick McKee, 2014

 

151693 600 Back to School cartoons

Jeff Koterba, 2014

 

 

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2014 Social Security Trustees Report

Tagged: , . | Category: Blog

August 16, 2014

The Social Security Administration has released the 2014 Trustees Report, projecting that the funds will be insolvent by 2033 if nothing is changed.   Even more alarming is the statement that the Disability Insurance (DI) program will be out of funds by 2016.  However, even after this time, it seems that payments will not be stopped, but rather cut by about 23% across the board.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities suggests that policymakers work to “save” DI and overall fix Social Security once and for all.  Reuters points out that as we keep putting bandages on the “wound” of Social Security, it gets harder and harder to do an actual fix.

At the same time, bloggers on USA Today and    are saying that all of this distracts from the real problem – reform.  A blog on Forbes states that Social Security is the Voldemort (He Who Shall Not be Named) of politics – no one will touch it for fear of backlash.

It’s a great time to talk with students and work through UFR Lesson 1.1on Social Security and the National Debt.  The essential question What costs and trade-offs are we willing to accept to ensure the benefits of income security to Social Security recipients? is a great way to encourage students to look at current news issues on the topic and draw their own conclusions based on fact.

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Sue or Impeach?

Tagged: . | Category: Blog

August 7, 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.

 

151641 600 Boehner Blowing Smoke cartoons

Pat Bagley, 2014

 

151498 600 Impending Impeachment cartoons

Monte Wolverton, 2014

 

151700 600 Impeachment vs Lawsuit cartoons

Steve Sack, 2014

 

 

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Adult children living at “home”…what’s going on?

Tagged: . | Category: Blog

August 7, 2014

Although not seemingly about the UFR curriculum or the federal budget at first, this recent blog post from the economics blog “The Big Picture” gives a great real-life illustration not only of effects of the recession, but questions of income inequality, government assistance programs, and the housing market.

I’ll show the information in a series of infographics and leave it to you to go to the blog, but have students use the infographics to consider such things as:

  • Does the federal government have a duty to help those who cannot afford housing?
  • Should the federal government guarantee that people can live on their own?
  • What are potential side effects of such guarantees?
  • Is there “an answer”?  If so, what is it?

 

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Recession recovery…or not?

Tagged: , . | Category: Blog

August 7, 2014

The Wall Street Journal recently posted a blog regarding recovery from the Great Recession.  Using a survey from the Federal Reserve, they found that how people consider themselves compared to five years ago is almost cut in thirds:  30% says “better,” 34% says “same”, and 34% says “worse.”

Although at first it sounds rather benign, the data actually in concerning.  Comparing 2013 to 2008 means comparing three years post-recession to the very depth of the Great Recession.  If 68% of people say that they are either the same or worse, it shows either the overall malaise of the country in terms of the economy, or it shows the uneven nature of the recovery (which is the Fed’s stance).  

In other data from the report, a full 75% of renters say they’d like to purchase a home, but either cannot afford one or cannot qualify for a mortgage.  One-third of people taking the survey said they had no retirement savings at all, including almost 20% of people nearing retirement age.

This is the first in-depth report showing how the country recovers from a serious downturn in the economy.  As far as I can tell, it doesn’t address the effects of government interventions, but it’s a fascinating article for students to learn about the business cycle.

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