Blog

Affordable Care Act Political Cartoons

Tagged: . | Category: Blog

March 28, 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.

Cruz and Obamacare

Jeff Darcy 2015

Cruzcare COLOR

Steve Sack, 2015

Obamacare 5th year

Dave Granlund, 2015

Adam Zyglis - The Buffalo News - Ted Cruz on Obamacare COLOR - English - cruz, ted, obamacare, health care, reform, law, repeal, gop, republican, party, president, campaign, candidate

Adam Zyglis, 2015

 

 

Posted by: | 0 Comments

Federal Budget – Political Cartoons

Tagged: , , . | Category: Blog

March 23, 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.

Nate Beeler - The Columbus Dispatch - Budget Fantasy COLOR - English - gop, republicans, congress, barack obama, president, budget, spending, government, plan, proposal, politics, fantasy, unicorn

Nate Beeler, 2015

Pat Bagley - Salt Lake Tribune - GOP Budget Magic - English - Magic Show, Magician, GOP, 2015 Budget, Congress, Republicans, Entitlements, Welfare, Food, Food Stamps, SNAP, Paul Ryan, Boehner, Fraud, Budget, Rich, Wealthy, 1, tax Cuts, taxes

Pat Bagley, 2015

Steve Sack - The Minneapolis Star Tribune - Repubs on a Roll COLOR - English - budget, Congress

Steve Sack, 2015

Nate Beeler - The Columbus Dispatch - Budget Balloon COLOR - English - barack obama, president, budget, debt, balloon, ball, chain, sustainable, 2016, gondola, spending, deficit, taxes, tax, spend, politics, congress, liberal, progressive, agenda

Nate Beeler, 2015

 

Posted by: | 0 Comments

Returning to Greece and the EuroZone

Tagged: , , . | Category: Blog

Although a few weeks ago, Harvard economist and NY Times blogger Paul Krugman stated that “Greece did Okay” on a deal to help with their crushing debt, there is information coming out that unless they receive new aid by April 20, Greece will have no cash available to fulfill promises of repayment and economic reform.

Is an independent Greece viable in the EuroZone?  This is the question that keeps coming up.  The News International seems to doubt it’s possible, outlining points such as Greece requesting relief from their debts, or an exit from the Euro and EuroZone.

CNN points out that Greece is not the only EuroZone country in trouble, nor is it the only one that could tumble the Euro – Spain is also a culprit, with high unemployment and a shaky economy.

Use UFR Lesson 4.4 on Europe’s Debt Crisis, and have students look at the differences between Greece, Spain, and Germany.  How could these issues affect the EuroZone, and how could it affect us here in the United States?

Posted by: | 0 Comments

Closer looks at the federal budget proposals

Tagged: , , , , . | Category: Blog

There has been a lot of information out in the media-sphere and blogosphere about the House and Senate budget proposals.

NPR outlines how the federal budget simply outlines spending priorities, not true spending of the federal government.

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has released a number of opinion pieces regarding the proposals.  The president of the think tank, Robert Greenstein, offers his review of the House and Senate proposals.  The group also released blazing reports on the House proposal and SNAP benefits, and that both plans show massive cuts for low-income residents of the US.

The New York Times focuses on the deep cuts in the proposed House budget, as well as a complete overhaul of Medicare and repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  Fox News focuses on the repeal of Affordable Care Act and an increase in defense spending.

The best connections here is the UFR Lesson 1.4 on Taxation and the National Debt.  Have students choose one part of the budget proposals (House or Senate) and research pros and cons to that part – for example, focus on defense spending or SNAP benefit, Medicare or the Affordable Care Act, increases in federal employee contributions or possible effects on Pell Grants, and find pros and cons to the proposals for that area.

Posted by: | 0 Comments

Can we balance the budget in 10 years? Center on Budget & Policy Priorities

Tagged: , , , , , . | Category: Blog

Multiple suggestions have been laid out during this early part of the federal budget process.  It’s a great time to bring out UFR Lesson 1.4 on Taxation and the National Debt, and use current events to bring the lesson to life.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a very interesting post on the proposed goals of the budgets in both the House and Senate.  In general, both proposals suggest balancing the federal budget within 10 years with no new revenue. Of course, this can only mean one thing – budget cuts.  “The combination of these two goals has large and serious effects, making it highly likely that the forthcoming Republican budgets will be built around policies that would increase poverty and inequality and adversely affect many low- and middle-income families. ”

This moves at least part of the discussion back to income inequality and poverty.  The CBPP states that balancing the budget is not vital, and in fact could lead to adverse effects on the economy as a whole.

With this question, have students analyze and research the essential question from Lesson 1.4:  Is there a fair and efficient way to fund and maintain the public services we want?

Posted by: | 0 Comments

Tweeting the State of the Union Address

Tagged: . | Category: Blog

This is just too fun to pass up.  What a terrific way to have students able to analyze in “real time” (or, if they weren’t watching, to see now)!  Someone has tracked the timing of President Obama’s State of the Union Address, and tracked tweets during that time with hashtags that would match the topic at hand.  So, for example, when the president was talking about foreign policy, they tracked posts to #foreignpolicy.  What you get is a flow chart and map showing how many tweets (and where they came from) were posted regarding the topics covered in the SOTU address.

On the website:  Explore the speech and see the realtime reaction on Twitter. Scroll to a paragraph to see the volume of Tweets, the subjects debated on Twitter and where people are talking about them across the US. Click the spikes on the chart and see which paragraphs are being talked about most. Share your key paragraphs: each one has a unique url for you to Tweet. Video clips courtesy of C-SPAN.

See it at: http://twitter.github.io/interactive/sotu2015/#p5 

 

Posted by: | 0 Comments

Lee-Rubio Tax Plan

Tagged: , . | Category: Blog

The new tax plan proposed by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) was released earlier this week.  It is very pro-business and growth, taking away many capital gains taxes and taxes on dividend income, while also “encouraging” the reform of the health care system.  At the same time, they urge “family fairness” in taxes, critiquing the complicated tax code and tax rates that are too high.  It would repeal the estate tax, change the Earned Income Tax Credit, and in general simplify the tax code.  In fact, it drops tax brackets to only two:  15% for singles earning up to $75,000 or married couples earning up to $150,000, or 35% for those above that rate of income.

From opposite sides of the aisle come the praise and critiques:

UFR Lesson 1.4 looks at Taxation and the National Debt.  Although the Lee-Rubio Tax Plan does not outline how to decrease the national debt, the news fits in well here.  The Essential Dilemma posed for the lesson is: is there a fair and efficient way to fund and maintain the public services we want?  The new tax proposal would affect the revenue collected by the federal government, but it will also affect those who pay taxes, whether through a decrease in the child tax credits or a decrease in the taxes that businesses and corporations pay.  How can students determine if the tax proposal is “fair”?

Posted by: | 0 Comments

2015 Economic Report of the President

Tagged: , , , , , , . | Category: Blog

The Economic Report of the President was released a few weeks ago.  This is an annual report given to Congress on the state of the economy.  In general, the information included states that we continue to recover from the Great Recession, currently growing at a 2.8% increase in each of the last two years.  

Chapters focus on general performance, opportunities and challenges facing the US labor market, changes in the composition of the average family, tax reform, energy, and the global economy.  One interesting area of focus is the look at income inequality (mentioned earlier in this blog over the last year).  The New York Times points out that a large portion of the report actually deals with stagnating wages and income inequality. The Times, however, seems to think this is more political than a guide to easing inequality; they point out that this could be a blueprint for the 2016 presidential election.

The Wall Street Journal takes ten of the charts provided in the Report and gives an overview of the document using only those.    Economist Greg Mankiw questions which is the bigger issue – productivity slowdown or increased inequality?

This ties to a number of UFR lessons:  It could be about taxation (Lesson 1.4), or possibly about numeracy (Lesson 5.4).  Expanded some, it could be about the federal budget (Lesson 2.4).  However, I like it as a lesson on the media and political rhetoric.  Have students review and analyze how different media markets are addressing the Report, and how politicians are responding to it.  It’s not directly related to the federal budget, but who brings up the budget in relation to the Report?  Who is admitting the income inequality, and who is denying it occurs?

Posted by: | 0 Comments

ISIS and the Terrorist Threat – Political Cartoons

Tagged: , . | Category: Blog

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.

 

 

 

Posted by: | 0 Comments

Central Banks around the World

Tagged: . | Category: Blog

February 23, 2015

Rather by accident, I found two interesting articles with information about central banks worldwide.

CB Map

The first, from UK Business Insider, has a great map showing who is easing and who is tightening monetary policy worldwide.  They point out that a “full 50% of the world’s population has seen monetary policy easing in 2015″ – and we’re only at the end of February!  Notice the absence of movement in the United States, which ties back to my previous post on Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s decision not to touch interest rates until at least June 2015.

Being able to analyze charts, graphs, and maps is a basic social studies skill for classroom use.  Have students analyze information off the map, and use the internet to research why these moves were taken and what potential results could be.

At the same time, a post in the Wall Street Journal looks at how some central banks are audited by governments around the world.  As we face Congressional pressure for legislative oversight of the Federal Reserve, it’s interesting to see what happens in other countries.  The article points out reviews of the Bank of England, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, and the Sveriges Riksbank, the central bank of Sweden.

The difference becomes what such oversight means in different countries.  None of the reviews mentioned could require the central bank to turn over documents or meeting transcripts, something that Mr. Paul’s bill in the United States would require of the Federal Reserve.

Students could review the UFR overview lesson on the Federal Reserve, and use the news as a way to answer the question:  Who controls a central bank?

 

 

Posted by: | 0 Comments