The State Of “College Material”

I love me some Jack Chambless.  Dr. Chambless is an economics professor at Valencia College.  He’s a relentless champion of Libertarian ideas.
His most recent post is classic.  In it he describes his tradition at the start of every term:

I start the first day with some sort of essay question designed to uncover socialist thinking among my students.  Over the years I have asked people to comment on everything from Joe Montana selling his mansion for $49 million while others are homeless to their opinion on what the government should do to help them achieve the American Dream.

This week I asked my students – approximately 110 of them – to answer this question:”What one specific thing has President Obama done to make the American economy stronger?”

The responses are awesome:

 “Obama has made taxes according to a households income/class.  He made things stronger for every class by doing that.”

Obviously the income tax has long been progressive.

“President Obama has created jobs since he got elected in 2008.  Before him, the economy was suffering, especially middle class families. His campaign was focused alot on creating jobs. This accomplishment has benefited the economy greatly.”

Even Obama isn’t running on his jobs record.

“President Obama has made it so that everyone must pay taxes and people who are more wealthy pays the most taxes.”

Except, of course, Obama is making it so that fewer people pay taxes.  Though to be fair, he IS trying to make the rich make up for that.

“He has raised taxes on the rich and lowered taxes on the middle class.   Also, he has cut military funding.”


“He has offered more financial incentives to the American family with his Cash for Clunkers campaign.  This lead for the American family to upgrade to a new car & supply buisness to the failing America car market.”

The Cash For Clunkers program was a wild failure.  The larger concept of the auto bailout’s is more debatable but a reasonable response is that those bailouts only might have helped Detroit.  But this can only be true by acknowledging that it prevented expansion in other areas that would have made up for the demand.

“the Government, under Obama, has slowed the rate our countries US dollar was inflating at the end of Bush’s terms.”

“One specific thing that Obama has done to make this economy stronger is giving jobs all across the U.S. for the middle class.”

“President Obama’s stimulation package.”

“President Obama has made bigger percentages of taxes that people have to pay for their money.”

“He has tried to make America have more equal classes rather than the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer and eventually diminishing the middle class.”

“He has funded programs for the research of new alternative energy proving thousands of people job opportunities, and the possibility of the creation of a new type of energy market.”

“President Obama has allow all ages to go back to school.”

“Health care benefits has improved.”

“Obama has made the country stronger by giving his best to try to stabilize the economy.”

“Obama, in his early presidency, verbally excited Americans by the idea of change and this encouraged slight economic growth.”

“One thing I believe President Obama did to make the country stronger is the stimulus check act.”

“Tax cuts to overseas businesses to entice them to bring their work stateside.”

“One thing Obama help improve the economy is to provide more jobs for the unemployed people.”

In my heart I hope that we can beat Obama this fall, in my head, I don’t think we have a chance.  Which is to say that I agree with Dr. Chambliss’ observation:

These are only a sampling of what is rattling around in the brains of our college students.  Imagine what even more ignorant Americans are probably thinking.

President Obama can take great comfort in knowing that we are a nation of economically-illiterate human beings armed with voter registration cards.  He will win in November.  No one wants to hear any sensible economics from Romney or Ryan.

January 20, 2017 – that seems like a long way off….

2 responses to “The State Of “College Material”

  1. Economic ignorance is used by both parties – I suspect if he asked that question in 2004 and replaced “Obama” with “Bush” he could have had a similar post, only with Bush benefiting. It’s also sort of a leading question since any President can’t do much for the economy without Congress. I daresay I understand economics pretty well, yet I think Romney and Ryan would harm the economy more than help it. The point is not that I’m right and he’s wrong, only that there are different perspectives. I dislike it when anyone, especially someone who teaches, tries to claim that ignorance leads to support of the “other” side while understanding leads to the support of ones’ own side. That reeks to me of indoctrination, something I try to avoid!

    • I daresay I understand economics pretty well, yet I think Romney and Ryan would harm the economy more than help it. The point is not that I’m right and he’s wrong, only that there are different perspectives.

      So, there are two critiques here.

      1. Correctly understanding basic economics and playing partisan politics.
      2. Blatantly false understanding of economic principles or history.

      And I’ll add 3. Horrible communication skills for college students. Who writes like that!?!

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