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Old 05-26-2011, 11:59 PM
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Default What if our literacy rate were as low as our financial literacy rate?



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I had an epiphany the other day: the literacy rate (% of people who can read) today is almost as high as it was reported to be when Thomas Jefferson commissioned a study to ascertain it when he was President. It is at least 90-something %. That is to say, almost anyone in this country can read and comprehend basic sentences. They may interchange the adjective and adverb forms of the same word by accident, or spell a few words incorrectly at times, but they can read and write and comprehend (if they choose to).

But our mathematical/financial literacy is almost non-existent. I would point to a few facets of mathematical literacy that anecdotallly demonstrate the point:

1) Large Number Blindness: Consider the numbers up to 100,000. Most people understand that 100,000 is 100 times as large as 1,000. But draw a number line that is labeled with only 0 at the left and 10,000,000,000,000 on the right, ask someone to place the number 100,000,000 in its correct place on the line. Most people will place it about 1/3 of the way across, when a basic understanding of math would reveal that it should go basically where the 0 is, because it is only 1/100,000th of the way across.

This is why people were awed when Obama "found" ways to save $100,000,000 in the federal budget.

2) Multiplying decimals: Inflation eats our currency every year. In order for the government to collect as much this year in taxes as they did last year, they need to raise the amount collected by the inflation rate.

What many people don't seem to understand is that the rate of taxation shouldn't go through the roof, because the inflation also affects the commerce that produces the tax.

I often ask people why the federal government could once live off less than 3% of the peoples' money, and now they need more than half. The answer I get is, "Ummm...inflation (stupid). Things always cost more as time goes by." This is when I double facepalm, and just walk away.

3) Rates of change: If the federal government "needs" greater and greater percentages of the product of commerce, and the commerce is adversely affected to the point where it produces less and less in taxable income, raising taxes will LOWER the revenues catastrophically past a certain point. Laffer's Curve demonstrates this quite well.

Most people seem to think that we can just raise taxes forever. I have even encountered people who, when I mention that the tax rate can't physically exceed 100%, they ask with furrowed brow and puzzled look, "Why not?" Is there such a thing as a triple facepalm?

So...this country needs to put an asterisk next to out literacy rate, because only our lexemic literacy is allegedly acceptable. Because remember: the financially illiterate are fiercely defensive of their ignorance...and they vote!!! (if "community organizers" show them who to vote for, and how).
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:40 AM
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What is really sad is that 99.9% of people in the world today, have no ideal how their mind or money works.

People have no idea, why they think a certain way, or how their brain processes information.
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:45 AM
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you have high school graduates who do not know the even simplest financial concepts like...how to balance a bank statement, what a mutual fund is, what interest rates means...

there is no way they will understand a concept of 100 million vs. 100 billion.

Gov likes people dumb, especially about their own finances
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:53 AM
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Doubtful whether literacy rates were anywhere near as high during Jefferson's time, since women couldn't even vote, blacks were enslaved, and Native Americans were still speaking their native tongues (and had no written systems). And we had much larger numbers of poor European immigrants fresh off the boat.

That said, we've got a problem even worse than literacy. Some people might call it 'information literacy.' Our nation doesn't produce many people capable of educated critical/analytic thinking. We have plenty emotionally-driven cynics and kool-aid drinkers who listen to their talk show Imams. But we don't really produce citizen analysts. People in that category are the rare exception, not the rule.

In other words, being able to read/write/compute is only the beginning. Applying it independently, critically, analytically -- goes much further beyond. It even takes on a social and psychological vector. You need to be willing to think on your own, sometime challenge corporate stream thinking or propaganda, etc. Not many people want to look like a crackpot or rabble-rouser. This applies to Joe Sixpacks, as well as the researcher applying for grant money. There are powerful pressures to conform, and that means to avoid critical or analytical thinking.
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Old 05-27-2011, 08:13 AM
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The literacy rate in the US is going to drop a bit because there are so many illegals entering the US population and taking part in these polls. Even the illegals that speak some english do not read english. This should level out in 10 years after the second generation hit our school systems. Literacy will increase as the new population is assimilated. These programs are funded my our tax dollars.


http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2010/may/...immigrants-of/

http://www.austinlibrary.com/newip/i...englishclasses
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Old 05-27-2011, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Alligatorgars View Post
This should level out in 10 years after the second generation hit our school systems. Literacy will increase as the new population is assimilated.
We already have multiple generations of immigrants, who still do not speak english, and who refuse to assimilate, instead they choose to self segregate.

Cant see any improvement on horizon, our education system won't allow it.
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Old 05-27-2011, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Harmless Drudge View Post
I had an epiphany the other day: the literacy rate (% of people who can read) today is almost as high as it was reported to be when Thomas Jefferson commissioned a study to ascertain it when he was President. It is at least 90-something %. That is to say, almost anyone in this country can read and comprehend basic sentences. They may interchange the adjective and adverb forms of the same word by accident, or spell a few words incorrectly at times, but they can read and write and comprehend (if they choose to).

But our mathematical/financial literacy is almost non-existent. I would point to a few facets of mathematical literacy that anecdotallly demonstrate the point:

1) Large Number Blindness: Consider the numbers up to 100,000. Most people understand that 100,000 is 100 times as large as 1,000. But draw a number line that is labeled with only 0 at the left and 10,000,000,000,000 on the right, ask someone to place the number 100,000,000 in its correct place on the line. Most people will place it about 1/3 of the way across, when a basic understanding of math would reveal that it should go basically where the 0 is, because it is only 1/100,000th of the way across.

This is why people were awed when Obama "found" ways to save $100,000,000 in the federal budget.

2) Multiplying decimals: Inflation eats our currency every year. In order for the government to collect as much this year in taxes as they did last year, they need to raise the amount collected by the inflation rate.

What many people don't seem to understand is that the rate of taxation shouldn't go through the roof, because the inflation also affects the commerce that produces the tax.

I often ask people why the federal government could once live off less than 3% of the peoples' money, and now they need more than half. The answer I get is, "Ummm...inflation (stupid). Things always cost more as time goes by." This is when I double facepalm, and just walk away.

3) Rates of change: If the federal government "needs" greater and greater percentages of the product of commerce, and the commerce is adversely affected to the point where it produces less and less in taxable income, raising taxes will LOWER the revenues catastrophically past a certain point. Laffer's Curve demonstrates this quite well.

Most people seem to think that we can just raise taxes forever. I have even encountered people who, when I mention that the tax rate can't physically exceed 100%, they ask with furrowed brow and puzzled look, "Why not?" Is there such a thing as a triple facepalm?

So...this country needs to put an asterisk next to out literacy rate, because only our lexemic literacy is allegedly acceptable. Because remember: the financially illiterate are fiercely defensive of their ignorance...and they vote!!! (if "community organizers" show them who to vote for, and how).
I find it interesting that many people use the left side of the Laffer Curve to justify lowering taxes. They claim lower taxes will generate more revenue, which is only true to a point. Strangely, the point of maximum return for taxation is not near zero, as many Republicans seem to want it, but near seventy percent taxation is the apex of the curve to maximize revenues. People may not want to pay taxes at this rate, which I understand, but for the stability of a country, it is important to base policy on evidence and not desire.
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Old 05-27-2011, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Tak Man II View Post
I find it interesting that many people use the left side of the Laffer Curve to justify lowering taxes. They claim lower taxes will generate more revenue, which is only true to a point. Strangely, the point of maximum return for taxation is not near zero, as many Republicans seem to want it, but near seventy percent taxation is the apex of the curve to maximize revenues. People may not want to pay taxes at this rate, which I understand, but for the stability of a country, it is important to base policy on evidence and not desire.
1) The Reagan and Bush tax cuts both INCREASED revenues to the government by lowering taxes. They did this in times of falling revenues. No net effective top marginal tax rates were ever at 70% prior to either cut.

2) It is the responsibility of the government to take only the money they need to fund the narrow scope of their enumerated powers. Not that raising taxes will raise revenues (at least not after the initial lag-time boost), but I don't give a tinker's cuss what would maximize the revenues to the government. They are about as thrifty with money as a frat boy is with a beer bong.

3) A net effective tax rate of 70% would cripple the country and destroy every legitimate business. There isn't enough value to be had from federal welfare programs to cover the spread.

4) The Laffer curve predates Art Laffer by about 800 years. He did not discover the phenomenon, nor was he the first to graph it; he simply made it well-known. The premise of the curve predates modern taxpayer advocacy. It was originally an objective study.
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Old 05-27-2011, 10:55 PM
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Drudge - me likey the fancy wordifying you write, but we all knows that 45 is the largest numbr.

BTW, I like Che. He looks fly on my t-shirt.
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Harmless Drudge View Post
1) The Reagan and Bush tax cuts both INCREASED revenues to the government by lowering taxes. They did this in times of falling revenues. No net effective top marginal tax rates were ever at 70% prior to either cut.

2) It is the responsibility of the government to take only the money they need to fund the narrow scope of their enumerated powers. Not that raising taxes will raise revenues (at least not after the initial lag-time boost), but I don't give a tinker's cuss what would maximize the revenues to the government. They are about as thrifty with money as a frat boy is with a beer bong.

3) A net effective tax rate of 70% would cripple the country and destroy every legitimate business. There isn't enough value to be had from federal welfare programs to cover the spread.

4) The Laffer curve predates Art Laffer by about 800 years. He did not discover the phenomenon, nor was he the first to graph it; he simply made it well-known. The premise of the curve predates modern taxpayer advocacy. It was originally an objective study.
I stand corrected. Not too proud to admit my mistake.

I didn't mean to say that taxes should be at 70%, though that is what it sounds like I am saying. That would be brutal. The main point I was trying to make is that dichotomies don't make good policy. The either/ or of yes we should over tax is wrong, but so is the blind faith that if we lower taxes too much we will continually stimulate the economy and in doing so reap the rewards.

Point 2: response. I completely agree that the government should only take what they need, but ultimately, the government (The voting people) are saying they need trillions of dollars of arms for defense, gagillions of dollars for social programs. The officials in office are just doing what the people seem to want. If they aren't doing what the people want, the people are the only ones to blame in a democracy. If there is waste in government, it is because the best of society are too busy making money and leaving the important stuff, running the country, to inferior men (and women of course).

On points 3 & 4, totally agree with you after doing more research about the laffer curve.
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Old 05-28-2011, 02:33 AM
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But economics is hard! Watching tv is easy.
Another favorite: I finished college, I'm done learning!
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Old 05-28-2011, 02:47 AM
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I don't know, Drudge, I have a feeling the literacy rate is considerably lower.
Everyone have a look at this:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...3583494421392#
Very telling that foreign students, with English as a second language, beat US students, in America, and then somberly inform the reporters that American kids are stupid - in English.
Let's reiterate here: Belgian students are kicking the arses of American students - in English.
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Old 05-28-2011, 10:27 AM
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I don't know, Drudge, I have a feeling the literacy rate is considerably lower.
Everyone have a look at this:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...3583494421392#
Very telling that foreign students, with English as a second language, beat US students, in America, and then somberly inform the reporters that American kids are stupid - in English.
Let's reiterate here: Belgian students are kicking the arses of American students - in English.
Here are some results. The Pisa test is widely accepted and a very good indicator. At least the States beats Liechtenstein.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Program...3.E2.80.932006
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Old 05-28-2011, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Tak Man II View Post
I stand corrected. Not too proud to admit my mistake.

I didn't mean to say that taxes should be at 70%, though that is what it sounds like I am saying. That would be brutal. The main point I was trying to make is that dichotomies don't make good policy. The either/ or of yes we should over tax is wrong, but so is the blind faith that if we lower taxes too much we will continually stimulate the economy and in doing so reap the rewards.

Point 2: response. I completely agree that the government should only take what they need, but ultimately, the government (The voting people) are saying they need trillions of dollars of arms for defense, gagillions of dollars for social programs. The officials in office are just doing what the people seem to want. If they aren't doing what the people want, the people are the only ones to blame in a democracy. If there is waste in government, it is because the best of society are too busy making money and leaving the important stuff, running the country, to inferior men (and women of course).

On points 3 & 4, totally agree with you after doing more research about the laffer curve.
Ah, I see what you were saying ( ), and, of course, there is a point of diminishing returns in cutting taxes, just as there is in raising them. The problem, however, is not primarily one of revenue, but one of spending. This is manifestly self-evident that taxes are so high that the rate has passed the rate at which the maximum can be collected, yet it still isn't enough.

As for blaming the voters, this is true to a point. We are not a democracy; we are a constitutional republic in which the government is (used to be) accountable to the people, partially through the electoral process.

The issue is that even the people can't demand or allow the massive and bloated welfare programs and other gifts from Peter to Paul via the IRS, because all of those are expressly forbidden to the federal government in the Constitution. Only a constitutional amendment could make those permissible, yet Congress and various Presidents have brought them into being regardless of their legality.

At this point, the entire system has lost all respect for the rule of law, constitutional originalism, declarationalism, liberty in general, and all of our other founding values. Once the rules no longer apply, and the government no longer believes itself accountable to the law or the people, the only remaining tool in the proverbial shed is disobedience/rebellion.

What's even worse is that too many people are too afraid to question the dog catcher, let alone law enforcement and legislatures.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:05 PM
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It makes no difference whether you can readd but whether you can understand and make decisions on what you are reading. Literacy might be the same but ignorance and apathy has gone way up.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:13 PM
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Financially ignorant? Like this kind of ignorance?

Obama Is Going To Pay For My Gas And Mortgage!!!
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:12 PM
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Based on what I see it already is lower.
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alligatorgars View Post
The literacy rate in the US is going to drop a bit because there are so many illegals entering the US population and taking part in these polls. Even the illegals that speak some english do not read english. This should level out in 10 years after the second generation hit our school systems. Literacy will increase as the new population is assimilated. These programs are funded my our tax dollars.


http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2010/may/...immigrants-of/

http://www.austinlibrary.com/newip/i...englishclasses
Literate does not mean "able to read English". It simply means able to read. A Spanish speaking person who reads Spanish is literate. Not advicatin learning English just saying.
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Old 06-04-2011, 10:03 AM
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I would venture a guess, based on what I've seen in the classroom directly as a result of being a substitute, that many kids cannot read. They do not want the challenge, they say, "I'm a terrible speller; or I can't read, I hate reading" Then they are left alone. Or the school district decides in order to save money, they will cut teacher aide jobs..you know, the aides who help kids learn to read?

I think our education is in the @#$t hole. Kids cannot analyze information and come to their own conclusions. They "need" to be told what to do and how to do it.

I imagine that their concept of money and how it works, will be exactly the same.

No, American public school systems have failed across the board for several generations now. Personally, I think it was intentional by TPTB. Dumb down the masses and you have drones who will robotically react to whatever the state wants from them. As in the book, "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America." Keep people avoiding what to do with money and finances, and they will borrow, borrow, borrow their way to slavery.
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Old 06-04-2011, 02:12 PM
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Kids cannot analyze information and come to their own conclusions.
Just kids?

More like 99% of the worlds population including a huge group of the members on this very board.

People with beliefs or preconceived notions can NEVER analyze information correctly, they always go for the confirmation bias that backs up what they already believe.
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