Pharos-Tribune

Breaking News

Opinion

February 5, 2013

MARCUS: Credit, art and music

In the past week a suggestion has come forward that Hoosier school children should be educated in financial matters. Specific mention was given to loans, mortgages and credit cards.

Although the idea has merit, it is ironic coming from the Indiana General Assembly, that body of superior knowledge when it comes to finances. A basic course in economics, incorporating elements of personal and public finance, would be my recommendation.

We want our children, our citizens, to be able to manage their affairs well. That’s why legislators make these enlightened proposals. Yet, balancing a checkbook with a bank statement is nothing more than simple addition and subtraction. What is more complex is the civic purpose of alternative financing methods; government is not a business.

What services should be provided by government? Which level of government: federal, state, or local? At the same time we have to decide whether “provided” means operated and financed by government. Our statewide debate over school finance is a good example of confusion about what we expect from our schools and how we think they should be financed and operated. Public financing and private operation is the voucher model, based on the belief that private operation is always more efficient and effective than public operation.

These are the issues that a course in economics should cover along with the concepts of borrowing that were not appreciated by the timid souls who put together our current state constitution. Thus, we live in Indiana where the state government may not go into debt, but its cities, towns, counties, schools, etc. may and must borrow to be viable.

Equally important as teaching young people about credit card debt is teaching them about music and art. In truth, music and art education may be more important than teaching personal finance.

Desire and necessity, the emotional counterparts of demand and supply, will teach what one needs to know about credit cards. But music and art involve perceptions that must be cultivated.

Credit cards are just contemporary instruments of commerce. In less than a generation they may be discovered by children in attics as today they find rationing coupons.

Side-by-side with the efforts to strengthen Indiana’s economy, we need to recognize the imperative of improving our cultural stimulation. For too long, we have been satisfied with pockets of elegance in coarse country clothing.

A grand symphony orchestra should not be struggling in Indianapolis. The sounds of great music should be heard throughout the state. This is a matter for the legislature to address through its education powers as well as its purse strings. Just as we have a college credit on the income tax, valid cultural organizations should be granted similar positive treatment.

Morton J. Marcus is an economist, writer and speaker formerly with the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He can be reached at mortonjmarcus@yahoo.com.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Sandra Stotsky STOTSKY: The next step redux in education standards Writing at National Review Online, Rick Hess and Mike McShane of the American Enterprise Institute make the complaint that critics of Common Core have not come up with the next steps to "repeal and replace" for states that want to restore academic in

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • WILLIAMS: Get out on the highway My son's truck is in the shop and my friend, Jan, was in the hospital so I had her truck in order to be able to go feed her cats while John used my car to go to work. Jan and I both purchased vehicles before we retired that we hoped would be the last

    April 24, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Indiana needs open primary elections Indiana's primary election system is dysfunctional. What the state really needs is an open primary system. This month, the Lake County election board argued about the procedures for recruiting high school students as poll workers for the May 6 primar

    April 23, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Tax bills show what smoke & mirrors don't There's a price to be paid for the decline in what we call civic engagement -- and local property taxpayers are paying that price. In case you haven't received your 2014 Cass County property tax statement yet, be prepared for a bit of sticker shock w

    April 23, 2014

  • MARCUS: Illinois brings joy to Indiana From the email this week, I sensed a profound need by Hoosiers to find joy in the problems of Illinois. Our neighbors to the west are fighting their way through a mess of their own making. They have forced themselves to raise taxes and cut services t

    April 22, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Let voters weigh option of easing daily commute There was a time in this country when workers typically lived less than an hour's walk from their jobs. A time when a "commuter" was simply a traveler taking advantage of a reduced railway fare on his way to the big city. A time when the American sub

    April 22, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: Wait a minute here — what did I just sign? When Dr. Sam said, "You've got the prostate of a 16-year-old," it was hard to keep from beaming. This must be how a woman feels when a complete stranger tells her she has a beautiful baby. Well, maybe not quite. Still, it was hard not to feel proud o

    April 22, 2014

  • LYONS: How we devalued the 'R' word At the risk of angering somebody like MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, I sometimes used to joke that I only look white. Actually, I'm Irish. Meaning basically that I wasn't raised to think the man in the big house had all the answers, nor deserved all t

    April 21, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards. That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation

    April 21, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Careful look at tax structure needed Indiana legislators this year created a "blue-ribbon commission" to study the state's taxes on businesses this summer. We hope the commission will listen to Larry DeBoer, a Purdue professor who might understand Indiana's tax structure better than any

    April 20, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.