Pharos-Tribune

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
  • 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

  • KNISELY: Adventures in cat spaying If you're a regular reader of this column, you know I have a cat. I got the cat to deal with the mice. Even if you only pop in on this column from time to time, you still likely know I have mice and that I hate them. I complain about it quite regular

    April 20, 2014

  • PUBLIC FORUM: Letters for Sunday, April 20, 2014 Power forum hopes to answer questions Do you pay electric bills? Then you are invited to learn how Public Power can often lower electric rates. Logansport's coal firing plant must be shut down within two years, and our contract with Duke expires in f

    April 20, 2014

  • GUTWEIN: Strengthening Indiana for Hoosier veterans America's legacy was built on the foundation created by our brave service men and women. Whether they defended our nation's borders overseas or assisted Hoosiers during the harsh winter months, we need to do everything we can to make Indiana the best

    April 20, 2014

  • CEPEDA: Baseball's sacred temple Call it a character defect, but I don't like baseball. And I especially don't like the Chicago Cubs -- losers I never found lovable. I grew up less than a mile west of Wrigley Field and games there represented summer-long inconveniences such as midda

    April 20, 2014

  • HOWEY: Doctors Brown and Bucshon become seekers Seated across the table from me at Cafe Patachou were Drs. Tim Brown and Larry Bucshon. Dr. Bucshon was a heart surgeon from Newburgh. Dr. Brown is an emergency room physician from Crawfordsville. What made this breakfast meeting extraordinary is tha

    April 20, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Littering shows disregard for surroundings Numbers tell a sad story about the disregard many Hoosiers have for their surroundings. Too many in Indiana don't care enough about the environment to prevent them from cluttering the countryside by carelessly tossing litter along the side of roadway

    April 18, 2014

  • WOLFSIE: High-tech got you down? I love where I bank. It's a branch inside of a big supermarket. I can make a modest withdrawal and then go and blow every last penny in the cookie aisle. The tellers at the window appreciate me. They know about my obsession with round numbers and und

    April 18, 2014

  • PETERS: Grizzly bear may help human medicine I've gained 5 pounds since last summer. My body mass index (BMI) is still fine, but I need to stop gaining to keep it that way. Grizzly bears put my weight gain to shame. In the late summer, they eat some 50,000 calories per day and gain more than 1

    April 18, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Lawmakers fail to act on the issue After several years of fretting over Indiana's ongoing methamphetamine problem, the Indiana General Assembly continues to struggle for a solution. The issue seems to come up every session, given that Indiana leader the nation in meth lab seizures. Bu

    April 17, 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
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
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.