A 'teachable moment' on credit

The financial mess is a “teachable moment,” says the U.S. Treasury. From the LA Times:

See Sally. See Sally run from the bank. Run Sally run.

In the midst of one of the worst banking crises in decades, the U.S. Treasury Department today will launch a long-planned program to teach young Americans about credit and other financial matters.

TV and radio spots, online banners and a web site, featuring a game called Bad Credit Hotel, will spread the message. “The Treasury folks aren’t planning a similar program for the heads of financial institutions or government regulators,” the Times snarks.

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  1. Laudable, although credit is somewhere around 10 on a scale of daily life math skills, and they need to cover 1-9. Not only do students not know that interest is being compounded on those credit cards in their pockets — they don’t understand that a tax rate is a rate, and you can’t just add it to the item price to get the total sale price.

  2. Might be a good time to require Congress to learn something about economics, too. I think that their understanding of the topic is about as deep as the students you are describing. I’m hoping that Obama was just pandering when he said that he would raise the capital gains rates even if it reduced the total tax revenues, but maybe he isn’t that cynical…