The hot-button topic right now has to be the ever-approaching debt ceiling and Washington’s debate over how to handle that debt. Without getting political, this is an extremely serious issue. Even if it is resolved by the time schools open and classes begin, it provides an interesting opportunity to take a deeper look at how our federal government operates and its relation to the economy.
Here are some helpful links in understanding the issue…
- Taxes and government spending are huge elements in this debate. A place where we can obtain some idea of where our taxes go is the online tool Where Do My Tax Dollars Go? Simply plug in a yearly salary and filing status. The tool will give you a summary of the taxes you’ll pay and the breakdown of where that money will go. This practice puts the role of taxes and governmental spending in an individualized context.
- One of the issues our nation is facing in this recession is the growing disparity of the haves and have-nots. Good has published another great infographic that details that disparity. See how factors like race and education play into our opportunities which have long-term effects on our economy.
- Speaking of opportunity in this shaky economy, NPR has an interesting story on the cost of dropout rates. This demonstrates directly how the choices our students make affect the economy. It also puts governmental fiscal concerns in a context to which students can relate.
- What does the US’s debt look like? There is a fantastic illustration of the enormity of our debt as pointed out by Information Aesthetics. In the linked post, gives a great rundown of various image and video representations of the growing debt. The links will either amaze you or depress you, but they are super useful for those visual learners trying to understand the enormity of our debt.
What resources have you turned to in trying to understand the debt ceiling crisis? In what ways would you use these resources when teaching your students about government and economics?
Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.