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Friday Five: Economic Literacy, the Dignity of Work, and More

On Fridays, we bring you the best of our blog and the best of the web. This week’s roundup includes a reflection on the importance of economic literacy, reactions to President Obama’s inaugural address and more.

1. The Young and the Economically Illiterate: Nicholas Freiling describes the possible dangers of a generation that is both ambitious and economically ignorant.

But the dangers of ignorance itself stand pale in comparison to the hazards created by ignorance accompanied by a drive to succeed—the very combination possessed by young people today. In fact, the more “educated” an economically illiterate individual, the more likely he or she will advance ideas wholly antithetical to economic progress and human flourishing.

2. Reaction: President Obama dismisses entitlement reform: In reaction to President Obama’s second inaugural address, Nicholas Eberstadt, author of “A Nation of Takers: America’s Entitlement Epidemic,” insists that a dismissal of America’s entitlement problem is bold and astonishing—and not in a good way.

No entitlement problem today? Really? Enormously powerful as the office he commands may be, the president is not invested with authority to make facts disappear. That Obama chooses to behave as if he did suggests we may be in for even more trouble with our out-of-control entitlement system over the next four years than informed citizens, Capitol Hill budgeteers, and international financial markets currently realize.

3. African Elephants and Tire Fires: How Property Rights Affect Everyday Decisions: Derek Yonai, professor of business at Campbell University, explains why property rights are essential for protecting economic freedom and promoting human flourishing.

4. The Futility of Tax Increases: D.W. Mackenzie, professor of economics at Carroll College, argues that tax increases on the wealthy will neither reduce the debt nor succeed in “making the rich pay their fair share.”

The only realistic solution to our long-term fiscal situation is to enact severe cuts in federal spending programs and to privatize Social Security and Medicare. In short, efforts to solve fiscal problems with tax increases are futile.

5. Is There Dignity in Your Work?: Kristen Hanson of the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics discusses the morality and spiritual significance of work.

When people learn their work truly has worth in God’s eyes, they are freed to work with all their might for him and the good of others. They actually become better workers, recognizing that God has called them to responsibly steward all of their lives for his glory and the benefit of their neighbor.