Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Three problems, Three solutions

The following is my opinion.

There are three significant problems facing the USA.

  1. "The Economy"
  2. "Healthcare"
  3. "The Wars"
I believe the solution to these problems will never be reached by legislation alone, even if our legislators were able to work in perfect harmony with one another. That is because I believe that "a nation is its people" and that a nation with a high proportion of self disciplined and critical thinking individuals is desirable. 

If the USA wishes to solve problems 1 through 3, then it should do everything in its power to ensure all students learn the following by the time they are of voting age. 
  1. Have a solid understanding of personal finance.  This includes, but is not strictly limited to:
    • Be able to draft and adhere to a personal budget including: estimating gross & net wages, rent, utilities, transportation, food, loans, etc. 
    • Be able to live on ~80% of what you take home after taxes. 
    • Be able to understand how interest rates & loans work. 
    • Understand relative orders of magnitude - million, billion, trillion, etc. 
  2. Understand how the human body works and practice healthy habits. 
    • Food = Fuel.  Garbage in, garbage out.  
    • Don't do hard drugs at all and if you choose to do soft drugs (including alcohol & tobacco), do so responsibly. Don't mix drugs & operating vehicles or guns!
    • Exercise is key. 30 minutes of waking per day can do wonders for you!
    • Understand how the human reproductive system works and the biological perils of sex (STDs, babies). Birth control, when properly & consistently used, can greatly reduce those risks, but never eliminate them. 
    • Your body is yours and everyone (including yourself) should respect it!
  3. Comparative religious studies, learn about the rise and fall of nations, and have international pen-pals. 
    • Knowing the origins and stories behind the three Abrahamic faiths is useful because they are in one way or another deeply embedded in so many of the wars that are going on.  The similarities & differences between Judaism, Islam, and Christianity would be useful to highlight how one's own faith is similar to and different from the faith of those we're bombing/planning to bomb. 
    • "Those who don't learn their history are doomed to repeat it." Egyptians, Mayans, Romans, Greeks, Ottomans... what happened? What made them rise & be great, what made them fall? How is any of that relevant to today's page in history?
    • Having international pen-pals will help humanize people students may never interact with otherwise. This might help future generations realize that people are different from the governments who may (or may not) represent them. It's harder to ask for bombs to be dropped on a country where a friend lives.  This goes both ways. :) 
With a knowledge of personal finance an individual citizen is less likely to make mistakes or fall for tricks which led to the housing crisis and avert many people's general state of financial woe as well as help individuals have savings for a rainy day or week. With a knowledge of the human body a person can make intelligent decisions about their own health and stave off preventable illness at large. With an understanding of other cultures and religions, people might be more tolerant of the fact that not everyone thinks like they do and be less likely to want to go to war. 

These are my own opinions.  

Thank you for reading.  Discussion welcome!

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