Kim Klein and the Commons: Financial Literacy is a Key to Reform


According to a study commissioned by the National Council on Economic Education, only 7 of the 50 United States require high school students to received financial education in the schools. This has led to an epidemic of financial illiteracy. For example, Braun Mincher, a financial literacy specialist reported these results from an online survey he administered:
  * only 50% of those surveyed knew that property tax and mortgage interest are tax deductible
  * only 33% knew that APR stands for “annual percentage rate”
  * only 32% could name the required deductions that are taken from their paycheck.

I bring this up because I am constantly puzzling about how to make taxes seem interesting to people and I think part of the problem is that most people understand very little about their own finances, and asking them to understand the various kinds of taxes attached to almost every financial transaction is just beyond the realm of possibility.  Without robust, vibrant, knowledgeable debate about taxes and tax policy, we will stay a nation that claims to believe in equality, but in practice implements systems that on a daily basis make a minority of people richer and richer and the majority poorer and poorer. Financial literacy may be the needed first step for any real meaningful reform…

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