Economy Questions: Be Informed, Speak Up, Act Lesson Plan (Grades 912)
- Grades: 9–12
The next president will have to make important economic decisions to deal with the economic decline gripping the United States and the world. There are different ideas about how to address this historic challenge.
1. A home foreclosure occurs when an owner of a house is unable to repay a bank for their home loan. At this point the bank claims ownership of the house. Home foreclosures in the United States have reached record highs. Furthermore, many people owe more on their home than the home is worth because the housing market, meaning the value of homes, has gone down significantly since its peak in 2005. The president and Congress will have to act to address the foreclosure crisis, which is helping to fuel the nation's economic downturn.
How should the next president work with members of Congress to prevent more home foreclosures?
- What types of action can the president and Congress take?
- List benefits from the actions you propose.
- List drawbacks from the actions you propose.
- What can individuals in your community do to try and reduce the high rate of home foreclosures?
- How is the home foreclosure crisis affecting your community?
2. The current economic crisis is bringing a lot of attention to the issue of government regulation of the financial industry — how much or how little government should be involved in overseeing or restricting certain industry activities. Some say that government regulations should be tightened and that deregulation of the financial industry (e.g., banks, stock markets, financial investment firms, insurance companies) contributed to the current crisis. Others contend that too much government regulation has a negative affect on industry and new regulatory efforts will not necessarily contribute to economic recovery.
Should the government ease or strengthen regulation of the country's financial industry (e.g., banks and investment firms)?
- Describe different views on regulation and deregulation.
- How do proponents of each view support their arguments?
- What are the benefits of a government that has many agencies keeping tabs on the financial investment market? What are the drawbacks?
- How is the financial industry crisis affecting your local community? What can be done within your community to ease this crisis?
3. Elected officials often have different ideas about individual and corporate tax policies and how taxes should be used to support government operations and programs. Who and what to tax and at what levels are subjects of policy debates. Some say that people with high incomes and corporations should have a higher tax rate while others believe that tax cuts for such individuals and corporations help fuel the economy.
Is it fair to have different tax rates for different levels of income?
- What should government's priority be when considering tax cuts: allowing people to keep more of their salary or funding government programs (e.g., social security, Medicare, education support)? Explain your position.
- Should corporations be given tax cuts? Explain your position.
- How would tax cuts for corporations or high income people affect government spending?