We'd all agree, I think, that raising a generation of Americans resistant to the temptations of Obamanomics is important. But how? What are the keys, the two or three take-home messages that kids need to hear in order to grasp, deep-down and forever, the merits of capitalism and the free market?
Maybe if we put our heads together we can come up with a few easy-to-understand basics -- a sort of parents' guide for teaching economics. I'll start, but please add whatever you've found works.
First and foremost, my goal has been to hard-wire into our kids the understanding that a free economy is not a zero-sum game -- that one's riches do not come at the expense of others -- but a "spiral of mutual gain", as George Gilder explains so perfectly in Wealth and Poverty, and more recently in The Israel Test. Wealth is not finite; it is every day created. And since transactions are voluntary, dollars are essentially "certificates of performance" (Walter Williams), and a full wallet is evidence not that one has taken, but that one has produced, served, given.
Kid: Dad, can I have my allowance?
Dad: That depends. Have you served your fellow man? (i.e., stacked the firewood, straightened up the house, etc.)
Kid: [rolls eyes] That line again?
That not-zero-sum understanding of the free market is the key insight, in my opinion. It's counterintuitive to many -- including high school teachers around here, I've found -- but once a kid gets it at a deep gut level, so many leftist impulses melt away: resentment of the rich (those who've served their fellow man so damn much, that is), obsession with "gaps", covetousness, even anti-Americanism (Obama: naughty America "consumes" at such and such a rate, rather than "produces" or "creates") and anti-Semitism (typical UN member: the Arabs are poor because the Jews are rich, etc.).
Even better, this proper grasp of capitalism gives an unexpected boost to the moral training of kids: Not only does it provide a sort of inoculation against the urge to violate the 10th Commandment, but the knowledge that one's economic good fortune is most dependent upon bringing good fortune to others "transforms the Golden Rule into a practical agenda" (Gilder again).
And if that isn't a good message to give kids, I don't know what is.
What else? What's worked for you?