Economic education

It was a packed house earlier this month at the Jackson Convention Center when hundreds of Mississippians convened for the Forum on American Enterprise. The guest speaker was Atlanta Federal Reserve president Raphael Bostic, who took office last year as the 17th president. The moderator for the event was Northsider Brooks Moseley, president of Ballew Wealth Management and chairman of the Mississippi Council on Economic Education (MCEE.)

MCEE is one of hundreds of non-profit organizations in our state that is quietly and steadily making a huge contribution to progress. The organization is dedicated to training teachers who can then train students in the basics of economic education and the fundamental functioning of our free market system. MCEE has founded six Centers for Economic, Entrepreneurship and Financial Literacy Education on the campuses of the University of Mississippi, Delta State University, Millsaps College, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi.

Last year, MCEE’s 1,562 teachers received 8,333 professional development hours and went on to provide instruction for 156,200 students throughout Mississippi. More than 6,000 students participated in the Stock Market Game. Five hundred students participated in the International Economic Summit. This is great work.

 In a state where politicians promise to “create jobs,” understanding how our free market system actually works is crucial. There is much work to be done and we commend MCEE and its hundreds of contributors and volunteers for their efforts.

During his keynote speech, Bostic warned that worries over tariff wars could depress capital spending and negatively impact the economy, but to a limited degree. He exhorted everyone to think rationally about both the positive and negative impact of tariffs and not react emotionally. “Global interconnectedness is a fact. Its effect and the effect of policies aimed at altering the landscape of international trade are far from straightforward. The distinction between made in China and made in America is not always clear cut. Trade poses threats to many American businesses and workers but also has clear benefits for many others. Trade policies are not implemented in a vacuum. Perceptions of how our trading partners will respond to our actions can either accentuate or counteract policies’ intended effects. Reasonable debate about trade policies needs to be informed by the full picture. We will only talk past one another by a single-minded approach on either the costs or the benefits of trade policy. This is precisely why the work all of you do on promoting economic education really matters for the nation’s future. We need the voices of informed consumers to help shape effective policies and practices that are grounded in factual analysis and sound economic basics.”