2007 Student Congress on Economic Issues

Minneapolis Public Schools—Learning Center for Economics
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
University of Minnesota Department of Applied Economics
Minnesota Council on Economic Education

January 10, 2007
St. Paul Campus
University of Minnesota

Participating High Schools

Edison, Henry, North, Roosevelt, South, Southwest and Washburn

2007 Results

(winning team from each topic):

Topic One
Team One: South/Henry

Topic Two
Team Two: North/Roosevelt/Edison

Topic Three
Team Two: Southwest/Washburn

2007 Economic Congress Questions

Topic One

What should Anna Maria do?
Anna Maria has decided to go to a four-year college after high school. Unfortunately, the school she wants to attend is expensive. After scholarships, grant money, help from her parents and money she has saved, Anna Maria still will need $5,000 per year to finance her education. The best thing for Anna Maria to do is, evaluating both personal and financial issues (i.e., Net Present Value, risks, personal desires, etc.):

TEAM ONE: South/Henry
Go to school by taking out a loan. The $20,000 she will need can be paid back after she graduates. The interest rate is (5.9%) and she will have 10 years to repay. Her monthly payment will be $257.

TEAM TWO: Southwest/Roosevelt/Edison
Work for two years at a full-time job. She can save $10,000 per year living at home with her parents and then she could attend college without taking out a loan and living on a tight budget.

TEAM THREE: Washburn/North
Work part-time while going to school part-time. Anna Maria figures she could graduate in six years by using this method and have some financial flexibility.

Note: Be sure to think about opportunity costs and the time value of money as it applies to your position or against another position.

Topic Two

What is the best U.S. Immigration policy?

TEAM ONE: Southwest/Henry
Have an open border with an unimpeded flow of labor.

TEAM TWO: North/Roosevelt/Edison
Have a “guest worker” program so immigrants currently here illegally can perform temporary labor in the U.S. but will not receive full citizenship and it's benefits.

TEAM THREE: South/Washburn
Seal the border. Deport all illegal immigrants. Allow visas only in extreme circumstances or for high skilled workers.

Topic Three

While the U.S. economy has had substantial growth over the past two decades, the disparity of wealth between the poorest and the richest Americans has grown. How should the government address the tension between policies designed to spur economic growth and those that promote wealth equity? Give examples of policies that your position supports.

TEAM ONE: North/South/Edison
The free market system, which has been notably successful in providing a high standard of living for millions of Americans, is the most promising way to achieve higher wages over the next generation. The best way to increase everyone's share is to make sure that the economic pie keeps growing as rapidly as possible. Americans believe in rewarding effort, providing incentives for new economic ventures, and letting people get rich when they work at it. Government policy should reflect those values.

TEAM TWO: Southwest/Washburn
The fact that income for most American families stagnated is due in large part to economic rules that favor affluent Americans at the expense of everyone else. Those at the top of the income scale are getting the lion's share of the benefits of economic growth. But most members of the labor force are not sharing in the gains. Sharp differences in income generate social unrest, which can lead to uncertainty, declining investment and weak economic growth. Government should enact a more progressive tax and social service system to help reduce the disparity between the poorest and richest Americans.

TEAM THREE: Roosevelt/Henry
The promise of America is equal opportunity. Government's task is to do everything possible to provide an equal opportunity for economic advancement. The fact that income for most Americans has not risen steadily in recent years is a result of our failure as a nation to prepare people adequately so everyone has a chance to compete for good jobs. What's needed is an expanded effort to improve America's schools, to provide equal opportunity for all youngsters regardless of their parents' occupation and income.

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