Speak Your Mind forum at Hickman tackles U.S. economy issues

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 | 10:16 p.m. CDT; updated 12:33 p.m. CDT, Saturday, November 5, 2011

COLUMBIA — Why would a bank make a risky investment? How does morality fit into government decisions? What's the deal with Occupy Wall Street?

Panelists invited by Hickman High School students discussed these questions, among others, at the second Speak Your Mind forum of the semester at the school Wednesday evening.

Hickman students pick a topic for the forums, bring in experts on that topic and host a public discussion. About 20 students and a handful of community members attended Wednesday's forum about the U.S. economy.

The panel included:

  • Tim Harlan, attorney and former state legislator,
  • David Webber, associate professor of political science at MU,
  • Rabi Bhandari, professor of economics at Westminster College,
  • Michael Podgursky, professor of economics at MU,
  • John Schultz, chairman of the Boone County Libertarian Party.

Students posed questions to the panelists, who gave individual answers for each question before discussing it as a group. Question topics included the Occupy Wall Street movement and Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, and there was a lively back-and-forth between Harlan and Podgursky about where the wealth lies in our country.

Hickman senior Brittany Green said she came to the forum because she has been following the Occupy Wall Street movement. She also said she is especially interested in the economy because she is trying to go to college.

“I know debt is big,” she said, “And I want to see what the future has in store for me.”

Dylan Hosmer-Quint, a sophomore, came to the forum because he said he doesn’t know as much about the economy as he should. 

“I didn’t learn any new factual information, but I gained some different insight — the idea of business morality versus government morality,” he said.

Closing remarks from panelists encouraged students to keep an open mind and participate in the political process.

“It’s the elected people who make decisions,” Harlan said. “You can watch it happen or you can participate.” 

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