The French economist Frédéric Bastiat once said: “There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one – the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; and the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.”

Bastiat hit the nail on the head.

Unfortunately, today’s world is littered with bad economists and history attests that the wrong people, in the wrong places, often push the wrong policies – and the fallout can be disastrous. Whether historical, political or economic in nature, these policies and legislation will be the focal point of this column. I hope you will join me as we analyze and evaluate everything going on in this crazy world through a critical lens. By educating ourselves and discussing the issues of today, we as students can see how these policies will affect us – and give us the right tools to shape a better tomorrow. During my tenure as an undergraduate student, I have been blessed in finding a major that I’m so passionate about that I decided to try my luck and see if The Daily Beacon would give me a column discussing it. Yes, economics – my major – will be a central theme of my column.

There is something incredible about allowing data and logic to paint a vivid picture of the world we live in. I hope this column inspires the same passion in you.On par with economics is my deep interest in politics. Over the past two years I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to intern with Sen. Bob Corker and Congressman John Duncan – two of Tennessee’s delegates to the United States Senate and House of Representatives. I bring with me first-hand experience and knowledge of Washington, D.C. – and, for better or worse, an inside perspective on how the sausage is made.

You can expect this column to break down the complex politics of our government – and, more importantly, how those politics will affect you – because there are events taking place today that will directly impact your life.Whether it be the Affordable Care Act, immigration reform or tax policy, you will fell the consequences – whether unintended or foreseen – during your time as a student, in your career and for the rest of your life. Enough emphasis cannot be placed on how important it is to understand this sphere of our world.Before we delve any further, it would be appropriate to tell you a little about myself. I was born and raised here in Knoxville. My earliest memories are deeply intertwined with Rocky Top. I remember Peyton Manning leading the Vols to victory; I vividly recall Jeff Hall’s game-winning field goal kick against the Gators in 1998.

I have stood by our school through thick and thin, and my support continues to burn bright despite the torrential past three years defined as the Dooley era. 

I tend to be fiscally conservative and believe that government, like families, should live within its means. I also believe that it is individual liberty, not government, that made America great, and that no economic system has elevated man’s standard of living like capitalism.

Our free-market system is not perfect, but it’s better than any of its alternatives.

I stand steadfast by my personal beliefs, but I will limit my interjection of them. On the occasions that I do, feel free to respond. I welcome discussion, dialogue and debate, but I do request references and data when one wishes to open a serious discussion. George Washington’s first rule of Civility and Decent Behavior was a wise one: “Every action done…ought to be with some sign of respect to those who are present.” That is certainly how I will treat you – even if we disagree vehemently – with respect.I hope you will enjoy this column as we evaluate the economic ramifications of legislation and the politicians who ratify it. And keep Washington’s 110th rule in mind throughout the course of the semester: “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little celestial fire called conscience.” That’s the beautiful thing about fire – given proper fuel and environment, there is no limit to how large it can become. Let’s resolve to stoke our celestial fires.

Let’s fuel it by challenging our basic assumptions and see how large it will grow – and by extension, how far it will spread.Adam Prosise is a senior in economics.

He can be reached at aprosise@utk.edu.