Hating Wall Street is an American tradition that dates back even to the days when Thomas Jefferson cursed that money lover Alexander Hamilton. And for centuries, the complaints about it have largely stayed the same: 'It does nothing! It creates chaos! It's a parasite that sucks hardworking Americans dry!'
Economics is all about consumption. People either spend money now or they use financial instruments - like bonds, stocks and savings accounts - so they can spend more later.
When you see a merger between two giants in a declining industry, it can look like the financial version of a couple having a baby to save a marriage.
Happiness statistics may be most valuable in smaller, local discussions. Understanding how different sorts of programs affect the well-being of citizens would be enormously helpful to a mayor choosing between building a new bridge or offering a tax cut.
We tend in this country to talk about Democrats and Republicans, and think there's little group over there called Independents that's maybe 2%. That is not the case, and it has not been the case for most of modern American history.
What there is no dispute about is whether or not China is a currency manipulator. They are a currency manipulator. They actively intervene every single day to keep the value of their currency less than it would be against the dollar than if it floated freely. We think. Even China barely disputes that.
There is such a polarized discussion of economics among people like analysts, columnists, bloggers; often, they end up just saying that views other than their own should not even be discussed. I find that frustrating. There is no intellectual progress without considering lots and lots of different views.
The idea of confidence, of the emotions of the population, is an incredibly important one in economics. John Maynard Keynes called it 'animal spirit.' And if people are feeling generally good about the future, they're more likely to spend money, to start new companies; companies are more likely to hire people, make investments.