The following questions were taken from the list of 100 civics questions. Admittedly, these are some of the harder ones. Could you pass?
So what are the causes for optimism with regard to future earnings power? Well, the most notable are probably the recent sharp decreases in interest rates and gas prices.
The problem is that Wall Street's biggest banks don't want to have to go into bankruptcy if they fail. They want U.S. taxpayers to bail them out like what happened in 2008-2009. They want to keep their jobs, bonuses and reckless gambling.
Many in the financial industry couldn't care less about unemployment. They don't want to risk any inflation that could erode the value of their wealth. Their voices are being heard at the top levels of the Fed. It is essential that the broader public get involved in this debate as well.
The economy grew at an impressive rate of four percent in the second quarter of this year, according to a government report released on Wednesday. But the stock market promptly tanked. The Dow lost more than 317 points Thursday and another 70 points Friday. What gives? Financial markets like it when the economy grows fast enough to signal that the recovery is continuing -- but not so fast that labor markets might tighten and workers get more bargaining power to get raises. Markets also worry that if the economy grows too fast, the Federal Reserve might pull back from its policy of low interest rates.
What happened in this recovery is that we settled into trend growth before we bounced back and repaired the damage. That's why the job market in particular has taken so long to recover.
To assert that economists are having trouble figuring out the relationship between inflation and unemployment is like saying chefs can't figure out what to do with salt and pepper. It's that fundamental. Yet, we're befuddled, and that has powerful policy implications.
The widespread expansion of credit to car-buyers, especially to sub-prime borrowers, is beginning to cause some industry observers to cry "bubble." Is this economic progress?
Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen made waves in her Congressional testimony last week when she argued that social media and biotech stocks were over-valued. She also said that the price of junk bonds was out of line with historic experience. By making these assertions in a highly visible public forum, Yellen was using the power of the Fed's megaphone to stem the growth of incipient bubbles. This is an approach that some of us have advocated for close to twenty years.
America loves an underdog, a scrappy competitor who manages to beat the odds. By staying so low for so long, interest rates have not only beaten the odds in recent years, they've laughed right in their face. The question is, how long can interest rates keep doing it?
If GDP growth is that dependent on workforce growth, and 1990s growth repeats itself -- which was the longest uninterrupted economic expansion in our history that also gave us four years of budget surpluses -- then we may see the next generation about to take charge. They could turn out to be much more industrious than we know!
Germany represents everything that's wrong with the world financial system. Argentina is the epic case of countries whose economies are screwed by policies championed by Germany -- and unfortunately by the United States as well.
We will not see a real recovery that puts even the long term unemployed back to work, until the mountain of private debt is reduced. And that can't happen until we create full employment policies that continue to create more jobs on Main Street.
We, humans, are the source for creating something new. We are the source for creating new systems, organizations, governments and a world that actually works for all people. And a world that can be so much more thrilling, unpredictable and abundant. We can make it all up... again.
Jamie Dimon is currently both chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase without a succession plan. You may also recall that prior to the London Whale debacle...
If you asked the average person how they feel about the Federal Reserve's latest economic projection that trimmed its estimate of 2014 U.S. GDP growth to a range of 2.1-2.3 percent, they would probably say that's not so hot -- not a recession, but quite depressing nonetheless.