This week included the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur -- The Day of Atonement. This ritual of self-examination and seeking forgiveness is one we could all benefit from. And as this week's headlines demonstrate, there is certainly no shortage of opportunities for public figures to do so. The day after the head of the Secret Service resigned, it was revealed that, just last week, a man impersonating a Congressman had gotten backstage at an event attended by President Obama. In Texas, health officials disclosed that the doctors who saw the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S. initially sent him home, thinking he had a low-level infection. And while Friday's jobs numbers delivered the lowest unemployment rate since 2008, participation in the labor force is at its lowest level in 36 years. No matter which religious traditions you embrace, there's never a bad time for sober reflection on how we, as individuals and as a country, could be doing better.
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.