The question is as old as the Book of Genesis itself – what is the cost of free will? Of freedom? In any society, there is a continuum of tradeoffs between freedom and security. Depending on how much power we were willing or able to give to those in charge, we could choose, theoretically, to have near-perfect security without much freedom or have near-total freedom without a lot of security.

With the presidential campaign under way, expect to hear a lot more about a shiny new toy of progressive economic thinking, “modern monetary theory.”

‘If it bleeds, it leads”—the old journalistic saying is true among the financial media. The most recent source of media-inspired economic anxiety is the idea that earnings growth is too good and American companies are reaching “peak” earnings.

INTERVENTI E REPLICHE Come spiegare Donald Trump agli italiani Molto spesso i miei amici, sapendo che io sono d’origine italiana e un amante dell’Italia, mi chiedono se Donald Trump è il nostro Berlusconi.

‘I happen to believe that the business model of Wall Street,” Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said earlier this year, “is fraud and deception.” Hillary Clinton is only slightly more subtle. “I went to Wall Street,” she said in the recent Democratic debate, “in December of 2007—before the big crash that we had—and I basically said, ‘Cut it out! Quit foreclosing on homes! Quit engaging in these kinds of speculative behaviors!’ ”

Barron’s “I’ll give you 3:1 odds you can’t come within 500 of the number of people who work at our embassy in Baghdad,” challenged one of my knucklehead friends at Rothmann’s on a recent Monday night.

Ernest Hemingway once said “the first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.”

One wonders how Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner can sleep soundly at night with the knowledge that more than 60% of America's sovereign debt is set to mature within the next three years. To be precise, $5.2 trillion of U.S debt comes due in the next three years out of $8.3 trillion outstanding.

It was on Aug. 12, 1982, that the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped to its 1980-82 recession low of 776.92—almost precisely where the Index had closed in January 1964.