Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Quotes of the day

While happiness increases along with annual household incomes up to about $75,000, beyond that, earning more money has no effect on day-to-day contentment, according to the study. But that doesn't mean you should give up trying to get that promotion. While making more won't help your emotional state on any given day, people who had household incomes above $75,000 were more apt to say they were satisfied overall with their life. Those who made, say, $120,000 reported more satisfaction with their lives and had a higher assessment of their life overall than those who made less, while those who made $160,000 evaluated their lives even better still.--Jenifer Goodwin

All of the above leads us to conclude that America faces not only a crisis of confidence among consumers unwilling to spend and businesspeople unwilling to invest, but also a crisis of leadership. So long as our leaders tell us that we must trust them to regulate and redistribute our way back to prosperity, we will not break out of this economic quagmire. One can hope only that this Administration, composed of brilliant academics that have had experience in creating the very regulation and overseeing the very institutions that have failed, has learned from its mistakes and will set us down the right path. Perhaps our leaders will awaken to the fact that free market capitalism is the best system to allocate resources and create innovation, growth and jobs. Perhaps they will see the folly of generating greater deficits by "investing" in programs that lead to corruption and distortions of the system. Perhaps too, a cloven-hoofed, bristly haired mammal will become airborne and the rosette-like marking of a certain breed of ferocious feline will become altered. In other words, we are not holding our breath and are focused instead on navigating these murky waters for the benefit of our funds.--Daniel Loeb

It’s hard not to feel sympathy for Obama’s plight. In both Israel/Palestine and Afghanistan, he inherited a deteriorating situation on the ground, and a political debate in Washington that dramatically constrains his ability to respond. But the promise of the Obama campaign was that the old constraints would no longer apply, that policymakers would have the courage and creativity to respond in fundamentally different ways. It’s a bit like the situation John F. Kennedy inherited in 1961. As a thoughtful, sophisticated man, he could see that the Cold War discourse he had inherited—which was premised on a unified communist threat—bore little resemblance to reality, now that the USSR and China were at each other’s throat. Yet for all his promises to “think anew,” he never effectively challenged the politically comfortable assumptions that imprisoned his foreign policy. And as a result, he continued down the path toward war in Vietnam. I hope I’m proven wrong, but right now it’s easy to imagine historians saying of Obama what they sometimes said of Kennedy: that he was smarter than he was brave.--Peter Beinart

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