Robert J. Samuelson

Show Kids The Money?

One of my bad habits is contemplating my failures as a parent. The evidence of this surrounds me. My teenagers watch too much television and spend too much time on videogames (even though we remove the controllers during the week).

The Spirit Of America

We Americans, charter members of a get-with-it-now society, don't have much use for history. But we should. In this new year, we face momentous uncertainties: war (or wars), a weak economy.

The 'Mature Worker' Glut

I am what's now called a "mature worker," a new phrase with a bright future. It's one of those innocent-sounding euphemisms that clutter the language but seem unavoidable in an age when no one--except TV and radio talking heads--wants to offend anyone.

The Economic Impact Of War

It is Feb. 7, 2003, just after American troops have seized several Iraqi airfields to be used as staging areas. Suddenly, Scud missiles--armed with both chemical and conventional warheads--strike the airfields.

The (New) Sick Man Of Europe

If there's a threat of dangerous deflation--a general fall in prices--the causes lie as much in Europe and Japan as in the United States. The inevitable collapse of America's speculative boom need not have been especially damaging if the world's other advanced economies were healthy.

Consumers' Last Hurrah?

Let us contemplate and celebrate the true heroes of the economy--American consumers. Uncowed by terrorism and decimated stock prices, these stalwarts of the mall have combated economic stagnation here and, through imports, abroad.

Brazil's New Global Fears

Brazil's presidential election represents a final unraveling of the so-called Washington consensus: a broad set of ideas, generally favoring free markets and free trade, that promised faster economic growth for developing countries.

Recovery Or Recession?

We are at a loss for words. If nothing else, this baffling economy has defeated the vocabulary of economics. We are supposed to be in a "recovery," but it doesn't feel like one.

A War We Can Afford

A possible war with Iraq raises many unknowns, but "can we afford it?" is not one of them. People inevitably ask that question, forgetting that the United States has become so wealthy it can wage war almost with pocket change.

J. P. Morgan Rises Again

One improbable irony of this summer's financial turmoil has been the quiet rehabilitation of J. P. Morgan--the most powerful private banker in the nation's history and, for many years, a poster boy for the dangers of concentrated wealth.

Let's Hope For Gridlock

Among right-thinking people, political gridlock--that is, partisan paralysis--is considered a deplorable obstacle to progressive government. To those more skeptical of Washington politics, gridlock is often a godsend.

The Media's Heavy Hand

In his classic book "Manias, Panics, and Crashes," the economic historian Charles P. Kindleberger divides all financial manias into three rough phases. In the first, people discover the world has improved in some unanticipated way.

How The Wsj Is Like Jell-O

If you read the Wall Street Journal, you got a surprise April 9: a redesigned paper. It had a new section, Personal Journal, that was filled with what we in the business call "news you can use." One story asked, "Should overweight kids take pills?" Another explored American Express's mysterious, ultra-elite "black card" that presumes at least $150,000 of spending a year.


It may turn out that the "digital divide"--one of the most fashionable political slogans of recent years--is largely fiction. As you will recall, the argument went well beyond the unsurprising notion that the rich would own more computers than the poor.

The Last Great Bull Market

One surprising aspect of this surprising economy is housing. About 18 months ago, neighbors of mine sold their home for about 25 percent more than I thought--in my wildest imagination--it was worth.

An Education In Cynicism

College admissions in America has become an overwrought and frenzied ritual, driven by the anxieties of striving students and middle-class parents who worry that if Stephen and Suzie don't get into the "right" college their lives will be ruined.

Optimists--Or Just Dreamers?

We need to avoid the nostalgia factor--a longing for the late lamented economic boom that clouds our vision and corrodes our judgment. People understandably yearn to return to the good old days of the late 1990s.

The New Coin Of The Realm

The other day I visited my local bank and bought $30 each of French francs, German marks and Italian lire. I have no immediate need for them or the Spanish pesetas, Greek drachmas or Dutch guilders that I might also have purchased.

Broadband's Faded Promise

"What this country needs is a really good five-cent cigar." --Thomas Riley Marshall, Vice President of the United States, 1913-1921To paraphrase and adjust the math: what this country needs is a really good $500 billion technology--something to reignite popular enthusiasm and the economy.

Requiem For The Jet Age?

What's happening now to the airline industry is part personal tragedy and part national trauma: all the hijacking and crash deaths, all the recent unemployment and a loss of freedom for us all.

Don't Rescue The Airlines

The history of air travel in America has many landmark events: the Wright brothers' first flight in 1903; the introduction of the DC-3 in 1936; the start of jet travel in 1958; Congress's decision in 1978 to end government fare and route controls through "deregulation." To these dates can now be added September 11, which has virtually destroyed the airline industry as we know it.

Companies Are Maxed Out Too

Jerry Jasinowski doesn't need new problems. As president of the National Association of Manufacturers, he already has a surplus. Industrial production has dropped for 12 consecutive months, the longest stretch since late 1944 and 1945.

Economic Shockwaves

The target zone was the heart of America's financial district, and if the intent was to wound the U.S. economy, then the timing as much as the place could not have been better chosen.