David Wessel

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is an well known economics journalist with The Wall Street Journal and a Pulitzer prize winner (shared) and author. He is the newspaper's Washington-based economics editor and writes its weekly Capital Column.

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davidmwessel22 karma

Economists don't make for very good jokes. I do like the one about the three econometricians who went deer hunting. The first shot, and missed to about 10 feet to the left. The second shot, and missed about 10 feet to the right. And the third one said: "We got him!"

davidmwessel12 karma

You need to know enough statistics to know when they're being misused.

davidmwessel8 karma

1) Read The Wall Street Journal every day (and I'm not kidding.) 2) The insights of economics are not found exclusively in the math even though some economists have forgotten that. Read some economic history, maybe even some primary sources or biographies of great economists. 3) Ask your professors how economics can make life better for people.

davidmwessel7 karma

You've put your finger on a HUGE problem. You should, by the way, consult the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau if you need advice about your options (if there are any) http://www.consumerfinance.gov/students/

Going forward, we've seen the president make some proposals here to (a) make more broadly available a federal program that ties loan repayment to your income and (b) help students and parents become better consumers of higher education. College remains a very good investment, one worth borrowing for, but not all higher ed is worth the price and some loans are better than others.

davidmwessel6 karma

People have been predicting the dollar crash for some time now, and it hasn't arrived. One reason: There's no serious rival for the dollar. Euro? Europe can't even decide to have a currency. Japan? Until recently it was stuck in the mud, and even now it's pursuing a policy that will reduce the yen's value? China? Sometime, but not for a long time, not until it has more transparency and respect for property rights. The dollar could still have a long run yet.

davidmwessel6 karma

I worry a lot about the next few years. We have a lot of lingering misery from the financial crisis and Great Recession, and we're not doing enough to relieve it. We are settling for too little growth, and gridlock in Washington is getting in the way of any strategy (whether conservative or liberal) to change that. I find myself optimistic about the future, but it's more faith (in my kids' generation and in American resilience) than reason.

davidmwessel6 karma

Read a lot, and learn some math and statistics, and study another language.

davidmwessel6 karma

The one that tries to figure out how the heck we fell into such a deep abyss in 2008 and how we can avoid a repeat.

davidmwessel5 karma

By the way, there are all great questions. I'm getting a real work out here!

davidmwessel5 karma

Gosh. We try. I certainly am committed to that, and think about it every time I start typing. The trick is to know enough jargon to speak to the high priests and enough substance to translate it into ordinary English. When you see something that you think the WSJ has made incomprehensible, send it to me.