The Independence Day holiday in the United States is a chance for a celebration and it gives observers the opportunity for an earnest look at the state of the US, as a country. For us of an economic tint, it seems the picture has become a lot rosier in the past week, certainly worthy of a few fireworks in its own right.
Industry shutdown, the construction sector could not operate in places where the ground was frozen like concrete and output slipped. From an economist's point of view this posed an interesting question. Was the weather weakening output and underlying strength would be seen as soon as the snow thawed? Or were deeper structural issues being masked by the weather?
How can President Obama make good on his campaign promises to strengthen the welfare state, invest in America's crumbling infrastructure and preserve American leadership in world affairs - all in a period of sluggish growth and continued economic uncertainty? The president will have the first of two important opportunities to provide some answers at his inauguration this Sunday.
Investors were clearly thinking along traditional lines last week and wanted Romney, but the Obama victory doesn't have to be such a bad result for them. Chances of reaching a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff have increased a little bit with the outcome of these elections. And the outlook for getting to a more comprehensive agreement on getting back on a healthy fiscal track have improved somewhat with a second-term president and less power for the Tea Party.
More than 1,000 people live in dirty, rat-infested underground flood tunnels way beneath Caesar's Palace at The Luxor casino hotels. Disease and highly poisonous spiders are the major concern. Begging and 'dumpster diving' for food is how they survive. Many of those who call this home are former war veterans or those who came to Las Vegas in pursuit of the American dream. Drink, drugs and depression are now their way of life. So, who do the residents of underground Vegas want to win on Tuesday? I'll be finding out as I spend the next few days broadcasting for Sky News from Nevada.
Mark my words the 2012 Presidential Election is all going to come down to Ohio. Other swing states like Florida, Virginia and Colorado are going to be important but looking at the electoral map, all roads lead to the buckeye state and its 18 Electoral College votes. The candidates know it and Ohio knows it too.
As most of us are on holiday now or heading off for one soon, the nation is now firmly immersed in a state of summer relaxation - boosted by the euphoria of Team GB's golden run and the Olympic Games. When it comes to the prospects for our credit rating, the government should embrace the summer spirit and, as Dave would put it, 'chillax' a little too.
The mantra of growth as a cure to the economic malaise that is engulfing Europe and the US is repeated ad nauseam by economists and political pundits. My training is in engineering science, not economics, so let us not be encumbered by economic dogma or theory. Let us go back to first principles to examine some of the prevailing economic axioms.