Here are four smart people (Lee Ohanian, Arnold Kling, John Cochrane and Russ Roberts) discussing the economy -- and the very big question of whether to be an optimist or a pessimist. Listen to the whole thing.
Do we take our many unfunded liabilities seriously? Do we then pursue economic growth? How about the many people who never consider these in the same discussion? In our overly long presidential election campaign (does it ever stop?) we get the freak parade that both parties muster; this has to make any observer tilt to the negative.
What to do? First, avoid (ignore) the daily news. Second read works like Robert Fogel's Escape from Hunger and Angus Deaton's The Great Escape. There is nothing like economic history.
It is also the week of the Pluto fly-by. Wright Bros flight in 1903. Man on Moon just 66 years later. Man-made object reaches edge of solar system 46 years after that. It's always a race between what our better angels and our worst instincts come up with. I keep betting on our better angels.