“One of the weirdest, most perceptually jarring things about the economic crisis is that everything looks the same. We are told every day and in every news venue that we are in Great Depression II, that we are in a crisis, a cataclysm, a meltdown, the credit crunch from hell, that we will lose millions of jobs, and that the great abundance is over and may never return. … And yet when you free yourself from media and go outside for a walk, everything looks . . . the same.” –Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan

“Unemployment is still below 7 percent; it was around 25 percent when Franklin Roosevelt became president. Less than 20 banks have failed, not the 4,000 that went under in the first part of 1933.” –Hoover Institution historian Victor Davis Hanson

“I desperately hope that circumstances will force Obama to repudiate his past. At present we do not know whether this will happen; and so far, I have seen nothing to suggest that it will. Unlike those who see in the emerging shape of his administration evidence that he will be a pragmatic centrist, I do not think it necessarily shows anything of the kind.” –British journalist Melanie Phillips

“If we don’t know the constitutional limits placed on Congress and the White House, politicians can do just about anything they wish to control our lives, from deciding what kind of light bulbs we can use to whether the government can take over our health care system or bailout failing businesses. We just think Congress can do anything upon which they can get a majority vote.” –George Mason University economics professor Walter E. Williams

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” –President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

“The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.” –British author and economist Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)

“Reaching consensus in a group is often confused with finding the right answer.” –American writer Norman Mailer (1923-2007)

“If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.” –American author and humorist Mark Twain (1835-1910)

“In the old days — from the Venetian Republic to, oh, the Bear Stearns rescue — if you wanted to get rich, you did it the Warren Buffett way: You learned to read balance sheets. Today you learn to read political tea leaves. If you want to make money on Wall Street (or keep from losing your shirt), you do it not by anticipating Intel’s third-quarter earnings but by guessing instead what side of the bed Henry Paulson will wake up on tomorrow.” –columnist Charles Krauthammer

“We’ve moved beyond show me the money. This is throw me the money.” –economist Lawrence Kudlow

“The costs of Washington’s bailout fiesta are now so huge, you can see them from space. The latest number, which includes the Citigroup rescue, is $7.7 trillion. That’s roughly half of America’s GDP.” –National Review editor Jonah Goldberg

“Bill Clinton agreed to extensive scrutiny to help get Hillary the secretary of state post. He may have to give up his speaking engagements. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton will have to grapple with age-old battles between mortal enemies, like Sunnis and Shiites, Israelis and Palestinians, and Bill Clinton and spare time.” –comedian Argus Hamilton

Jay Leno: tell you, the economy is bad. In fact — you know the White House turkey? Turned down the pardon. Said all his money’s in the market. Nothing left to live for. … In political news, President-elect Barack Obama has named Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state. I am no political expert. I don’t pretend to know much about international affairs. But speaking strictly as a late-night talk show host, a Clinton back in office? Yes!