No surprise: the first move of the new Republican Senate is an attempt to push Barack Obama into approving pipeline. Photograph: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

It should come as no surprise that the very first move of the new Republican Senate is an attempt to push US president Barack Obama into approving (...)

President Barack Obama. ‘Now that he’s presiding over unexpected economic strength [his critics] can’t just turn around and assert his irrelevance.’ Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Suddenly, or so it seems, the US economy is looking better. Things have been looking up for a while, but at this point the signs of improvement – j(...)

Pussian president Vladimir Putin: he’s an ex-KGB man – which is to say, he spent his formative years as a professional thug. Photograph: EPA/Sergei Chirikov

More than a century has passed since Norman Angell, a British journalist and politician, published The Great Illusion, a treatise arguing that the age(...)

Wall Street overwhelmingly backed Mitt Romney in 2012, and invested heavily in Republicans once again this year. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

On Wall Street, 2010 was the year of “Obama rage” in which financial tycoons went ballistic over the president’s suggestion that some bankers helped c(...)

“We can now say with confidence the recovery’s weakness had nothing to do with Obama’s alleged anti-business slant”

Last week we got an actually good employment report – arguably the first truly good report in a long time. The US economy added well over 300,000 jobs(...)

German chancellor Angela Merkel and German minister of finance Wolfgang Schaeuble. EPA/RAINER JENSEN

The US economy seems to be climbing out of the hole it entered during the financial crisis. Unfortunately Europe can’t say the same. Unemployment in t(...)

The US Federal Reserve in Washington, DC. ‘We were also told repeatedly that printing money would lead to ‘currency debasement and inflation’. The Fed, to its credit, stood up to this pressure, but other central banks didn’t.’ Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Six years ago the Federal Reserve hit rock bottom. It had been cutting the federal funds rate, the interest rate it uses to steer the economy, fran(...)

Surely the exploding costs of Obamacare would lead to vast amounts of red ink, right? Well, no. Photograph:  Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The great American Ebola freak-out of 2014 seems to be over. The disease is still ravaging Africa, and as with any epidemic, there’s always a risk of (...)

The Affordable Care Act tries to establish more-or-less universal coverage through a “three-legged stool” of policies, all of which are needed to make the system work

My parents used to own a small house with a large backyard in which my mother cultivated a beautiful garden. At some point, however – I don’t remember(...)

 Ben Bernanke had the courage to defy all those tycoons demanding that they stop printing money. Photograph: Reuters/Jim Young

The Bank of Japan, the country’s equivalent of the Federal Reserve, has lately been making a big effort to end deflation, which has afflicted Japan’s (...)