More evidence of a stronger economy

The economy's underlying strength, which was obscured during the campaign, is becoming more obvious by the day. While weekly jobless claims rose slightly, they're still lower than analysts expected, according to CBS Marketwatch. The closely watched four-week moving average actually fell. The trade deficit is declining and oil prices have dropped to $47 a barrel. They appear to be heading lower, the winter home-heating season notwithstanding. Now we need to see whether this strength in the economy helps reduce the budget deficit. I expect it will.

It's a good start, but there's still a lot of work to be done. As concerns over the immediate problems ease, the country can move on to face the really big economic issues: social security, health care and long-term U.S. competitiveness.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.