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Why is it so easy for us to put off doing the things we know would make life better only to continue doing the things that gratify us now? Even when we commit to long-term goals like diet, exercise, saving or planning, we marvel at how easily we are distracted by momentary temptations. The problem in a neurological nutshell is that we have a flaw built into our brains - we overvalue immediate gains at the expense of long-term opportunities or costs.

Welcome to the Beacon Weekend Reader: Our weekly compilation of interesting articles and videos designed to keep you informed and engaged in the areas of economics, personal finance and life. We hope you enjoy this week's edition. Please send us your thoughts on this week's articles and suggestions for future posts.  Have a great weekend.

Despite the disruption of a two-week shutdown and media warnings of impending financial doom if the debt ceiling was not raised, the stock market and the Treasury market have done surprisingly well. Both, of course, have more to do with continued government influence than with economic drivers.

Welcome to the Beacon Weekend Reader: Our weekly compilation of interesting articles and videos designed to keep you informed and engaged in the areas of economics, personal finance and life. We hope you enjoy this week's edition. Please send us your thoughts on this week's articles and suggestions for future posts.  Have a great weekend.

The barricades are down, the parks, monuments, and museums are open, the pandas are back on TV, licenses, passports, and IRS letters are being issued, and government workers can resume work and consuming. Headlines focus on the futility of the effort and disarray within the Republican Party, with some suggesting 'civil war.' Traditional backers from main street to Wall Street are furious with both the Tea Party and the leaders who allowed the derailment. And Democrats are doing their best not to gloat.

These are difficult times for Americans as we watch in disbelief our government's continued dysfunctionality in the face of impending crisis. The rising shrill of the media and political jabs only make matters worse. We wanted to share some facts we hope will assuage fears and put the current situation in a more realistic context.

Welcome to the Beacon Weekend Reader: Our weekly compilation of interesting articles and videos designed to keep you informed and engaged in the areas of economics, personal finance and life. We hope you enjoy this week's edition. Please send us your thoughts on this week's articles and suggestions for future posts.  Have a great weekend.

The real tragedy facing America is not the latest debt ceiling debate, or government shutdown, or for that matter, whether the Fed decides to 'taper' or not. Rather, it is the lack of engagement by far too many Americans to understand things as basic as how our government works, how ill-suited our welfare system is for lifting people from poverty, and how unchecked growth in government entitlements will eventually swamp our economy. Given today's headlines, let's focus on the first one.

Welcome to the Beacon Weekend Reader: Our weekly compilation of interesting articles and videos designed to keep you informed and engaged in the areas of economics, personal finance and life. We hope you enjoy this week's edition. Please send us your thoughts on this week's articles and suggestions for future posts.  Have a great weekend.

Here we sit, once again in fiscal crisis as our leaders fail to lead by compromise. Both Democrats and Republicans risk potential political backlash if they fail to find a way forward before the government runs out of money and technically defaults on its debts.