In other news, better-than-expected earnings from several companies, combined with strong housing figures pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 9,000 for the first time since January, and three mayors in New Jersey were arrested on corruption charges.

Question: How is the U.S. savings rate, which has gone from near zero percent in the past to 6.9 percent recently, determined? And a more elaborate question: Is it truly the difference between what is earned and what is…