Friday Five: If yours is a family inclined to Sunday dinner conversations, then you know there are a handful of subjects generally off the table: sex, religion, politics and money.

That leaves precious little about which to chat, except for the weather and your sibling’s awful spouse, that last one guaranteed to have someone leaving the room unpleasantly.

Inevitably one of those “no-no” topics slithers onto the table. Those are subjects about which everyone has an opinion — and about which most of us know little more than a couple headlines worth of facts.

This week has been bewildering for the economics-high-finance-challenged among us. In case you missed them, or just flat out didn’t bother since you were busy making your own ends meet, here’s this week’s Friday Five: lessons in economics.

All the better for that Sunday dinner.

* Capitalism good. Crony capitalism bad. Who knew?

* Bail out the Greeks? Sure. Italy? Not so much. I guess they like Greeks better than Italians. The seat-of-your-econ-chair agreement that was two-years give or take a couple months in the making appears to be an outline with not much in the way of details. Now the hard work begins.

* The U.S. economy grew more than all those ugly August and September “oh, lands, a double dip is inevitable” talking heads bloviated upon. I swear, if we¬† could muzzle 24-7 “news” channels and talk radio, the world would be less stressful place and we might actually get some traction on getting things done. But, that would be unkind to the First Amendment, so tune out the cacophony.

* Are those Occupy Wall Street people “half naked, over-educated, children of the privileged, preening Socialists” or just regular Americans annoyed with what they perceive as “take from the poor and give to the rich” a sort of backwards Robin Hood thing? Probably both and more since few things — including economics and politics — are so either-or. Good to see the First Amendment flexing its muscles, too.

* And, then there’s 9-9-9 and similar plans from enthusiastic presidential candidates that start with “now, this won’t hurt a bit and we’ll be healthy, wealthy and wise to boot.” Sigh. Getting our fiscal house in order requires pain: raise revenue; cut expenses. Eat less; exercise more.

And, that comes from an original flat-tax kinda fan, folks. Steve Forbes and Bill Bradley, two New Jersey boys, did that song-and-dance back in the 1980s when I was editor at the Trenton (NJ) Times. I got to hear the original version.

And, there you have it. Economics and high finance lessons for the weekend dinner table or wherever your conversations lead you. May God smile upon you and yours.

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