You know all those economists who failed to predict the 2008-09 recession and then warned of a depression but now are saying that we’re recovering, but don’t expect a robust recovery?
Why do we believe these jokers?
In August, in the course of a week, I heard presentations from three different big-time economists who said essentially the same thing: “We’re easing out of the recession but don’t expect a quick or robust recovery.” These guys were PhDs from big time universities but, frankly, their predictions sounded straight out of CYA Junior College.
I wanted one of them to be bold and say, “It may look like a recovery, but actually we’re all going to hell in a handcart of triple-dipping, back flipping recessions” or, conversely, “If I were you, I wouldn’t be here — I’d be out planning how you’re going to keep up with the gang-busting, explosive growth we’re about to experience.”
But economists don’t talk like that. They are a cautious bunch. Or, maybe the adjective is “mushy.”
I recalled those mushy economists recently when I read that the IMF was reporting that globally, the economy was recovering more rapidly and robustly than anticipated.
And then, Thursday morning, I heard a short piece on American Public Media’s Marketplace in which the ever-thoughtful economics writer Chris Farrell actually came out and said the phrase, “strong economic recovery.” No buts or “other hands” either. A caveat-free prediction.
Here’s a direct quote from Farrell:
“If you look at the previous nine downturns in our economy, the recoveries have always been stronger than expected. Well we just went through the longest, deepest downturn since the 1930s. You know what I say? I think history is going to repeat itself.
One last thought: I don’t think Farrell is technically “an economist” — he sure doesn’t talk like one.