4 forecasts for the economy

Hugo Lindgren of nymag.com writes a nice piece on economic forecasting and titles it nicely as  – The Downturnaround Is Here Or is it? A worrier’s guide to our economic future.

How do you feel about the economy today? A little worse, maybe, than you did two weeks ago? But a lot better than you did in March? Things feel better to me too, but I can’t explain exactly why. It might be because for most of last fall, I walked around in an apocalyptic trance, and you can’t keep that up forever. I was bewildered by the breadth and intensity of the financial crisis. Among other odd behavior, I convinced myself that if I learned everything there is to know about things like credit-default swaps and “Pick a Pay” Option ARMS, I could defend myself against a dysfunctional future.

Just as troubling as all this bad economic news is the immense uncertainty that comes with it. Are we in a recovery or aren’t we? And what does that mean anyway? I went in search of an informed outlook I could believe in, talking to as many forecasters as I could, and zeroing in on four who have a demonstrated track record of getting things right and not merely indulging in the fashionable positions of the moment. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised that they didn’t agree on much.

He writes about views of 4 economists/finance experts on the economy. Not surprisingly he gets 4 answers:

  • Robert Gordon, economics professor at Northwestern University – Recovery is at hand
  • Gary Shilling, economist – the Recovery Is Not at Hand!
  • Jeremy Grantham, fund manager  –  Yes, a Recovery Is at Hand, but It’s a Fake!
  • Peter Schiff , Stockbroker – There Will Be No Recovery!

Take your pick.

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