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Latest Issue

The Good News/Bad News Economy

February 23, 2024

Recently I saw a T-shirt for sale that said, “Science Doesn’t Care What You Think.” I used a similar metaphor recently, observing how many experiments show that jumping off a cliff will send you rapidly downward. If you want to test that theory, please add me to your will first.

But it’s different when the “science” is economics. Using that kind of analysis, we would observe that jumping off a cliff works more like Wile E. Coyote did it. You might or might not fall but if you do, you can first stand there in mid-air for a minute. This is what they call “lagged effects.”

Of course, the economy is far more complex than coyotes vs. gravity. We don’t even know what all the inputs are, much less know with any certainty what they will produce. The best we can do is get in the general vicinity of correct. Oftentimes, we struggle just to get the direction right.

Yet even that is tough when economic forecasters can so easily work backwards, starting with the desired conclusion and then finding data to “prove” it. Such data is always there. It’s not even hard to find. You just have to be willing to ignore the parts that don’t fit.

Today I want to demonstrate this by first showing how the economy is in great shape and nowhere near recession. Then I’ll do the opposite, telling you why the economy is terrible and will probably get much worse in the near future. Then I’ll conclude with what may be a way to reconcile these seemingly opposite outlooks.

No Imminent Danger

We’ll start...

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