A Level Gaze

"What effect must it have on a nation if it learns no foreign languages? Probably much the same as that which a total withdrawal from society has upon an individual."
--G.C. Lichtenberg



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Sunday, August 04, 2002
 
It seems that many economists, who provide the data and opinions upon which public and investment policies are based, are nothing more than whores.

The glum labor report, which helped send the stock market down again, came as a number of economists moved from expecting a strong recovery in the second half of the year to concern that the economy might face a longer period of weak growth. Reinforcing that impression, the Commerce Department reported yesterday that factory orders fell sharply in June, indicating a setback in industrial output after several months of improvement.

Supposedly, these are the people who keep on top of trends and developments in...oh yes, the economy. Surely they were privy to the spate of recent awful economic data and the impossibility of real improvements in the near- to mid-term. After all, it was their consensus that the 1Q 2002 GDP bounce was powered by a dropoff in inventory reduction, and not much else. Nothing else improved. It's this blogger's guess that they are bailing out of unrealistically positive analyses they were holding on behalf of some entrenched interests, perhaps in the interest of keeping the roar over corporate malfeasance to a minimum, or making their tax cut plans look a little less ridiculous. In any event, things are getting to the point where our esteemed economists can no longer keep the blinders on, for fear of bursting into flames.