The Dismal Economist’s Joyless Triumph

Even if Barack Obama and other world leaders do everything right, the US and the global economy are in for a difficult period. The question is not only how long the recession will last, but how robust recovery will be when it finally arrives.

NEW YORK – I have long been forecasting that it was only a matter of time before America’s housing bubble – which began in the early days of this decade, supported by a flood of liquidity and lax regulation – would pop. The longer the bubble expanded, the larger the explosion and the greater (and more global) the resulting downturn would be.ampnbsp;

Economists are good at identifying underlying forces, but they are not so good at timing. The dynamics are, however, much as anticipated. America is still on a downward trajectory for 2009 – with grave consequences for the world as a whole.

For example, as their tax revenues plummet, state and local governments are in the process of cutting back their expenditures. American exports are about to decline. Consumer spending is plummeting, as expected. There has been an enormous decrease in (perceived) wealth, in the trillions, with the decline in house and stock prices. Besides, most Americans were living beyond their means, using their houses, with their bloated values, as collateral. That game is up.ampnbsp;

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