From the Los Angeles Times, December 16, 2009
Spend or save — what’s an American supposed to do?
by STEVE LOPEZ
If you listen to politicians, analysts and pundits, you’ll hear it both ways, along with a lot of conflicting and indecipherable gibberish. Economist Christopher Thornberg has some answers.
So here I am at the Beverly Center, looking at a pair of $228 jeans from Bloomingdale’s, and I can’t remember my duty as an American:
Am I supposed to buy these overpriced trousers and everything else in sight to help fuel the economic recovery?
Or am I supposed to stifle the consumptive urge and sock away every spare nickel and dime, because the national buying binge helped cause the crash and I could be out of work by Friday?
If you listen to politicians, analysts and pundits, you’ll hear it both ways, along with a lot more conflicting and indecipherable gibberish.
Consumer confidence is up. Consumer spending is down.
The recovery is kicking into gear. We’re headed for another cliff.
Real estate is coming back strong. The foreclosures have only just begun.
It can all be pretty confusing for a layperson like myself. So I asked economist Christopher Thornberg, who saw the housing meltdown coming long before most of his colleagues, to meet me at the mall and help clear things up.
You know what, though?
I don’t need an economist to tell me that only a moron would pay $228 for a pair of jeans. I dropped them back on the pile faster than you can spell T-A-R-G-E-T.
And that’s when I met up with Thornberg, founding director of Beacon Economics, a California-based research firm that puts out a quarterly economic forecast.
Over a cup of coffee near Bloomingdale’s, Thornberg assured me I’m not crazy to think I’m getting mixed signals on the economy. He also said I’m not likely to hear the truth from either Washington politicians or Wall Street barons.
And what exactly is the truth, at least as Thornberg sees it?
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