Thursday, January 8, 2009

100% Chance of 40% Chance of 10% Decline= 4,000% Chance of Depression

The only two things you can rely on this blog for are wild speculation and irresponsible fear-mongering. It is in that spirit that we present this true fact: Nate Silver, the only man in the world you should trust other than your own father, is reporting that there is a 40% CHANCE THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A DEPRESSION!!!! NOOOO!!!!!! EVERYBODY OUT THE WINDOW! SELL! SELL OH GOD SELL!!!!!

Did you all sell and then jump out the window? No? Okay, then, here is what Nate wrote:

"According to a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted last month, 35 percent of Americans think that a "depression" -- which the poll defines as "an economic downturn that is much more severe than most recessions and would last several years" -- is very likely, and another 39 percent think it's at least somewhat likely."

That's scary. But Nate says wait a minute!

"But there is a somewhat more precise definition of a depression (although by no means is it one universally agreed upon by economists): that is a 10 percent decline in real GDP over the course of a year or more. This is the definition that the predictions market Intrade uses. And the latest trade at Intrade just put the chances of a depression occurring at some point in 2009 at 40 percent..."

According to Wonkette, which is where we first saw this, Intrade is a bunch of idiots who bet on what other people are predicting, not what they themselves actually believe, which is a good enough definition for us. But then Nate has more things to say about the number 40%:

"This is a shockingly high figure, both on its face and because I'm not sure that even the most pessimistic economists would place the chances of a sustained 10 percent decline in GDP at anywhere near 40 percent."

So Phil Gramm was right and we are a nation of stupid whining babies who should shut the hell up. Things won't be so bad, guys. Here is some more potentially good news from the wonderful people over at Marginal Revolution:

The TED spread is at 1.34, sharply lower. (improved)

Here is more on the progress of other economic indicators. None of it is sign of recovery, rather it represents progress toward having a "normal bad recession" rather than a major financial crisis.

That is the best news we've ever heard.

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