Look, let’s not beat around the bush: Wall Street economists, as a group, well, they suck.
Most of them did not see the crisis coming; many were deep in denial about the recession long after it started. They missed the housing boom and bust, the credit crisis. They continued to see phantom bottoms and false recoveries again and again.
In general, they were institutionally biased, preternaturally accepting of questionable data, and wed to outmoded belief systems of efficient markets. Oh, and if you listened to their advice, you lost shitloads of money.
Now, I don’t wish to paint with too broad a brush. There were plenty of individual economists who have done an outstanding job in terms of 1) seeing the coming crisis; 2) making reality-based observations about the present situation; and 3) provided helpful insight to investors and traders. Not to name names, but you frequently see their superior work highlighted here.
It reminds me of an grad school classmate, a fellow cum laude — an amusing asshole who obnoxiously said at graduation “those of us in the top 10% want to thank the rest of you for making all this possible.” Rude, but with an element of truthiness in it: You can’t have outstanding anything without a vast bulk of mediocrities.
Which brings me back to the original question: Why should anyone listen to these folks as a group? Do we want to get it wrong yet again, or do you still have some remaining cash to lose . . . ?
Economists Raise U.S. Outlook as Recession Fades, Survey Shows
Shobhana Chandra and Alex Tanzi
Bloomberg, July 10 2009
Economists See Fed on Hold Until 2010 Amid Jobs Weakness
WSJ, JUNE 11, 2009