Defining Recessions; Mis-defining NBER

Here’s another of those articles that look so embarrassing one year later:

Can you imagine an article that insinuates that the government, not an independent academic commission, was the more objective arbiter of data? That argued we should let the pols decide when recessions start and end?

Insane, right?

Let’s go to our WTF were you thinking file:

“But what exactly is a recession? The popular definition is two consecutive quarters of economic contraction. But NBER provides a little more room for judgment with its definition of “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real gross domestic product, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.” Justice Potter Stewart might have had more succinct wording than NBER: “I know it when I see it.”

Why not let the federal government be the arbiter of when we are in a recession? After all, the federal government collects and disseminates economic data, and by all accounts quite credibly.

WTF planet do you live on buddy?¬†¬† I would bet that the majority of savvy knowledgable watchers of markets and economic releases would laugh their arses off at the phrase: “by all accounts quite credibly.”

I am not sure what the author was trying to prove, but pretty much everything in this article is shite . . .


What NBER Does: The ‘R-Word’
NY Sun, August 14, 2008

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