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SO LONG as we're on the doleful subject of the economy, why do the experts insist on telling us the things that we already know? The script arrives every day from Washington via the media and I keep hoping that sometime soon somebody will flub his or her lines and invents a new way to teach old economists new tricks that doesn't include reducing interest rates to subatomic levels. It is nothing more than psychological warfare with a very brief shelf life. Even to an amateur like me, it doesn't seem to be working. All of this came to mind when I noted this lift-out quote in the Beacon Journal from Sandra Pianalto, president and chief executive of the Federal Reserve in Cleveland. Speaking to the Cleveland City Club, Ms Pianalto observed:
"The financial stress is raising the cost of credit, restricting the availability of credit and inducing cautious behavior by borrowers and lenders. All of this is reducing spending by both businesses and consumers."
She also said she has changed her earlier forecast of an "economic slowdown" to, from all appearances, a recession. I have felt for some time that we were dealing with semantics with the r-word here and the many people who are hurting today couldn't care less about the textbook terms offered by people who aren't hurting .
Meantime, although it won't help retail sales, I'm returning my copy of Economics for Dummies for a bailout.