Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Business Insider Interview

I spoke with Joe Weisenthal at Business Insider yesterday. He wrote a way too nice article and included some of our conversation: The Genius Who Invented Economics Blogging Reveals How He Got Everything Right And What's Coming Next

Genius? Hardly. I just paid attention and put 2 plus 2 together.

And I didn't get "everything right", but I did get most of the US macro trends correct over the last 8 years. I started blogging in January 2005, and most of my early posts were about housing, as an example: Housing: Speculation is the Key

And I definitely didn't invent economics blogging. Barry Ritholtz and others were ahead of me.

In the interview, I mentioned the "doomer" mentality. Many people now think of the '90s as a great decade for the economy - and it was. But there were doomsday predictions every year. As an example, in 1994 Larry Kudlow was arguing the Clinton tax increases would lead to a severe recession or even Depression. Wrong. By the end of the '90s, there were many people concerned about the stock bubble and I shared that concern, but there were doomers every year (mostly wrong).

In the Business Insider interview, I said: "I’m not a roaring bull, but looking forward, this is the best shape we’ve been in since ’97". Obviously the economy is still sluggish, and the unemployment rate is very high at 7.9%, but I was looking forward. I mentioned the downside risks from Europe and US policymakers (the fiscal slope), but I think the next few years could see a pickup in growth.

In the article I highlighted two of the reasons I expect a pickup in growth that I've mentioned before on the blog; a further increase in residential investment, and the end of the drag from state and local government cutbacks.

I also mentioned an excellent piece on autos from David Rosenberg back in early 2009. His piece made me think about auto sales - and I came to a different conclusion than Rosenberg, see: Vehicle Sales. I started expecting auto sales to bottom, and that led me to be more optimistic for the 2nd half of 2009.

I enjoyed talking with Joe - although he was way too nice - and, yes, that is a picture of me.

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