Just How Bad IS the Economy? Does Anybody Really Know?

Is this pessimistic, or optimistic?

Well, Goldman Sachs says the economy could shrink 3.5 percent (most likely), 6 percent (possibly) or 7.8 percent (Eeek!) this quarter. Economist Lyle Gramley of the Stanford Group now thinks a 5 percent drop is likely.

Does anyone really know the current state of the economy? Are estimates like this trustworthy, or are people gaming the numbers to justify more and greater government handouts? Certainly, the automakers (and their puppet masters the UAW) are engaging in revisionist history to justify an infusion of taxpayer money. And, financial institutions are rushing to redefine themselves as banks to get their own piece of the pie–regardless of whether or not, even in today’s perverted context, they actually “need” it.

It’s all seeming a little surreal at this point, with the available information just feeling unreliable to me. And the need to resort to gut feelings to determine one’s economic future is disturbing, to say the least.

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