Today, economists and American consumers don't seem to be particularly worried about recession. But things can change quickly. Roubini notes that the economy went from supercharged growth to recession in the space of six months: "In Q2 of 2000 the economy was growing at an annualized rate of over 5 percent and it slowed down to close to 0 percent by Q4 and entered into an outright recession by Q1 of 2001." In the first quarter of 2006, the economy grew at a 5.6 percent annual rate.
So, be careful however you bet. Relying on professional economic forecasters to tell us when a recession will start—and how long it will last—will be like relying on weather forecasters to tell us today whether it will rain on Labor Day weekend.
TODAY IN SLATE
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A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.