We're out of the economic woods. Things are looking up. Unemployment is rising. Manufacturing is moribund. Foreclosures are at all time highs. Foreigners are getting nervous about our bonds... and currency. But the crisis is over.
How do we know this? The Google Index.
Of all the statistics pouring into the White House every day, top economic adviser Larry Summers highlighted one Friday to make his case that the economic free-fall has ended.
The number of people searching for the term “economic depression” on Google is down to normal levels, Summers said.
Searches for the term were up four-fold when the recession deepened in the earlier part of the year, and the recent shift goes to show consumer confidence is higher, Summers told the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
One of the amazing things about this Administration is the way some really smart people will say disturbingly dumb things to defend it. One is uncertain of their motivation but the phenomenon is undeniable.
I can think of a lot of reasons why searches for "economic depression" might fluctuate that have nothing to do with predictions of the economic condition of the nation. Maybe they remembered the concept after one search? Maybe they've been evicted and longer have access to a computer? I can't imagine there is a significant number of people out there who repeatedly search for "economic depression" because they remain worried about their jobs and being able to pay the mortgage.
Back in 2005 when Larry Summers launched into his ill-fated exposition on why women are inferior to men in math skills (and measuring distance, for that matter), MIT biology professor Nancy Hopkins walked out of his talk later saying that if she hadn't left, ''I would've either blacked out or thrown up." I know how she feels. Right now I'd know I don't know whether to crap or go blind and I can't leave.