Regular readers know that I closely follow Calculated Risk, Bill McBride’s blog that aggregates key economic data and gives pithy — and seemingly always right — analyses of key trends.
I’ve corresponded very occasionally with McBride via email. Despite the fact that his blog gets huge amounts of traffic, he always responds promptly and politely. (I was a little late in joining the game, but I’m currently tied for 4th place for the year in Calculated Risk’s economic predictions contest.)
Joe Weisenthal has a great interview with McBride today at Business Insider: The Genius Who Invented Economics Blogging Reveals How He Got Everything Right And What’s Coming Next
From that lengthy piece:
I hate to say it, but this is the most optimistic I’ve been since the 90s. I’m not a roaring bull, but looking forward, this is the best shape we’ve been in since ’97 or something.
In 97, I started worrying about what was going to happen when the stock bubble burst. By the time you got to the decent part of the Bush economy 2004-2005, I was so worried about housing I didn’t think much about the economy. Looking forward, this is the best we’ve been since then. We have plenty of problems to work through, but gosh, housing is going to be a tailwind for some time.
As McBride notes — calmly, patiently, and apolitically — there are all sorts of potential headwinds, especially from the situation in Europe. He’s less worried, btw, about the fiscal “slope”, which isn’t a single firm deadline and which is entirely solvable.
Years ago, a few friends — and I suspect a lot of readers — called me Mr. Doom and Gloom, a phrase that also appears a few times in the BI piece today. But I was just going where the data was leading me. When I first started writing in earnest about the Savannah housing market, things were bad and about to get much, much worse. Now things are weak, but steadily getting better. Ditto for local, state, and national employment, which is still in bad shape but clearly improving.
Paul Krugman has also chimed in today on his blog about McBride’s contributions to sober, fact-based discourse.