Is the general economic prognosis wrong and we're better? Or is it wrong and we're worse?
The risks actually are fairly balanced, even though the focus has been on the bad news from Europe and concerns about the property bubble in China and all that. For the U.S., there's some upside risk. Productivity growth is strong. You could get strong growth in Asia so exports could do fairly well. We've still got a lot of stimulus in the pipeline.
If I look at your fabulous Excel spreadsheets, your gloom number on unemployment at the end of next year is 10.2 percent and your optimism number is 8.3 percent. Can we be satisfied with 8.3 percent unemployment?
Absolutely not. The problem here is we're in such a deep hole. We lost 8.5 million jobs in the last recession, which by the way is worse than the last four recessions combined.
We're nearing the end of the first half. The one consensus is this idea of slowdown in the second half. What could we get wrong that would make for a better economy?
Consumers and businesses spending more. I'm especially optimistic on the business side because companies are sitting on a mountain of cash. The ratio of corporate cash flow to GDP is the highest ever. If businesses open up their purse strings and spend on capital goods and on hiring people, you could get a much stronger recovery.