Normally, when the New York Times speaks, the rest of mainstream media listens – often running headlines for days and weeks at a time with off-shoots of important stories.
One story that didn’t seem to matter all that much was “Forecasts for Growth Drop, Some Sharply.” The article was originally published on page B1 of the NYT New York Edition on June 24, which happened to be a Friday going into the traditionally slow weekend news cycle. By Saturday it had been picked up by several mainstream online news services including CNBC and Drudge Report, which outlinked it via the hyperlink text “Economy Expected to Have Major Slide in Months Ahead…“.
By Sunday night it was gone. It hasn’t been “wiped” from the internet, but its importance has certainly been marginalized. For those interested in keeping the facade alive for a little bit longer, it makes sense as to why:
A drumbeat of disappointing data about consumer behavior, factory sales and weak hiring in recent weeks has prompted economists to ratchet down their 2011 economic forecasts to as little as half what they expected at the beginning of the year.
Two months ago, Goldman Sachs projected that the economy would grow at a 4 percent annual rate in the quarter ending in June. The company now expects the government to report no more than 2 percent growth when data for the second quarter is released in a few weeks.
Two years into the official recovery, the economy is still behaving like a plane taxiing indefinitely on the runway. Few economists are predicting an out-and-out return to recession, but the risk has increased, with the health of the American economy depending in part on what is really “transitory.”
“The likelihood of a negative surprise is bigger than the likelihood of a positive surprise,” said Jerry A. Webman, chief economist at OppenheimerFunds.
“A lot of the factors that will give us a boost in the second half are largely temporary and will run their course at some point,” said David Greenlaw, chief United States economist at Morgan Stanley.
Given the clouded outlook on hiring and the potential for further shocks, Mr. Hatzius of Goldman Sachs said that he could not rule out another recession. “We’re still a reasonable way off from that,” he said. “But I’m not as confident as I would like to be.”
Not a whole lot of our fundamental economic problems are transitory, and the big players on Wall Street, in Washington and the rest of the world know it.
It is only a matter of time – but that’s just it, isn’t it? Timing.
The Times is starting to drop the hints, but it is not yet being heavily pushed like the crisis in 2008. When we see the constant repetition in the Times (perhaps even a front page, Monday morning lead story), with the same talking points hittting your local news outlets regularly, and Drudge Report carrying it for more than 24 hours, then we should see the next crisis in full swing.
For now, take note, because the ramp up to the next financial collapse is in progress.