It’s that time of year, when pundits get asked to prognosticate about the year ahead. The answers, as ever, are interesting mainly as sentiment indicators, rather than as any indication of what the future might hold. But the questions can be more interesting still. Here’s the first question of a survey I received this morning:
1. When will the current recession officially end?
•By January 1, 2010
•By June 30, 2010
•By January 1, 2011
•By June 30, 2011
Remember that the recession officially began in December 2007; the earliest date given for its end is in 2010. Which implies that the best-case scenario, at least in the eyes of whomever drew up this survey, is that the recession will last a good two years.
I don’t think that’s necessarily unreasonable, but it does go to show the degree to which the bulls are cowering right now. If you think the recession will be over some time in the first half of 2009, you don’t even have the option of expressing that view. And if you’re delusional enough to think that the recession’s already over — well, in that case you probably shouldn’t be filling out this survey at all.