Are We In A Recession?

Forget about all the gloomy forecasts for 2008, the New York Times has decided it is time to look deep into our soul and confront the recession within. The Times invited six experts to answer the question, "Are we in a recession?." Here is a sampling of the responses.

Stephen S. Roach, You Can Almost Hear It Pop

The current recession is all about the coming capitulation of the American consumer — whose spending now accounts for a record 72 percent of G.D.P.
Marcelle Chauvet and Kevin Hassett, The Facts Say No
According to the model, the probability that the American economy was in a recession in October, the last month for which we have data, was only 16.5 percent.
Laura Tyson, Bet the House on It
Plummeting real estate values and escalating foreclosures will cause further losses on mortgage-related securities and will further burden American consumers already dealing with higher energy prices and substantial debt.
Jason Furman, Not if Exports Save Us
Net exports added 1.4 percentage points to economic growth over the past six months, more than making up for the 0.7 percentage point subtracted by the decline in residential construction. Exports should continue to grow over the coming year.
James Grant, Nobody Knows
Prices have not come down as they should have. Neither has indebtedness. The architecture of the economy remains as it was. Land, labor and capital are still structured for an imagined glittering future.
Martin Feldstein, Wait Till Next Year
My judgment is that when we look back at December with the data released in 2008 we will conclude that the economy is not in recession now.
See the whole collection of essays here.