"It will therefore be crucial that you see the world anew. That means looking from the outside in to reanalyze much that you have probably taken for granted. This will enable you to come to an understanding. If you fail to transcend conventional thinking at a time when conventional thinking is losing touch with reality, then you will be more likely to fall prey to an epidemic of disorientation that lies ahead. Disorientation breeds mistakes that could threaten your business, your investments and your way of life."
-- James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg, The Sovereign Individual, 1997
The economic news just continues to be bad. New unemployment claims were over 529,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis. The "real" number was 606,877 lost jobs. New home sales were off by another 5% and down 40% from a year ago, as builders slash inventories. The Chicago Purchasing Manager index came in at 33.8, the weakest number since the serious recession of 1982. The national number due next Monday will be just as ugly, as durable goods were down far more than expected, by a negative 6.2%. But it is Thanksgiving weekend, and not a time for gloom. In this week's letter I am going to talk about why we should be optimistic about the future. Things will turn around. I will also make a few comments about the latest stimulus package.
As I will be moving my home this weekend, I am writing this letter early. I am going to use material from two previous letters, which I think will help give us perspective. The first is a personal anecdote from last Thanksgiving (2007), as a lead-in to comments on whether the Fed's latest monetizing action will end up spurring inflation; and then the second is part of an essay I did for my last book, Just One Thing, edited and updated.