Reading Tea Leaves

One has to wonder about the gurus in the financial market. All through the latter half of last year, most were saying the economy was sound and chances of a recession were low. Either they're inept, or they lied to keep the public from fulfilling a recession prophecy—maybe both. We saw real declines starting last summer, and we knew it wasn't an aberration. I turned to people in other industries, and they told me the same thing. I'm not an economist (and maybe that's an advantage), but it was clear we were in a recession well before Christmas—even as economists continued to say there was only a 50–50 chance of one. In mid-January the Federal Reserve System's Ben Bernanke, whose every word gets parsed, noted that periods of recession can be dated only well after the event. He did say there were real risks. That's a big help! The old saying is that the jewelry industry is the fir

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