Today, optimists acknowledge that the U.S. economy is slowing sharply, but they insist that if there is a recession, it will last only a couple of quarters, and then we will come roaring back. They concede that the dollar is weak and inflation is high, but the Fed will be able to raise interest rates, boosting the dollar and squashing inflation, once the economy recovers, say the Little Mary Sunshines.
But the optimists don’t see the global picture. “I believe it is perfectly possible and perhaps probable that we will suffer a depression or prolonged recession,” says Lipper. (A recession is an economic contraction lasting from half a year to a year or more. A depression is a massive decrease in economic activity spread over a longer period, accompanied by deflation.) Borrowers will remain more tight-fisted; companies and entrepreneurs will have a difficult time getting credit. “We are in for some tough times.”