by John Mattingly
What’s the big political issue of the day?
“It’s The Economy, stupid.” – a phrase used by Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign against George H.W. Bush.
But what is The Economy? As my previous three articles that touched the elusive hide of the economic elephant should indicate, I haven’t the foggiest idea what politicians, talking heads, experts, analysts, and especially economists mean when they force these two words together.
When we talk about The Economy, we’re usually talking about our favorite person, ourselves. We tend to compare our present situation to more favorable times or situations in the past. We seldom compare ourselves to desperate times, with the notable exception of a few old timers who lived through the Great Depression. Those folks have perspective, but they are a dwindling minority, now being somewhere north of their 80s. And when was the last time an octogenarian ran for office, wrote an economic non-fiction best seller, or appeared on CNBC?