Just a few days ago, I settled into bed snugly with Fortune magazine, thinking that I’d really enjoy the Q&A with economist Paul Krugman, whose New York Times column I generally like.
Did I enjoy it? No. In fact, I enjoyed it so little that I couldn’t sleep afterwards, something my bedtime reading hasn’t done to me since I was in the fourth grade and reading those hair-raising Alfred Hitchcock stories under the covers with a flashlight.
What did Krugman tell me? That house prices still have a long way to fall, that the Fed could cut interest rates to zero and it still might not nudge this economy upwards, that Japan went ten years without a recovery, and that America is in really new territory here when it comes to the sources of economic pain:
It seems to me like every few weeks there’s another $300 billion market I’ve never heard of that has just collapsed. And there’s credit cards, auto loans – I don’t know what’s next. But it’s clear we’re going to have a commercial real estate crash not too far short of the severity of the housing crash.
I thrashed about for two full hours after turning the lights off, worrying away at the important questions: whether I really needed six dwarf cherry trees at $32.95 apiece, and how on earth I was going to do without the pair of iron Monet arches I was thinking of ordering from Smith & Hawken.