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James Boyce Headshot

A Serving of Egg On Your Face With Your Tea, Sir?

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I had a dog once. Smart dog, a Scottish terrier. Well, he wasn't completely brilliant - he had this not-so-smart habit of running off our deck chasing seagulls. Which was really a problem because it's about twelve feet from the front of our deck to the ground. Imagine a summer of bark bark bark, silence, and then squealing as he hit the ground.

I thought of him today when I read the news out of the UK when their economists just missed the estimates of January tax revenue, proving that idiot economists don't just live here in the States. One of my pet peeves of the recent economic downturn has been the drumbeat of missed economic predictions when a survey of twenty leading economists predicts A and then it comes in at M only to be asked again for their prediction. They bark bark bark, and then are momentarily silent, only to squeal when the actual numbers come out, but still somehow we listen to their barking again.

But I must take pride in my economic countrymen, the English economists, well, they don't just miss a little, they figure if you are going to blow an economic prediction, well, just go ahead and miss.

From today's London Times,

Gordon Brown's launch of a Labour election campaign promising economic recovery was in jeopardy last night as a record slump in tax receipts fuelled fears that Britain could slip back into recession.

Official figures showed that the Treasury borrowed another £4.3 billion last month. It is the first time since records began in 1993 that the nation has been in the red in January, traditionally the month when government coffers are swelled by big tax receipts.

Obviously this is concerning, raising the possibility of a second recession in the UK and believe it or not elevating the UK deficit right up there with....Greece.

But what were the economists predicting? Hah.

Economists, who had expected a surplus of about £2.8 billion, sounded renewed alarm, with some saying Britain's deficit could exceed Greece's.

That's beautiful.

You're talking a single month.

Leading economists missed it by 7.1 billion POUNDS. That's a 15 BILLION DOLLAR WHIFF.

You want to know what's happening with the economy on London or here in the States, here's a little advice.

If a survey of leading economists believes something, don't.