The 'R' word, New Knicks President

Behind The News
April 2, 2008 12:56:48 PM PDT
The average American didn't need the nation's chief economist to say that the state of the economy is less than healthy. But it's sobering nonetheless to hear Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, assess the way things are.

The outlook, he told a joint committee of Congress, has weakened, and the economy could actually shrink during the first six months of this year.

Yes, shrink.

"Our estimates are that we're slightly growing at the moment," he said. "But we think that there's a chance that for the first half [of 2008]?there might be a slight contraction."

He didn't use the R-word, but shrink and contraction are in fact the definition of a recession.

Two consecutive quarters of "negative growth" (don't you love that word?) in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the textbook definition of a recession.

Despite the abundant examples that the economy is in trouble, we are not yet officially in a recession. In fact, we haven't yet had negative growth, officially, for one quarter, let alone two.

But the hard truth about a recession is that we could be in one before there is an official acknowledgement.

We'll have the latest on the economy, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, this could be Michael Clancy's first night of freedom in a decade. Clancy, who spent nearly 10 years in prison for a murder he says he didn't commit, had his conviction overturned yesterday, after someone stepped forward and said another person was the killer.

The D.A. has not decided whether to retry Clancy-- despite the new evidence. But his family has raised $50,000 in bail money and tonight plans to make him a home-cooked meal of pork, rice and beans.

We're making every effort to be there.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports, including the hiring of a new Knicks President. What will it mean for former President Isiah Thomas, who remains, at least for now, head coach?

I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

Bill Ritter