Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Gold Standard

Does the name Donald Luskin ring any bells?

Just to briefly identify him for those of you who are unfamiliar with him ...

Luskin is the chief investment officer for Trend Macrolytics. Politically, he is a libertarian. He is also a contributing editor and columnist for National Review Online and

And he's in his mid–50s.

Anyway, if you've been following recent economic discussions — and, I suppose, most of us have been doing so, even if we find the subject of economics boring and tedious and about as appealing as having a tooth pulled without the benefit of novocaine — you've probably heard the steady drumbeat of warnings about a "double–dip" recession.

(Personally, I find such talk baffling because it implies that the economy experienced one recession, then enjoyed a burst of economic activity, then sank into a second recession.

(It is called a double–dip recession because of the "W" shape that is created on the economic charts, like the one from the early 1980s.

(Please withhold your jokes about "W" being the middle initial of the previous president.

(My problem is this: If all those who warn us about a double dip are right, and a "second" recession is coming, when did the first one end? Oh, well, perhaps I digress.)

But back to Luskin. He says a double–dip recession is not in the cards, and investors should not hesitate to acquire stock right now. Why not?


"If the global economy was really heading toward another big leg down," Luskin writes for, "we wouldn't see gold creeping back up to within a couple percentage points of its all–time high."

Luskin insists that, while stocks are going through a "correction," gold is doing well. He has long been an advocate of gold, and he concludes that gold's performance means "there's no way we're headed back into the vortex of despair we saw in 2008."

Well, that's fine if, like Luskin, you place a lot of faith in gold as an economic indicator — and if you have enough disposable income to make investments in stocks.

Personally, I'm not entirely convinced. Granted, I'm no economist, and perhaps I would feel differently if I had a more extensive education in economics.

But I'll be skeptical about any recovery talk until I start seeing a lot of unemployed getting jobs every month.

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