Brown Shoots

The NYT is hosting a debate over whether the economy's 'green shoots' are real or imagined. It's a gloomy crowd. Here's Roger Altman:

America will fall way short of a cyclically normal recovery. The balance sheet nature of this recession mandates this. In other words, American households and lending institutions have suffered so much financial damage that healthy levels of consumer spending and overall lending are not achievable through 2011. Without them, especially with consumer spending representing 70 percent of G.D.P., a healthy recovery is not possible.

Yes, the stock market has experienced a nice three week rally. But, it remains 45 percent below its mid-2007 high. Glimmers or no glimmers, that’s the real point.