Economist Mark Zandi: The Recession's Hot Wonk

When economist Mark Zandi talks, Washington listens. A propeller-head's rise

Evelyn Hockstein / Polaris for TIME

Zandi, between appointments in Washington, says a recovery will begin by the fall of 2010

Mark Zandi, the chief economist and co-founder of Moody's Economy.com was in the midst of a whirlwind day that included two speeches, a panel discussion, a television interview and a visit to the Congressional Budget Office — but he still found time for a little extracurricular research.

In a taxi on the way to the Park Hyatt hotel in Washington, where he was making a presentation to a bank-industry group, Zandi turned to the driver. "How's business?" he asked.

"It's slow," the driver said.

"Is it getting any worse?" Zandi asked.

"No," the driver said. "It's just slow."

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