Look Out Below!

The slipping U.S. economy could land safely -- or be blown into a slump

In biblical times, a famed Pharaoh once dreamed of seven fat years of plenty followed by seven lean years of want. With the U.S. economy in the seventh year of a record peacetime expansion, signs are multiplying that for many Americans the fat times are coming to an end. In their place, economists prophesy everything from a soft landing, which could mean weak growth but little pain, to the ominous prospect of a deep recession. Few seers doubt, however, that a slowdown is at hand. "This has been a long expansion," says Allen Sinai, chief economist of the Boston Company Economic...

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