Look, I don't want anyone to get the idea that this economy is going to do anything but churn along and push the Dow Jones average to one record after another.
And yes, a friend presented to me a scenario that plausibly predicts that our economy may never have another recession. Since he isn't an economist, I considered his ideas entirely understandable and possible.
But if you have any sense of history, you know there is going to be a recession sometime soon. It may not be very deep, and it may not be very long, but we are bound to have some sort of cooling-off sometime.
Mind you, it might not happen for a year or two. But we all sort of know that that's the way our economy works. Besides, a recession would really make Alan Greenspan happy and if it didn't happen naturally, he would probably do something to make sure it did happen.
Right now, the United States is one of the few major economies in the world that is firing on all eight cylinders. Some countries are still emerging from rough recessions. So the United States, in this wonderful period of uninterrupted prosperity, is a bit alone these days. No longer is every economy in the same boom or bust at roughly the same time. That has to be healthy in itself.
But what would happen if we took a hard shot to the U.S. economy in the next couple years? Who would be the winners and the losers? Could everybody take a mild recession without batting an eye?
Theoretically, companies that are spread around the globe should have a good chance to weather any storm in the United States better than companies that do business only in the United States - assuming that your international operations are a help, not a hindrance.
And can you imagine how much impact a slight dip in the stock market might have on some of our automotive retail conglomerates that rely on a healthy stock price to fuel their expansion? What would happen to those organizations?
Obviously anyone with a lot of debt would be walking on thin ice, but that would not be different from before. You always have to be careful when you have a lot of debt.
A recession would certainly change a lot of things. Who has made the best provisions for that inevitable rainy day?
The downturn may not happen for a while. But when it does, it will be interesting to see who wins and who loses.