Regardless of what anyone says, economics is an art, not a science.
Like the rest of the world, I'm trying to figure out what next year holds for us. It's amazing that everyone seems to have a different opinion.
I am convinced that too many opinions are so deeply rooted in politics that it's almost impossible to get a straight answer. You can't tell whether an answer is accurate or tainted by some political spin.
The automobile companies, which have economic departments to do their forecasts, seem to have different outlooks for business next year.
Many large suppliers -- along with manufacturers around the globe -- have substantially different ideas about what the sales number in the United States will be next year. Their opinions differ by as much as a million units, and no one is quite sure what the mix of cars and light trucks will be.
How would you like to have to figure out right now the production schedule for the Chevrolet Volt or the Nissan Leaf? Sort of like pin the tail on the donkey. We know they'll sell all they make, but it won't add to stability in the marketplace. Throw in the new small Fiat, and I sure wouldn't want to be the prognosticator for any of the automobile companies.
There is no doubt that economics is a real art. After the last couple of years, it has become more of an art than at any other time in recollection.
The smart and prudent business plan these days is to keep inventories as low as possible and be willing to lose a couple of sales rather than revert to the old normal for the industry, which was building inventories and working for the bank.
Let's hope that within the next few months we'll see some order in our economy. It won't happen until after the election, and then it could be even more chaotic for a while as the government sorts things out.
Meanwhile, millions of people will want to buy a car or truck. For the most part, they will need financing and will be interested in the newest vehicles with all the innovations.
It's still business as usual, except it's not. Now that's the kind of economic forecast we can all live with.