Word of the Day: "Terrifying"

I like that word, terrifying, I don’t think it’s gotten used as much as it should ever since its patron saint Vincent Price passed away years ago.  I think.  Is Vincent Price actually dead?  Apologies if not, but he kind of has to be right?  He was a creepy old man in those Edgar Allen Poe movies from the early 60’s, he’d be like, what, 200 years old by now?

Anyway, “terrifying”.  That’s what Pimco’s Mohamed El-Erian called our current situation in an interview on Bloomberg that’s been ricocheting around the interwebs…

Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Chief Executive Officer Mohamed A. El-Erian said U.S. economic conditions are “terrifying” as the nation struggles to recover from recession.

The odds of the U.S. returning to recession are as much as 50 percent, El-Erian said during an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop” with Betty Liu. U.S. economic growth was worse than expected and congressional policy makers are gridlocked over what to do about the economy and the deficit, which risk exacerbating an already weak recovery, he said.

A few points:

1.  Mr. El-Erian is a smart guy and I share his fears about our present situation but I am less fearful by several degrees.  A new recession does not have to equate to the next 2008.

2.  El-Erian runs a mutual fund for Pimco that buys all the asset classes and then spends between 50 and 100 basis points a year on far out-of-the-money put options – essentially he’s hedging tail risk.  His fund is a Black swan product at the end of the day, using the word “terrifying” on television certainly doesn’t hurt with the marketing of such a vehicle.

3.  Speaking of television, I’m fairly certain that Mohamed keeps a small apartment at the Bloomberg building or at least has some kind of a cot hidden away in a nook somewhere.  If you think I do a lot of media, I would say that this guy’s had more face time this year than Regis Philbin.  My point is, at a certain point, when you’re sitting in that chair with the lights in your eyes for so long, you’re going to blurt out an odd word or phrase you might want to take back.  But the producers and journos  and bloggers latch onto that word and never let it go – so it’s kind of too late and “terrifying” is now the Word of the Day.

Anyway, that’s my spiel.  I’m appropriately cautious here, but terrified?  Not really.



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