Since taking over the job as the state’s chief economist, Arun Raha has developed a reputation as a humorist.
OK, as much as an economist can be a humorist.
Today, when he released a rather ugly state revenue forecast, Raha did not disappoint.
“I have good news and I have bad news,” Raha said. “The good news is the Mariners have re-signed Ken Griffey, Jr. The bad news is that he batted just .214.”
The weaker than expected forecast was blamed on the unique nature of this recession and a computer model that didn’t accurately predict the future, Raha said.
“I should have been wary of our model,” he said. “This is not the first time I have been led astray by a model. But that had nothing to do with economics. In my defense, I was younger then and unmarried.”
Later, after Raha said that he had gone back and revised his numbers from the September forecast, he said: “Economists, unlike accountants, regularly go back and change our numbers without going to prison.”
Raha tried to explain the paradox of the state’s economic situation. Personal income is starting to recover. But because they lack confidence in the economy, people are not spending their money.
“Of course it really doesn’t matter to me if people don’t spend this income. So I guess I don’t even know why I’m telling you this. Just out of habit, I suppose.”
After dumping the horrible news on the members of the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, Raha tried to leave them with a ray of sunshine.
“It could have been worse. Griffey could have hit .200.”
Remember, he’s here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.