Saturday, October 12, 2002

Here's the exchange between the CNN braintrust this morning:

We're back with CNN SATURDAY EDITION. And the markets plumped up from five-year lows in the middle week. was good news, right? But we've seen these gyrations before, and at least in terms of the docks, and what happened this week, that was good news for the market. A billion dollars a day the economy was losing with those docks on the West Coast shut.

ARENA: Christine, wasn't there already a great deal of economic damage that was done just -- I mean I was reading reports about, you know, warehouses that were...

ROMANS: Absolutely. Absolutely. Ten billion dollars was the estimate of the damage done to this economy. To put that into context, some of the low-end estimates for a quick strike against Iraq is about 50 billion. This is a cooling off period. We got 80 more days, so if this rears its ugly head again -- there are some folks who are concerned that it could be a big cost to the U.S. economy.

Meanwhile, you got toys out on ships in the middle of the ocean.

ARENA: Right, so what does this mean for Christmas?

ROMANS: Right, t-shirts, toys, GM auto parts. We've already plants closed down. So folks are very optimistic that this is resolved, but it doesn't mean by any stretch of the imagination the economy is moving along here.

WALLACE: As you know, President Bush was reluctant to get involved. He was hoping the two sides could resolve their differences and he would not have to step in. He did. Is there a sense from the people you talked to you he got in too late?

ROMANS: Well, some people would say that. Although one source of mine told me that this was a tailor-made crisis for him, to flex his economic muscle and sort of say, "Hey listen, no, I am really paying attention to the economy and I have saved this economy billions of dollars by this move." His opponents of course would say that he did wait too long and already, there was already $10 billion of damage to the U.S. economy.