Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman is a hack. Everyone knows this. But this is bad even for someone as cartoonishly ignorant as Chapman. In this morning's column, he wrote:

For nearly a year, we've been told that the economy is on the verge, if not the thick, of a painful recession. But the traditional definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative growth -- and we have yet to endure even one such quarter.
Yes, Steve, we have: GDP growth was negative in the fourth quarter of 2007. (Also, two consecutive quarters of negative growth isn't really the "traditional" definition of a recession, it's the "old" definition. It's "traditional" to use the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee's definition of a recession, and the Committee long ago abandoned the "two consecutive quarters of negative growth" definition. Why would the Tribune's editors let Chapman use the old definition of a recession to argue about whether we're in a recession now?)



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