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Life Lessons
Life (along with politics, the market and the economy) is a great teacher of humility.

By Lou Dobbs, Lou Dobbs Moneyline

NEW YORK (CNN) - Life is always teaching lessons in humility... certainly the market is a great teacher, so is of course politics, and the economy regularly humbles the most cautious forecaster. But today the humble lessons seemed to be especially convincing, powerful and vigorous. When I arrived in the newsroom this morning, the Commerce Department had already reported the gross domestic product in the second quarter had risen only 1.1 percent. Most economists were forecasting double that growth rate. And frankly, I believed them.

That was bad enough, but the Commerce Department also revised first quarter growth down to only 5 percent...from its original 6.1 percent. And then to make matters worse, the Commerce Department revised last year's economic growth report to show that there were three quarters of negative GDP, rather than one. Again, many economists had doubted there was a recession last year. Again, I sided with their views. I even scoffed at the venerable National Economic Research when it officially declared a recession last year. I now apologize profusely to the august Research Bureau. I've transferred my scoffs to the Commerce Department, which is far more deserving. Those bureaucrats seem no more capable of reporting reliable numbers than WorldCom, Xerox, Enron or too many other corporations these days. Perhaps the bureaucrats should be held accountable for their economic reports under the same standards as corporate America in its financial reporting.

And to top the day off, we learned that the Justice Department had joined the SEC in investigating the accounting practices of AOL Time Warner, the parent company of this network. So tonight, we're not only reporting the news here, but in a small way we're part of the news... and in a very large way uncomfortable with being so. But it's all part of those life lessons in humility... and they're beginning to take.


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