Fishing for answers

There are probably more experts writing on the economy than on any other subject. So why is it nobody knows anything about it? There seems to be more supply than demand, except there are more questions than answers.

The future looks dark according to many economists in the private sector, who watch every major economic indicator the way they watch the scale just outside the steam room at their private club. Even Treasury Secretary Regan says the economy is facing ''a real downer,'' which could be a White House euphemism for what other economists are saying.

Other economists predict that the high interest rates, the pyramid of business debt, the huge home mortgage debt and high international borrowing, will lead the United States (and maybe the world) into another Great Depression like the '30s if the round-robin of steady employment and steady credit is broken for any reason. The jolly, round-robin is getting to look more like a bat that has lost its radar.

Hoping to find a bright side to all this, we sought out our confidential economic consultant, a retired banker who can be found almost daily fishing at the end of a pier. He had some pertinent things to say, such as ''Fish are free and my rod is secondhand.'' More to the point, he came up with the phrase, ''Every cloud must have a silver lining.'' At this moment he caught another 20 -pound red fish.

''That's how you beat inflation!'' he said.

''Catching free fish?'' we asked.

''Yeah. But I can sell it for $3.75 a pound up the street.''

Guernsey LePelley is the Monitor's former political cartoonist.

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