There are two themes in this month's data. First there is the rampant optimism of hoteliers, suddenly building and hiring again, reporting record demand and confidently talking about 2013 rate hikes. Then there is the much more guarded outlook for the macroeconomy, as reflected in the hit that Priceline and Orbitz have taken because of weakness in Europe. With the U.S. needing to navigate its fiscal cliff of tax-hike expirations and trillion-dollar spending cuts, a reprise is entirely possible on our side of the pond. The Congressional Budget Office said in late August that failure to extend the tax cuts and/or delay the spending cuts would cause a recession next year. And while that made headlines because of the CBO's prestige in the capital, the office was well behind private economists of all stripes in actually publishing what it must have long known about this particular blinding glimpse of the obvious. They can't both be right. Something's gotta give. But which will it be?
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