Whenever I get worried about the economy, I go up to the top of the mountain to see the Great Exalted Economist.

Last week I found him seated cross-legged in front of his cave in his Pierre Cardin robe reading the Wall Street Journal.

I placed a fresh sirloin steak at his feet and bowed.

"Oh, Master," I said, "pleased tell me what is going on with the economy in this country at the moment."

The Great One said, "We are going into a spiral inflation now which could lead us into double digits. The reason for this is that the economy is overheating, and there are too many dollars chasing too few goods."

"I thought you'd say that," I told the Exalted One. "What can we do about it?"

"That's bad," I said.

"It could be good. If it gets worse before it gets better, it is better than if it gets better before it gets worse."

"I never thought of that," I said.

"That's why I'm an economist. When you live with a high employment rate, and a low productivity record, and the gross national product in real dollars does not increase, you are faced with a stagnant economiy which makes everyone fearful and causes price hikes which lead to unrealistic wage demands."

"Of course," I said. "But surely there are other reasons for coffee costing $3.15 a pound."

"There are many reasons for that, not the least of which is that we are drinking more coffee from Brazil than we are selling coffee cups to the Brazilians. The American dollar is under attack and the weather has been lousy in Sao Pamlo. That is why interest rates have gone up in Chicago."

"I feel like a rock has been lifted off my shoulders." I told him."Tell me, Master, why does a shirt that cost me $7 two years ago now cost $11?"

"Government spending and OPEC must take equal blame for the rise in the cost of your shirt. While one is trying to take the shirt off your back, the other is squeezing you dry. Government drives the inflation engine is going which is fueled by the oil we must import to pull the weight of our $60 billion deficit. At the moment the engine is going full steam while the average citizen is hanging on for dear life in the caboose."

"Blessed Guru, what is the answer?"

"The only solution is to bite the bullet,"

I like your solution. It seems much simpler than the others," I told him.

"But while biting the bullet we should not throw out the baby with the bath water."

"Right," I said, trying to remember it all.

"We must hold our hand firmly on the rudder until the storm blows over, kiiping all optims open if it means tightening our belts."

"I knew you would have the answer, Exalted One," I said with tears in my eyes.

He turned to go into his cave to broil his steak. The last words he said to me were: "Then again, I could be wring."