No doubt housing activity was elevated over the winter because of very, very mild weather. One housing start in Syracuse, N.Y., in December is an awful lot. So we shouldn't be surprised by a big fall-off.

That's actually good news.

Some day I wouldn't be surprised if we go back and take a look at this whole episode and really question whether or not we really had a recession.

Unemployment is sufficiently high, and the economy has just come out of a relatively mild recession, so inflation pressures are relatively soft right now. It will take a while of solid growth before we have upward pressure on inflation, so the Fed can be a little relaxed about it.

But I think the underlying trend in terms of consumer spending and overall economic spending is actually up.

Inflation has been very soft for a number of years, and there's absolutely no reason to believe that's going to change any time in the near future.

It wouldn't be surprising if there was a little bit of a pullback in consumer spending in the first quarter as well because of the zero-percent financing in the fourth quarter, which makes for a very difficult comparison.

I think we have a recovery under way, ... At this stage of the recovery, the data are often mixed.

The fact that claims are low is very comforting.