With so many commentators and reporters braying about the precise odds of a recession these days, there is a 100% chance that The Business Press Maven is going to pound his head repeatedly on his desk for a simple reason: When everyone starts talking like each other instead of following their own common sense... it is upsetting. Moreover, it is misleading. Conforming to faddish verbal convention in economic procrastinating (or reporting) takes the place of reason. Following the latest verbal tic is like trusting a horoscope. That means if you, the savvy investor, follow these formulaic predictions, there is a 90% chance that... Good Lord, it is catching! I am speaking about the latest word in ready made quotes, articles and headlines: just spout off (or write) about your guess for the precise numeric chance of a recession and you'll be quoted or get good play for your article. And headline writers, in on this latest game, have become oddsmakers. Have fun with how comically popular it has become. Just don't make the mistake of listening to any of it. There is no way to confirm this, but I believe this whole sad excuse for public discourse started in a big way earlier this year. Alan Greenspan , missing the limelight and knowing he had a book to peddle ran off at the mouth about a recession being "probable." Perhaps feeling he overdid it, he then changed his statement. Sort of downgraded it , if you will. He said a recession was "possible." This took us into Goofy and Pluto's land of linguistic lunacy, of course, because a recession is always "possible." In fact, figuring for convenience sake that recessions generally run two out of every 10 years, they are always "possible."