Are you watching your retirement fund go up in smoke? Is your children’s college fund now only large enough to fund a mail-order correspondence course? With the sinking market and the downgrade of the US credit rating, are you wondering what the nation’s top economic minds are doing to help staunch the hemorrhaging? They’re working overtime, right? They’re holed up somewhere brainstorming some sort of plan, right?

Well, you got the “holed up somewhere” part right. As for the brainstorming, it’s probably about what bait to use. Turns out, they’ve all gone fishing. No, I mean literally, they’ve all gone fishing…

From this story on :

Turmoil in the financial markets has coincided with an annual fishing trip for economists and top executives deep in the woods of Maine near the Canadian border. While the economists were together, Standard and Poor’s took the unprecedented step of downgrading the U.S. government’s credit rating. Every year at this retreat by Grand Lake Stream some of the top minds in finance gather to go fishing in canoes with guides, catch up with each other and put their heads together about the state of the nation’s economy. Some work for firms where they’re not supposed to make public statements or forecasts. “Here there’s no such limitation,” says Barry Ritholtz, director of research at the money management firm Fusion IQ. “People speak more honestly. I get to go out with guys and see what they really think.” “What’s interesting this year, there’s a pretty broad distribution of opinions,” says Ritholtz, who also writes about investing. “It’s not clear that everyone is bullish or bearish. I think there are expectations of a slowing economy increasing expectations of recession from the crowd.”

You know things are screwed when even the economists say “to hell with it all, I’m going fishing.” Reaction?