There’s no question that the economy has softened in recent months, but policy makers at the Federal Reserve tell us not to worry, that it’s mostly just bad weather and the normal ups and downs of the economic data. But what if they’re wrong? Would they tell us if they thought we were heading for a new recession? Could they bring themselves to tell us if they did think it? The experience of the last recession, which started at the beginning of 2008, is telling.