They call economics the dismal science, and Diane Swonk normally exemplifies her profession’s penchant for gloominess. “People say, ‘You’re always talking about the downside,'” Swonk, the chief economist at the tax firm Grant Thornton, told me one recent afternoon. “Well, it’s my job to hedge the downside.”

But as the economy emerges from a pandemic of historic proportions, Swonk has reached a surprisingly upbeat conclusion about what’s going to happen next. The US economy, she believes, is poised to grow 6.6% this year. Even more startling, her peers are in broad agreement: Economists surveyed by Bloomberg this month forecast a median GDP growth rate of 6.2%.

These are astonishing numbers, the kind you just don’t see in developed economies — almost ever. “It’s mind-boggling, even for me,” Swonk said. “And I’ve been doing this a long time.” The…

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