The OECD issued its semi-annual report into the world economy. It is about as unpleasant to read as it must have been to write.
The organization has slashed its 2012 economic growth forecast for its 34 member states from 2.3 percent to 1.6 percent.
As for Europe's prospects: fuh-geddabout it.
"The euro area crisis represents the key risk to the world economy at present," says the report. "A large negative event would... most likely send the OECD area as a whole into recession."
We are on the way to that moment. The OECD believes the euro zone is already in recession and those outside the euro are not faring much better.
The Paris-based OECD predicts Britain will enter recession in 2012, as well, and that by 2013 the unemployment rate in the UK will be over 9 percent. It is currently 8.3 percent.
The OECD report ought to be enough to put President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton off their lunch today at a "summit" in Washington with the twin unelected presidents of Europe, Jose Manuel Barrosso (prez of European Commission) and Herman von Rompuy (prez of European Council).
Meanwhile, the half-life of a rumor is now measurable: This morning Italian newspaper La Stampa claimed the IMF was preparing a bailout package for Italy of close to $800 billion. Asian markets went up on the news. Within hours the IMF issued a statement denying that any such package was in the works. I would say the whole rumor cycle took eight hours from start to finish.