Couric Compares Economic Correspondent Mason to the 'Grim Reaper'

If "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric makes statements about someone's downbeat economic reporting - you know it's blatantly gloomy.

CBS News Business Correspondent Anthony Mason, who rarely finds a positive thing to say about the U.S. economy, gave another negative report during the January 30 "CBS Evening News," after the Federal Reserve decided to cut 50 basis points off its Fed funds rate. This time Couric compared Mason to "the grim reaper."

"Anthony, you're starting to sound like the grim reaper every night," Couric said." So - but it's good to have you."

Mason warned Standard & Poor's, a financial research firm, just announced it may cut its ratings on some securities associated with the turmoil in the subprime lending market.

"The Fed has another headache tonight," Mason said. "Standard & Poor's just announced it may cut its ratings on more than half a trillion dollars of subprime mortgage securities. That means Wall Street banks could face hundreds of billions of dollars more in subprime losses. And Katie, this could have a devastating effect on the financial markets."

Mason also followed a trend that's becoming increasingly popular with the media to assess the economy - the use of non-traditional economic indicators to gauge the economy - this time, flower sales.

"Bing Goei runs seven florist shops with 100 employees," Mason said. "So far he hasn't had to lay off any workers, but he says the Feds rate cuts won't sell more flowers."