Are We In a Recession or Not?

Photo: Fletcher6 (CC)

Photo: Fletcher6 (CC)

Matt Taibbi says it depends on whether you’re standing on Wall Street or Main Street, on his blog at Rolling Stone:

“Everyone agrees that the recession is over.” – Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council

“Of course not.” – Outgoing Council of Economic Advisers Chairwoman Christina Romer, when asked if the recession was over.

The two senior White House economic advisers made their comments on the same day…

If you’re on Wall Street, and you’ve seen the stock markets recover and the banks go from virtual insolvency two years ago back to record profit numbers now, then like Summers you’ll think “everybody agrees” that the recession is over.

If however you’re just some schmuck looking for a job somewhere outside the Beltway and/or lower Manhattan, and you’re noticing that the only easy job openings this year were temp gig taking census surveys (and even those have dried up), then your view of things is going to be no way the recession has ended, “of course not.”…

[continues at Rolling Stone]

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  • Your Mom

    Amongst professional economists, a “recession” is defined as two consecutive quarters when the GDP is static or declines. By the definition used by economists, the US is not in a recession. http://www.tradingeconomics.com/Economics/GDP-G

    Despite Mr.Taibbi's implication, a recession IS NOT defined as when everyone is happy with their job and we all fart rainbows and Messiah Obama gives everyone a puppy.

    • E.B. Wolf

      If we're not in a recession, that Socialist centralized economic planning must be pretty effective.

      You might want to rethink this claim. An economy in shambles is critical to your assertions that evil liberals in power are destroying Reagan and Friedman's free market paradise.

    • emperorreagan

      Of course, if you find the government's economic reports suspect you might question whether the GDP growth is as good as they're reporting, or if inflation is as low as they're reporting…

    • Connie Dobbs

      You're right! Messiah Obama already saved the world!

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    I live in Michigan…it was a recession in 2002-2003…it became a depression in 2008. Without manufacturing to bolster our tax base and create jobs that offer the possibility of home ownership, the state crashed and burned badly. I've watched people move to part time jobs and subsistence level wages. Their loss of income isn't tallied because they are employed…just suddenly dirt poor. None of my friends are on unemployment…they work lousy dead end jobs because the pay is needed and unemployment takes forever to get and doesn't last long enough to be worth it. Every third or fourth house on any given block has for sale signs posted. Among the gated McMansions, occupancy is below 25%…developments of whole areas utterly wasted and now rendered pointless…because you can't build 300,000 dollar houses for people who only make 16K a year if they're lucky. Redefining a recession until it doesn't exist on paper is a great study in statistical analysis…but it won't get drywallers, roofers, electricians and carpenters building homes and businesses, or make money appear in people's pockets to pay for food, fuel, electricity or shelter. You know what does those things?…the only known cure that has ever worked to dispel national financial duress…jobs with decent wages.

    Larry Summers should spend a lifetime in jail just for having the temerity to utter those words in pubic.

  • Connie Dobbs

    You’re right! Messiah Obama already saved the world!

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