Great Depression II
Al Lewis at MarketWatch uses the D word to describe the perpetual lousy economy we have been living through the past four years:
There is nothing more depressing than hearing about a new recession when you haven’t fully recovered from the last one. I take heart in suspecting that in a still-distant future, historians will look back with clarity and call this whole rotten period a depression.
The precise definition of a depression, of course, remains as debatable as anything else in the field of economics. By some definitions, it is a long-term slump in economic activity, often characterized by unusually high unemployment, a banking crisis, a sovereign-debt crisis, surprising bankruptcies and other horrible symptoms we can find in the headlines almost every day.
It is easy to avoid seeing all of these events as constituting a depression if you somehow have kept your livelihood intact all this time. But it’s important to remember that not everyone has to stand in a bread line during a depression.
Nearly one out of seven Americans receives food stamps, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s more than 44 million people. If they all stood in a line and someone photographed them using black-and-white film, they easily could be mistaken for people from the 1930s. Instead, they go to a grocery store and spend their credits like money. There isn’t even a social stigma to make them stand out as any more glum or destitute than anybody else.
Last week, the Associated Press reported that America’s poverty rate likely has hit levels not seen since the 1960s. Surveying several economists and academicians, the wire service predicted the official poverty rate would come in as high as 15.7% when the Census Bureau releases it in September. That would wipe out all the gains of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.
Poverty is another word for joblessness, and our economy hasn’t been generating enough decent-paying jobs for many years. Globalization, technology, outsourcing, immigration and the schemes of financiers have taken their toll. No one is certain when jobs will come back, and many of the jobs that remain don’t pay anywhere near what, say, your average failing CEO gets paid.
Go here to read the insightful rest. Truth be told I am not certain that Romney will be able to get us out of this mess that has many causes and has been many years in the making. On the other hand, I am absolutely certain that the policies of Obama have made this mess worse, and that he has no ideas beyond expansion of the welfare state and shoveling endless borrowed money down rat holes labeled green energy, infrastructure, public services, etc.. Many mistakenly view Obama as a radical. Nothing could be further from the truth. He is a reactionary when it comes to economics and public expenditure, utilizing in the 21rst century ideas that were of dubious utility in the thirties of the last century. We desperately need new ideas to meet the economic and fiscal challenges confronting us, and for Obama the year will always be 1933.