Yesterday’s 2009 3rd Quarter GDP Release was as exciting to me as the rest of America. Now three of the economic indicators we’ve all been following have turned in the right direction:
But there’s a problem. Here’s the raw data from the Government databases for the CPI, the GDP, and Unemployment [adjusted to fit the same time scale]:
This is no "regular" Recession. Those little bobbles in the CPI and GDP graphs are unique, seen nowhere else in the other nine Recessions over the last sixty years. So they’re not little at all. The last time we saw anything like this was [shudder] 1929:
Again, this is not a "regular" Recession! It’s not a matter of just waiting for Unemployment to fall so we can resume with business as usual [because that is unlikely to happen]. I made up a term for the way I think about it. I call it a Managed Depression [though the Mainstream Media has yet to embrace my term for some reason].
We did some right things [non-Hoover things] to keep the bottom from falling out. President Bush gave us TARP to keep Banks from failing on a colossal scale [I don’t approve of how TARP happened or was managed, but it was in the right ball park]. The Stimulus Package [ARRA] was a good measure; as was Cash for Clunkers; as was extending Unemployment benefits.
But this is a Depression nonetheless, even if we have Managed it well. Economists like Krugman [Princeton, NYT] and Shiller [Yale] say it every chance they get. They use phrases like "jobless recovery" or adjectives like "prolonged." But even non-economist, non-pundits like me are worried. It’s been a long time in the making, but we’ve kind of painted ourselves in a corner [If I’m honest, what I really think is that our misguided, mostly Republican, leaders, and our business moguls have painted us in a corner – way, way into a corner]. We took the road of least resistance for too long – sent jobs overseas, bought our "stuff" from overseas, didn’t shepherd our own labor force, didn’t reconfigure our farming, pretended that the financial industry was really an industry, didn’t redesign our cars and drove their redesigned cars, etc. Now we’re paying the piper. The reason it’s going to be a long recovery is because we’re going to have to rethink America, and we have an entire Political Party that is still trying to conserve an America that can literally no longer exist.