All year long, throughout an interminable political campaign season, the debate kept popping up: “are we in a recession?” Defenders of the Bush regime insisted “no”; critics looked at the economy outside their windows and said “yes, of course”; waffling purveyors of conventional wisdom pointed to arbitrary standards about consecutive quarters of GDP shrinkage.
Well, today it was made official—at least as official as any such thing can be. I’m not quite sure when or why everyone decided to defer to the National Bureau of Economic Research as the official arbiter of these things, but certainly everyone in the conventional media treated this like it was Breaking News, and damn sure the stock market reacted as if it was. Nothing has actually changed, but the announcement matters because everyone says it matters. (Thus demonstrating yet again the very sort of manic-depressive groupthink that created this mess in the first place.)
So, we’ve been in a recession for a year now. That means it’s already one of the longest ones on the books, and there’s reportedly “no end in sight.”
Everyone who’s seriously surprised by this, please raise your hands… 🙄
New question for debate: is it a depression? And who gets to make that official declaration? Because apparently all the disappearing jobs, multiplying foreclosures, collapsing industries, frozen credit markets, evaporating retirements, and so forth just aren’t quite enough to make it that serious yet…Tags: economy, financial crisis