The economy: Still in recession or about to boom?

Harry Truman famously wanted a one-armed economist, so that he could get the expert’s advice without hearing “On the other hand….”

With that in mind, I present these opposing views of the economy.

The first hand belongs to the folks at the National Bureau of Economic Research, which is charged with officially declaring the beginning and end of recessions. From a McClatchy article:

The bureau’s Business Cycle Dating Committee met last Friday and concluded that the jury is still out on the recession’s end, announcing that decision on its Web site Monday.

The committee reaffirmed that the recession began in December 2007, but its seven members couldn’t determine whether the recession has ended.

“The trough date would identify the end of contraction and the beginning of expansion. Although most indicators have turned up, the committee decided that the determination of the trough date on the basis of current data would be premature,” the committee said in a statement. “Many indicators are quite preliminary at this time and will be revised in coming months.”

To be sure, the NBER’s declarations often seem out of sync with what Americans feel is happening in the economy — the official start of a recession may come later than most of us might have said, or the end may be marked before most people think things have truly started to get better. In this case, however, the bureau is holding back because of a factor that many people feel directly: joblessness.

Although economic expansion usually is marked by two consecutive quarters of growth, the committee wants to see more evidence of strong and consistent job growth as an indicator that businesses are hiring on the basis of a firming economy.

“We will be ready to assign a particular month to the date of the trough when data revisions have settled down and the expansion has continued to the point where a sudden reversal would constitute a new recession and not a continuation of the one that started in December 2007,” Robert Hall, a Stanford University economist and the chairman of the bureau’s committee, told McClatchy. “If current forecasts hold, that time will come in a matter of months.”

(snip)

Some 15 million Americans are unemployed, 6.5 million of them for half a year or longer. A full 16.9 percent of the work force is either jobless, working part time because full-time work isn’t available or wants to work but hasn’t looked in the past month because of bleak conditions.

It’s why a sluggish recovery still leaves fear about a possible dip back into recession late this year.

On the other hand…

There are no such fears being expressed by Larry Kudlow, the former Wall Street economist and current CNBC anchor. He wrote yesterday under the headline “A V-Shaped Boom Is Coming”:

Sometimes you have to take out your political lenses and look at the actual statistics to get a true picture of the health of the American economy. Right now, those statistics are saying a modest cyclical rebound following a very deep downturn could actually be turning into a full-fledged, V-shaped, recovery boom between now and year-end.

I’m aiming this thought especially at many of my conservative friends who seem to be trashing the improving economic outlook — largely, it would appear, to discredit the Obama administration.

Don’t do it folks. It’s a mistake. The numbers are the numbers. And prosperity is a welcome development for a nation that has suffered mightily.

Kudlow credits the nascent recovery to “a strong rebound in corporate profits (the greatest and truest stimulus of all), ultra-easy money from the Fed, and some small stimuli from government spending…in a basically free-market economy that is a lot more resilient than capitalist critics think.” He cites the most recent data for employment, retail sales and commodity prices as evidence of the recovery.

At the same time (on the other other hand?) he reiterates his earlier warnings that President Obama’s policies will harm the economy in the long run:

At this point it’s impossible to project a long-lived economic boom, such as we had following the deep recession of the early 1980s. For one thing, tax rates will rise in 2011 for successful earners and investors, quite unlike the Reagan cuts of the 1980s. So it’s possible that entrepreneurs and investors are bringing income, activity, and investment forward into 2010 in order to beat the tax man in 2011. This would artificially boost this year’s economy, stealing from next year’s economy.

(snip)

And at some point, monetary policy will tighten, with higher interest rates on top of higher tax rates. That, too, could slow growth markedly next year. And then there’s the dozen tax hikes in the Obamacare health takeover, and a possible VAT attack from Paul Volcker, all of which will work against growth in the out-years.

Clearly, we are not operating a supply-side, free-market model today. What I wish for is sound money and lower tax rates, which would promote sustainable economic growth. Instead, we’re getting easier money and higher tax rates, which could mean a temporary boom today and disappointingly slow growth after that.

I think this gets to the reason we see so much caution in Americans’ optimism right now. It does feel like things are getting better — but no one I know feels like we have made the kind of fundamental changes which the aftermath of the housing bubble and financial panic call for. Until that happens — until we come to grips with a new normal, particularly regarding private and public debt, rather than trying to mimic the old normal — I doubt confidence is really going to soar.

52 comments Add your comment

T-Town

April 13th, 2010
2:09 pm

Either the economy is getting better, or not. And either I’m going to get a job, or not. Either way I should be happy, or not.

Kyle Wingfield

April 13th, 2010
2:16 pm

That about sums it up, T-Town.

T-Town

April 13th, 2010
2:20 pm

Jez Kyle, I feel better, or not.

The Udder Side!!!

April 13th, 2010
2:28 pm

Regardless of what happens, Kyle is gonna be super reluctant to admit that the economy might be getting better….with no conditions…

rdh

April 13th, 2010
2:32 pm

IMHO, the biggest risk external risk to our economy is a spike in energy prices. People underestimate the affect $150 per-barrel oil had on hastening the economic debacle of 2008.

The Federal Reserve and Federal Government have pumped so much money into the system that it will take a while for the haze of money to thin so that we can see what is truly happening in the economy.

High unemployment, rising interest rates, rising energy prices are all indicators that there is fundamental instability in the economy. Any good number…. cars sold, houses sold, etc… are merely evidence of a government pump. The ONLY purely good indicator is that manufacturing inventories are down and that the surpluses have worked their way out of the economy. That took a year and a half.

Generally, economies WILL go up or down. Government meddling, however, can take a severe recession and turn it into 20 years of economic malaise. Look to Japan as a perfect example. They are on something like their 13th stimulus, and they STILL have not got the toxic assets of the late 80’s/early 90’s off of their books. That is NOT what we want for the U.S, and the only way to avoid it is for the Government to STOP THE BAILOUTS. That means letting GMAC die, letting GM/Chrysler sink or swim, force banks to write off bad debt, STOP paying people to not work (put unemployment back to 26 weeks). I could go on. There is a lot of pain still out there. We can either take it now or live with it the rest of our lives.

Economix

April 13th, 2010
2:51 pm

With all these bailouts and stimulus trillions, the economy should boom soon! Plus, they are raising taxes on rich fatcats which will generate more billions in revenue to pay more government services!!! Things are looking up!!!

Irishmafia

April 13th, 2010
2:52 pm

Great points rdh.The basic factor is jobs. If people have one they get paid, with pay they purchase items with our consumer oriented economy this means more jobs to produce more items for more people to buy and so on. With the real unemployment rate @ 17% or maybe even higher, it doesn’t matter what numbers Washington throws at us. High unemployment = bad economy. As for empolyment numbers getting better it’s all DC sleight of hand. More people dropping off the unemployment roles because benefits have expired and the artificially created boost from the almost 1 million census workers who have a part time job that will go away leading to a another spike in unemployment which will hurt consumer confidence. Washington hoping that ta spike in jobs created before dumping the census workers will make them look good is more smoke and mirrors. Until the USA builds back it’s manufacturing base ( no unions, less taxes on corporations so they move jobs back from overseas, less government interference, it ain’t gonna happen).

JF McNamara

April 13th, 2010
3:26 pm

If Kudlow said it, it must be wrong. I won’t be posting for the next few days. I’m going to go stock up on bullets and gold bullion…

Nothing to say about the Republican rancor going on in the Georgia Senate? I figured you would give an in depth analysis of the points of view of both sides. I was actually hoping a credible source (meaning you) would comment.

CJ

April 13th, 2010
3:52 pm

For one thing, tax rates will rise in 2011 for successful earners and investors, quite unlike the Reagan cuts of the 1980s.

Despite the Kudlow’s (and Kyle’s) desperate attempt to rewrite history, Reagan raised taxes several times. In 1982, he rolled back a third of his own tax cuts from the previous year. In ‘83, he raised gasoline taxes. In ‘84, he raised taxes on business, and in ‘86, Reagan imposed the largest corporate tax increase in history (part of the Tax Reform Act of 1986). He also increased payroll taxes and taxed Social Security benefits for the first time ever.

At the same time that Reagan was raising taxes on both business and individuals, he raised the standard deductions and expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit specifically to eliminate or mitigate the federal income tax burden for those at the lower income levels.

Kyle will always refer to “the dozen [not!] tax hikes in the Obamacare health takeover”, but he won’t provide specifics. It’s best to let the readers believe that they’re taxes are going up (they’re not) or that any increases are somehow irresponsible. From a conservative pundit’s point of view, ignorance is bliss

CJ

April 13th, 2010
3:53 pm

I did it again. “they’re taxes” s/b “their taxes”

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 13th, 2010
4:00 pm

Higher marginal interest rates, higher health care expenses, higher federal spending, and increasing federal regulation of the economy all preclude meaningful recovery. The market is buying into the idea that a republican tsunami will reverse the disastrous course charted by the democrat congress.

Kyle Wingfield

April 13th, 2010
4:21 pm

JF: I’m looking into the Preston Smith thing to try to figure out what sort of longer-term effect there might be. A lot of what he said echoes what I wrote a couple of weeks ago about Georgia’s Republican lawmakers, so for now I’ll stand by that.

Jefferson

April 13th, 2010
4:30 pm

If you think you are going to lose your job, go buy a new car. It will be hard to get a loan without a job. JK

For those who are working, don’t live in fear — plan for a rainy day and live your life, it don’t last forever.

BW

April 13th, 2010
4:45 pm

Kyle…what would happen if we eliminate every single tax? Would that make you happy?

BW

April 13th, 2010
4:50 pm

Ragnar…I just have one question…if the Republicans didn’t lower marginal interest rates, health care expenses, and federal spending, why should I believe they will now? I’m not a liberal or a conservative but an American…and all I see is BS to get elected and then diverting money to friends of the party in charge…nothing really changes. Why should I go into the booth in November and vote Republican?

Jess

April 13th, 2010
5:03 pm

Two things are for sure. number one, the economy will turn around at some point. There has never been a recession that didn’t end. Number two, Obama will take credit for it when it finally does happen.

@@

April 13th, 2010
5:14 pm

When the government shows up with that ol’ “we’re here to help”, most intelligent people head the other way. Business and main street are doing just that.

The way I see it, this is stimulus money circling the drain waiting for someone to pull the stopper.

2010….be there.

2012….be there.

Peter

April 13th, 2010
5:16 pm

Come on Kyle……..It will take some time to clean up the Republican mess of 8 years !

Hillbilly Deluxe

April 13th, 2010
5:26 pm

Even if things do pick up, nothing has changed in the financial world. We still have the same people running the show and doing the same things. So if things do pick up, better squirrel away everything you can and get ready for the next time the bubble bursts.

Churchill's MOM

April 13th, 2010
5:27 pm

Ragnar Danneskjöld 4:00 pm

Here’s your boy Saxby carrying the water for his son and the Chicago Merc. Board. There is bound to be another few rounds of golf with Tiger Wood in this for Saxby the Socialist. On the bright side we had a great trip to the beach last week and I shot very well at the Annie yesterday morning.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/35740.html

Kyle Wingfield

April 13th, 2010
5:48 pm

Peter, I expect to hear you saying that for the next 2-6 years.

Disgusted

April 13th, 2010
6:18 pm

To echo Bill Clinton, it’s the jobs, stupid. The independents who decide elections don’t care about the intricacies of the economy. They don’t care much about tax policy, so long as it doesn’t have a major direct impact on them. They pretend to care about the deficit and the national debt, but those are mostly abstract entities to them—something to grouse about, but as secondary as a lack of appetite to a pneumonia sufferer.

What they do care about is jobs. And neither party can do much to generate those. America has become a service economy with very little to service. Manufacturing, once the engine that generated the jobs, has moved overseas, and it isn’t coming back unless we’re willing to settle for third-world living standards. And without substantial income in the economy, retail and the service industries will simply stagnate.

So pardon my amusement about all the special-pleading claims made on this blog. Taxes can’t go much lower without severe consequences for the national debt. And those jobs you talk about generating with more tax cuts? They’re in India, China, Thailand, Guatemala, and dozens of other countries. We sold out to the Free Trade advocates, only to learn that free trade means allowing our standard of living to sink to the levels in the countries I’ve mentioned. And neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are willing to take the risks involved in bringing our manufacturing back.

jconservative

April 13th, 2010
7:30 pm

Disgusted at 6:18

There is a lot of truth in what you say.

A little history lesson. We started this cut taxes, trickle down and boost the economy under Reagan. And Reagan increased the FICA rate and ceiling which further increased the tax revenue and reduced the deficits. But we also had tax increases under Bush 41 and Clinton, and we still had a boost in the economy.

But what about the “trickle down”? Well, it actually did not trickle down; it trickled out. Out to other countries. Remember students, staunch Republican Pat Buchanan ran for president in 1992 against a sitting Republican president on a one issue platform, American jobs were being shipped overseas & the US manufacturing base was being destroyed. In speech after speech he blasted the shipment of the US manufacturing base overseas.

The guys with the potential jobs decided not to use the tax cuts to create jobs in the US, to let the tax cuts “trickle down”. They decided to ship the jobs overseas; build the new overseas factories with the savings from Reagan’s tax cuts.

Bottom line, tax cuts create deficits and nothing else. History proves it.

And this is where Disgusted nails it. The jobs are overseas. There will be no increase in jobs that will put the 15 million unemployed back to work. The permanent unemployment total just got bigger.
And with fewer working there will be a smaller US economy, fewer goods and services required, etc etc etc.

BushWasThere

April 13th, 2010
7:52 pm

Kyle quotes someone “The committee reaffirmed that the recession began in December 2007…”. Bush and the Rightists were in charge when this all happened. Lest we forget and forgive. Just sayin.

Kyle Wingfield

April 13th, 2010
8:27 pm

OK, jconservative, if “trickle down” caused so much permanent damage, how did the unemployment rate drop below 4% under Clinton and stay under 5% for 24 straight months in Bush 43’s second term, before events unrelated to tax policy caused the recession? If you’re right, why hasn’t “permanent unemployment” grown steadily since the 1980s? How can you blame tax cuts for jobs moving overseas, when the corporate income tax rate is the one that hasn’t fallen? How much of it really owes to the punitive rates applied to overseas earnings that are repatriated?

And fwiw, re: your little history lesson, JFK was the first president (postwar, anyway) to recognize that cutting tax rates could spur growth. So he did, and they did.

Disgusted

April 13th, 2010
8:54 pm

JFK was the first president (postwar, anyway) to recognize that cutting tax rates could spur growth. So he did, and they did.

And we still had manufacturing back then.

How much of it really owes to the punitive rates applied to overseas earnings that are repatriated?

I was under the impression that most corporations didn’t pay any tax anyway, regardless of the rate. Bottom line: Labor is much cheaper overseas, and until American workers settle for working for the equivalent of $1.75 per hour, the jobs will stay overseas.

All the posturing now is about which segments of our population will be earning the equivalent of $1.75 per hour, so that the other segments can continue to live the current lifestyle. Right now, from what I’m seeing from the conservative end, the losing segments will be elderly people on Social Security, the unemployed, and the poor about to become poorer.

Tall

April 13th, 2010
10:05 pm

Disgusted:

I don’t applaud the destruction of our manufacturing base either, but there are numerous reasons it is not feasible to have factories in the U.S. anymore. China does not enforce OSHA standards in the workplace. China doesn’t have an E.P.A. and has levels of polluted air and water that are unthinkable in the U.S. Product liability exposures are just now starting to come to the surface. I could go on and on. but there are more reasons than just wages and benefits. China is already losing jobs to places like Vietnam and the Phillipines. Don’t forget, foreign businesses can hire lobbyists and contribute to political campaigns as well.
By the way, do you work in a factory? If you have children, do you care if they work in a coal mine?

Michael

April 13th, 2010
10:12 pm

The economy seems to be growing, but at a pace akin to a tractor-trailer in first gear trying to climb a mountain. Still, that’s better than the tractor-trailer flying down the hill and looking for the emergency off ramp with gravel a foot deep.

I’m not sure I would really trust any projections unless you can go back and see what these guys were saying about 3 years ago. I remember Jon Stewart’s infamous ripping of CNBC. So many of those people said stuff that turned out to be 180 degrees false within months.

As far as policy, I tend to side with Paul Krugman and think the stimulus didn’t do enough. I know that it would’ve been impossible to spend even more, but the government spending money to keep people in jobs as the world collapses is hardly the worst decision ever made with public dollars. The main problem with what was done is it takes SO long for it to funnel down through the system at times.

It’s a shame we didn’t have a government program to hire people for building nuclear power plants or solar panels, kinda like New Deal programs. But I think the stimulus worked pretty well if you look at the numbers. If we keep adding jobs month after month, and I mean increased added jobs, I think we’ll be proven on the right track. But it’s still going to take years to un-fudge the system. I can’t remember any extremely fast recovery that didn’t involve a major war in our past. I’ll take the lack of war and slower recovery if given a choice.

Tall

April 13th, 2010
10:22 pm

I think the stimulus was a big mistake. All it has really done is add government workers to the payroll. About 14 months ago, gasoline prices were under $2 per gallon. Isn’t that a stimulus?
The free market will work if you let it. Capital equipment wears out and needs to be replaced. Cars and trucks need maintainence. People need to eat. Houses need to be painted….and on and on.
The problem was the overinvestment in the real estate sector. That takes time to work out. I live in Sandy Springs. There are too many empty shopping centers and condo complexes that shouldn’t have been built. Now they need to be put out their misery.

The stimulus – or debt binge- is a bet on the future growth of our economy. Will it be able to grow enough to pay back the debt? I doubt it.

StJ

April 13th, 2010
10:48 pm

Kudlow is right. Higher energy costs + higher taxes + rising interest rates + already high unemployment (exacerbated by the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs) = no real recovery in sight. (Rising healthcare costs is just icing on the cake.) Some might argue that there is a “recovery”, but if there is any growth, it is egg-shell fragile at best. $4-per-gallon gasoline will bust that tiny bubble fast. We’re knocking on the back door of $3, and it’s only early April.

Michael

April 13th, 2010
11:09 pm

Tall, I’d disagree with you on the “mistake” part. Government jobs are still people making money, and a lot of the stimulus-related jobs were private sector jobs. Road projects under construction are private contractors. Grants to places like solar panel-making facilities are just private sector jobs with government support. Then you had the state help, which kept a lot of teachers and other government employees on the payroll. My parents were teachers, and the money and jobs still count the same. If you want to debate the worthiness of specific jobs, then that’s fine. But I can’t think of any real wasted jobs, especially with unemployment near 10 percent.

I’ll agree with you that the real estate kerplunk is still driving a lot of this. I see a lot of empty parcels in shopping centers around Lawrenceville as well. I’ll also agree that oil prices can mess this up as well. Why they have started to fluctuate so much within a year is beyond me. I think it’s because the oil producers know they can jack us to a certain extent because we have to put gas in cars. I’m hoping these electric cars, which will tap coal and nuclear sources instead of just oil, will give us fuel competition.

Also, I hope people on the “drill, baby, drill” bandwagon realize that we import oil because it’s cheaper to do so. Drilling our own oil will fund a lot of bad people less, but it’s not going to reduce the price of gasoline. Our best economic bet now is fuel efficiency based on big batteries made in the USA.

Michael H. Smith

April 14th, 2010
1:54 am

To echo Bill Clinton, it’s the jobs, stupid. The independents who decide elections don’t care about the intricacies of the economy. They don’t care much about tax policy, so long as it doesn’t have a major direct impact on them.

That was actually, “It’s the economy stupid.” Nevertheless, tax policy and debt does have a major direct impact on the proverbial, “them”. Not that there is any disagreement with the thought that most of the proverbial “them” choose more often than not to remain oblivious to how taxes and debt are impacting “them” until it runs “them” over like a train. Only after the collision that flattens “them” has occurred do the proverbial “them” become aware of what was being done and how it caused the disaster that happens to “them”.

The proverbial “Them” in reality is all of us.

It would be of comfort to see two events take place among several others: BIG GUB’MENT cut to half of its’ present size and costs and the 47% of citizens receiving an income in this country that don’t pay income taxes start paying their fair portion of the tax burden, before the rest of us who do say… enough, we’ve had it and decide to revolt.

Spot on rdh!

April 13th, 2010
2:32 pm

The ONLY purely good indicator is that manufacturing inventories are down and that the surpluses have worked their way out of the economy. That took a year and a half.

Thank goodness for small “market driven” economic upticks.

Joel Edge

April 14th, 2010
5:48 am

I predict things will start looking better around 2013.

jamone

April 14th, 2010
6:33 am

The economy’s terrible, due to all the problems that bush created. A lot more government spending and stimulus programs will be needed and they need to extend unemployment benefits for at least 1 more year, maybe 2.

Chris Broe

April 14th, 2010
7:39 am

The stock market is doing all the predicting.

German accent

April 14th, 2010
7:45 am

I think the new normal is going to have to be the old normal – pre-1950s, pre-easy credit, pre-live-beyond-our-means normal.

hambone

April 14th, 2010
7:46 am

I smell sarcasm @6:33 a.m.

Tall

April 14th, 2010
8:18 am

Michael H. Smith: If you follow the ADP employment numbers, private sector hiring is still flat. We don’t need more government employees at the Federal level. At the state level, the police, fire department and teachers always seem to be the sacrificial lambs in order to gain some sympathy for tax increases. Government growth is a function of the growth in the private sector. If there is none, there should be no job additions in government unless it is through attrition or a strongly demonstrated need. As for government jobs to be cut, that isn’t hard. Let’s eliminate the Commerce department. What does the Department of Energy do? The U.S. still doesn’t have a coherent energy policy, so I think they could go, too. Department of Agriculture? More offices than they need. Let’s can those fat subsidies to farmers while we’re at it. Do we really need a manned mission to Mars? NASA can go, too – unless they can justify their contributions to the private sector. Next time you’re in mid -town Atlanta, take a look at the extravagant new building on the corner of Peachtree and Tenth street. That’s the new Atlanta office building of the Federal Reserve Bank. Can anyone tell me what they need that for? Oh, I understand they provide a beautiful cafeteria for their employees, with everything paid for by our tax dollars. Does Nancy Pelosi really need her own private airliner?

Peter

April 14th, 2010
8:52 am

Kyle Listen to Kramer……….Tarp is working the economy is getting ready to take OFF !

Morrus

April 14th, 2010
9:37 am

Vote out the incumbents and start over

John

April 14th, 2010
9:47 am

I was waiting for Morrus to chime in with that. Nice to have your normal contribution.

The Austrian Brotherhood

April 14th, 2010
10:26 am

Let’s employ more contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan to build additions to those billion dollar embassies.

And hire more government employees at six figure salaries with benefits to shovel poop and shuffle papers. Then they can spend that money and private property that was stolen from someone else through force and use it to “stimulate” the economy. The economy will be thstimulated and orgasmthic just like as it wasn’t in the 1930’s.

Of course, there will be no real wealth created, just scarce resources redistributed from the private sector to bureaucratic and political boondoggles.

Make War. Print Money. Tax Citizens. Go USA. You Can Do No Wrong. God Is On Our Side.

Glenn

April 14th, 2010
11:32 am

Any recovery won’t be sustainable indeed . Our corporations might get some short term profits but with the amount of unemployment & money owed by the government it can’t last . Also if China’s economy is really a bubble & other countries can’t be depended on to by our treasuries easy money will be a thing of the past . I would be willing to bet our economy will slog along . Any mention of Reagan to our current economy is just silly .Reagan had balanced books to work with & a somewhat healthier economy . The juggling act for any president in todays time is much trickier . Over twenty cents on every dollar goes just to pay interest on our deficit . No one likes paying taxes but we have to find revenue .

Intown

April 14th, 2010
11:35 am

The economy will not be fundamentally fixed until the rest of the Obama agenda is realized: strong financial reform and a strong energy/climate change policy. That’s what people elected this guy to do whether you like it or not.

The Tar and Feathers Party

April 14th, 2010
12:12 pm

Anyone who quotes that drunk kudlow is a fool. All this hype about a V shaped recovery is just that, hype hoping to spark a buying frenzy, with the fat cats who have already purchased positions at much lower prices set to profit. Do your homework, don’t listen to idiots on the boob tube, or opinion writers who have no skin in the game. If you must invest now, buy a dividend paying stock with good projections on future earnings, like Total (TOT) or British Petroleum (BP) which have dividend yields of ~5% and ~6% respectively. Remember that qualifying dividends are taxed at the 15% rate, the same as long term capital gains, for now at least.

David S

April 14th, 2010
12:12 pm

Bad debt has not been liquidated. Everything Bush and Obama have done has only prolonged the wait until the shoe drops and thanks to them it will drop from a much higher place and will have a far worse impact when it falls.

There are always bull periods in bear markets. There were positive signs all throughout the first Depression, but because of government actions and actions of the Federal Reserve (virtually identical to what they have been doing since 2001), the Depression ultimately lingered on.

If you are poised to make some money on the brief upticks, then great. If you are hoping for a long-term recovery, don’t hold your breath. The fate of the economy like the fate of the dollar are already sealed and nobody wants to take the hard medicine required to change that course.

The Tar and Feathers Party

April 14th, 2010
12:14 pm

Glenn, Reagan also had the sound savings and loan industry to loot, which he and bushes did.

The Tar and Feathers Party

April 14th, 2010
12:30 pm

jconservative is right, trickle down was just a buzz word for letting the fat cats pay a low 15% tax rate, while the rest of us paid closer to 33% plus another ~7% for ss and medicare. The run up in stock prices helped too, due in large part to the looting of the social security trust fund to pay for the military and the expanded social welfare progams. Something like 2 trillion excess dollars were collected for SS and spent by the Feds on other things, leaving only worthless IOU’s in the trust fund. Now crooks like Hank Pukeson (former T Sec) want to eliminate SS benefits, saying we cannot afford them. See the NY Times opinion piece by stutterin’ hank. Pete Peterson was on CNN over the weekend whining about taxes and social security. You remember pete, don’t you? of blackstone group infamy, in the ipo of BX Pete pocketed ~600 million bucks at the 15% tax rate. Poor little feller, he had to pay all of 90 million bucks in fed taxes, while the rest of us would have had to pay well over 200 million on a similar gain. that pesky carried interest thing, from buying good companies, looting them of assets, firing workers, loading them down with debt (with which to pay pete and steve Special Dividend) then selling them back into the public markets. Over half have now either failed or in the process of failing. Never listen to pete or steve (or kyle for that matter).

Kyle Wingfield

April 14th, 2010
12:32 pm

Tar and Feathers, you’re the one offering stock tips, not me.

Michael H. Smith

April 14th, 2010
4:14 pm

Tall

April 14th, 2010
8:18 am

Maybe you missed something Tall? My prime target was the big fat federal bloated government and I’d take issue the government grows because the private sector grows. We disagree, fair enough?

As for the State, we do get more of our government from that level than federal but still it could use paring down too. I get more government services from city and county than the State and even at those levels there is some things I can do without.