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US Has Been In Recession Since December 2007

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the not-news-to-a-great-many dept.

The Almighty Buck 540

The National Bureau of Economic Research said Monday that the US has been in a recession since December 2007. The NBER is a private, nonprofit research organization of academic economists who determine business cycles. The stock market took a dip on the news that reached double-digit percentages for some tech stocks.

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Recession (3, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958251)

Recession pshaw!
The NumBER's a flaw.
A portfolio of duds
Requires the suds:
Burma Shave

Re:Recession (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25958461)

RTNBERARBS? Me no comprende. Bombay Gin.

Re:Recession (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25958479)

If people spent money they had
The economy would not be so bad.
Our god's Mr. Gekko,
The White House a wreck. Oh,
Responsibility! You're merely a fad!

The Magic 8 ball told me that a long time ago (3, Funny)

klashn (1323433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958253)

It's about time they came up with that revelation. What matters now is that we get out of it by shopping our asses off this Christmas!

Re:The Magic 8 ball told me that a long time ago (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958465)

"They" have known the economy was in trouble for at LEAST a year and likely longer. But they knew one thing for sure -- if they announced or reported it as such, the economy's floor would have dropped out. So instead, the news and other outlets have been dropping hints and skirting the big picture by talking about failing elements of the economy hoping everyone will start to form their own conclusions. And every time the word recession was asked far beyond a year ago, the only answer was "not yet" and they kept hoping things would get better.

The Bush economic stimulus package worked to some degree. Many people horded it -- stuck it in the bank. Other people paid bills with it. But the over-all result was measurably positive... and the government did not commit trillions to making that effect. If that notorious $700bn were committed in the same way, we would see a HUGE rebound in the economy... instead, the money is given to banks to encourage them to do things they are unwilling to do... and what's worse, the government isn't getting the money back!

Re:The Magic 8 ball told me that a long time ago (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958515)

That stimulus package had minimal effect, because people tended to hoard it or just spend it on normal bills (reducing their debt imperceptibly, but not doing much for the economy) rather than buying goods or services.

The problem with all these stimulus problems is they don't really address the most important problem you see in a recession/depression, that of unemployment.

Re:The Magic 8 ball told me that a long time ago (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25958769)

Not quite. Even if people don't spend the handouts on good or services, that money goes into the financial businesses as investments or debt repayments. That's billions going to those that can lend to people and businesses. So unless people put it under the mattress, the money does get back into the system one way or another.

It's time to stop the bailouts and put that money into the peoples' hands. To date, we're looking at around $25,000 per person in the US. Put that into the hands of the people instead of failed or corrupt companies, and the economy will go nuts. People will make huge holes in the debts, buy cars and a stack of other things. Cash will be flowing like never before and ultimately it'll end up back in the govt's pockets via taxes.

Re:The Magic 8 ball told me that a long time ago (4, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#25959071)

"They" have known the economy was in trouble for at LEAST a year and likely longer. But they knew one thing for sure -- if they announced or reported it as such, the economy's floor would have dropped out. So instead, the news and other outlets have been dropping hints and skirting the big picture by talking about failing elements of the economy hoping everyone will start to form their own conclusions. And every time the word recession was asked far beyond a year ago, the only answer was "not yet" and they kept hoping things would get better.

The Bush economic stimulus package worked to some degree. ...

Huh? The April hand-out? As far as I've heard, it had almost no effect at all.

(it was too small and too untargeted to have any significant effect on the economy-- it essentially was a very small tax cut, primarily at the lower income levels. Might have prevented one or two bankrupcies, if it happened to hit somebody right on the razor's edge, but wasn't enough to save anybody's house.)

Re:The Magic 8 ball told me that a long time ago (5, Insightful)

Roland Piquepaille (780675) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958485)

This year, like the previous year, and the year before that, I will definitely NOT shop my ass off for Christmas, nor will I stuff my face silly on Christmas, only to feel bloated the next day and have to diet so I can stomach New Year's eve binge (which, in case you didn't guess, I never do either).

Christmas, like Halloween, father/mother/grandma/grandpa days, are commercial inventions, fake joy and fake happiness destined to make you shell out your hard-earned money and, since the great Bank Robbery^H^H^H^Hbailout plan, supposedly help the economy recover.

Well, I paid my loans, I don't live on credit, I spend my money cautiously, even when there's no "crisis", so I fail to see why I must buy Christmas junk to support those who don't.

Re:The Magic 8 ball told me that a long time ago (5, Funny)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958613)

Well, I paid my loans, I don't live on credit, I spend my money cautiously, even when there's no "crisis"

You, sir, are a sucker.

Re:The Magic 8 ball told me that a long time ago (1)

klashn (1323433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958687)

The credit card companies have a name for you people.... A sucker maybe, but a "deadbeat" definitely. I must clarify that I also am not shopping my ass off for Christmas. I'm trying to minimize my debt and increase my savings for the potential layoff in the near future

First Repossession (1, Funny)

Smuttley (126014) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958255)

FR!

A few thoughts (4, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958269)

A long-standing rule [bloomberg.com] of thumb [businessdictionary.com] for "recession" is that it is defined as contraction in the GDP for at least two consecutive quarters (six months).

More info [theglobeandmail.com] .

By that long-accepted definition of recession, the US is not even yet in a recession. The US GDP decreased for the first time in recent history only in the third (most recent) quarter, by 0.3%. In the second quarter -- earlier this year -- real GDP increased 2.8% [bea.gov] .

But how long has the media been ceaselessly hammering it into our heads that we're in a recession, tolling the bells of doom and gloom? How many times have we heard the phrase, "In these tough economic times" inserted into nearly everything we see or hear? How long has the drumbeat of the "recession" been played, when we had nothing but positive growth reports, even in the midst of the sub-prime crisis?

Worse still, many people actually believe that whatever recession we'll end up having is exclusively the fault of only the current President, and can't look back to anything before the year 2000 [meridianmagazine.com] for any blame whatsoever. The egregious irresponsibility of the sub-prime lending has a long and sordid history.

It is this kind of partisan willful ignorance on the part of many that has enabled the political agenda among some to drive the notion that the US is in a severe recession caused by the ineptness and reckless irresponsibility of the Bush administration, when the US had nothing but growth in the GDP until only a month ago. If you asked most people how long they thought the economy had been shrinking for negative, they'd probably say things like, "A year? Two years?"

Wrong.

Last quarter. And we just found out about it.

So we've heard talk, day after day, night after night, an incessant drilling into our heads that we're in a deep and severe recession -- one that may even now rival the Great Depression! -- creating panic and fear, causing people to pull investments and hold onto their wallets, change purchasing plans, in turn creating bleak forecasts for manufacturers and other business, which causes job loss, and then -- voilà!:

Is it any surprise we're going to have a recession on our hands?

Capitalistic systems only work when the participants have faith in the system -- when that faith collapses, for whatever reason, you get a recession. And that's a normal and accepted part of the cycle.

Re:A few thoughts (4, Informative)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958341)

The inflation adjusted debt accrual rate for the US government in the past 8 years has been about 380 billion dollars per year. This is equal to 3.4% of the total size of the economy.

Ignoring inflationary measures by the US government, the GDP has shrunk, not grown, for quite some time.

Re:A few thoughts (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958343)

It is this kind of partisan willful ignorance on the part of many that has enabled the political agenda among some to drive the notion that the US is in a severe recession caused by the ineptness and reckless irresponsibility of the Bush administration, when the US had nothing but growth in the GDP until only a month ago. If you asked most people how long they thought the economy had been shrinking for negative, they'd probably say things like, "A year? Two years?"

Why do you jump to the defense of Bush? Where did anyone attack Bush for this? Is it in the article? Are you responding to ... to what exactly? Yeah, when shit hits the fan, people tend to blame those in charge ... but where is he being blamed?

From the article:

The Bush administration won approval from Congress on Oct. 3 for a $700 billion rescue package for the financial system. Bush said in an interview with ABC's "World News" to be aired Monday that he would support additional intervention if necessary to end the recession.

Note: you are one of the last hard core republicans with your eyes shut and your fingers in your ears screaming "I CAN'T HEAR YOU" as my relatives that don't have high paying jobs are having to pawn stuff and as my friend's fathers become unemployed.

Capitalistic systems only work when the participants have faith in the system -- when that faith collapses, for whatever reason, you get a recession. And that's a normal and accepted part of the cycle.

You must think you're a lot smarter than the economists like Alan Greenspan because they've been going on and on this whole time thinking we could forever avoid another shrinking of the economy. And the people who all said we needed that package to reverse/save us from this recession? They must be idiots if it's only "a normal and accepted part of the cycle." Who exactly has accepted this, by the way? I would like to know so I can better manage my 401k in the future (half my retirement funds are now gone).

Re:A few thoughts (4, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958459)

Recessions are a normal part of the capitalist business cycle. Recessions wash out excesses in the system by shaking out inefficient companies, thus clearing the way for new competitors, and they work to keep supply and demand in sync over the long term. [msn.com]

[...] recessions are considered a normal part of a capitalist economy [...] [businessdictionary.com]

Etc.

As for your assumptions about Bush:

1. I didn't vote for Bush.

2. I voted for Obama.

So it's kind of funny you just called me "one of the last hard core republicans" when I'm anything but. What I don't like is hypocrisy and the one-sidedness of always only blaming one political party or one President -- whether it's Clinton and the Democrats or Bush and the Republicans -- for whatever ill is at hand. For the current economic situation, we had unprecedented political opportunism: it was politically expedient and beneficial for some liberals to push the notion that we're in really bad shape, even rolling out the Great Depression talk, and that Bush (and all the other things you hate about Bush, like the war!) is to blame for it.

There are so many contributing factors that it would be ridiculous to assert that economic decisions made in the current administration in the last 8 years have nothing to do with it. But at the same time, it's equally ridiculous to put blinders on to the incredible irresponsibility and shortsightedness of the decisions with regard to sub-prime lending in the name of getting people into homes. We never fully paid the piper for the internet bubble collapsing, and a lot of that, on a large scale, was parlayed into a booming housing market (and artificially created, so some extent, because of changes encouraged in lending practices).

Re:A few thoughts (1, Troll)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958475)

(half my retirement funds are now gone)

Incorrect. You haven't actually lost anything until you decide to sell at the lower value. The market will come back, it always does. You just have to remember that investing is for the long haul ("day traders" are responsible for all the major flux in the markets, and at all times. they should be put to the wall).

Re:A few thoughts (5, Insightful)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958729)

You haven't actually lost anything until you decide to sell at the lower value. The market will come back, it always does.

That's great, unless I'm 65 and expected to live on the money I get from selling my house, moving to an apartment, and liquidating my investments. The stock market, had I got in 10 years ago and invested in a safe S&P 500 index fund, has done absolutely nothing. Zero return in ten years. Ten years is pretty close to "long term" in my book.

"day traders" are responsible for all the major flux in the markets, and at all times. they should be put to the wall

Day traders are responsible for the unprecedented and unequaled liquidity in the US stock markets. They are the reason you can *always* sell or buy a stock. AIG and other bailout recipients have problems because they held onto assets, like CDS, that now are completely illiquid. They can't sell at any price. What they need is a CDS market filled with day traders who are willing to speculate on those assets and are willing to buy them at *some* price. Without speculating day traders, there is no market for you "long term" investors.

Re:A few thoughts (5, Insightful)

1lus10n (586635) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958489)

(half my retirement funds are now gone).

Like most things in your post thats wrong. Stop believing in the Obama campaign as the source of all your financial info. The correct statements would be pick one:

My retirement fund is now worth half what it was

This recession has actually caused my retirement fund to shrink

Or my personal fave:
What the hell ! You mean we can't buy big houses, SUV's and rack up credit debt endlessly ?!?! What do you mean we have to 'compete' for jobs ? Whats this crap ?? Dont choo kno I'm an American !!!

Its time to sort the wheat from the chaff. Man the fuck up. (and spread that to your friends, and their parents too - the great depression was FAR FAR FAR worse than this and they were not whining as much as people now either.)

Re:A few thoughts (2, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958579)

Actually if we are going by great depressions comparisons, if this truly IS another one, then we have MUCH worse coming down the bend.

The great depressions didn't just become "great" overnight. It took YEARS and YEARS and 2 presidents before it turned around.

Re:A few thoughts (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25958513)

Where did anyone attack Bush for this?

DO you watch any television news at all? Read a newspaper lately? A news magazine? Even a quick glance will reveal to you that he and his administration are being blamed. You obviously read Slashdot and I assure you he has been blamed here for the economy, along with everything else bad that has happened since he took office.

my relatives that don't have high paying jobs are having to pawn stuff and as my friend's fathers become unemployed.

Nice anecdote. I'm past suprise in finding a liberal offering up information intended to generate an emotional reaction rather than inform. Jobs have been lost in every year and under all economic circumstances.

economists like Alan Greenspan

Alan Greenspan can make money off this. So can Buffett and Soros and Bush and Cheney and Gates and everyone else involved in it. Why is it that we blindly accept advice from people who have spent their entire lives amassing fortunes that most of us can't even imgine? As if they suddenly decided to stop looking for angles that would allow them to leverage their weay past the next guy so they can further fill their already full pockets, as if they suddenly decided to give back, developed some concern for the people you allude to above who've lost their jobs and had to sell their possessions.

How many of the people who supported the bailout also support raising taxes on their income group to pay for it?

Re:A few thoughts (3, Funny)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958849)

Nice anecdote. I'm past suprise in finding a liberal offering up information intended to generate an emotional reaction rather than inform. Jobs have been lost in every year and under all economic circumstances.

Yeah, CURSE those GODLESS LIBERALS.

They're always looking for an EMOTIONAL reaction, because they want to MOVE TO SOCIALISM. They want to OUTLAW religion. They want to make abortions MANDATORY.

Worst of all, these liberals want to hand Osama bin Laden the keys to the castle so he can attack America again, because the "Blame America First" crowd gets off on that sort of thing.

(I'm sorry, I'm revelling in the irony. It's politics, and a lefty attacking a righty over appeals to emotion is just as ignorant as a righty attacking a lefty)

Re:A few thoughts (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958791)

as my relatives that don't have high paying jobs are having to pawn stuff and as my friend's fathers become unemployed.

*sigh* The government is responsible for managing the overall economy, not for ensuring that particular people have jobs. Your relatives are solely responsible for their own lives. Blaming the success or failure of an *individual* on government economic policy is just stupid.

I actually pity people who think their individual success is dependent on who is running the country.

Re:A few thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25958967)

Greenspan is a fool to think that an economy will only go up... as are you if you believe that as well. Like the weather, they go in cycles; that is how things work. You plan for the best and prepare for the worst or else you lose your ass.

As to your 401k; get a better fund manager. I only lost 5% of my portfolio value and its already on its way back up.

Re:A few thoughts (4, Informative)

rodney dill (631059) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958355)

The 'Rule of Thumb' definition aside, the NBER [yahoo.com] decides for itself when a recession occurs or not. James Joyner at OTB [outsidethebeltway.com] has a pretty good post on it. At best the GDP increase provides mixed signals, as the economy isn't doing great. I do agree that all the gloom and doom may be premature. (and could become self fulfilling.)

Re:A few thoughts (3, Interesting)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958357)

As long as there is a Republican president in the white house, the press will do everything in their power to convince the populace that we are all doomed.

As soon as Obama takes office, prepare for the heralds to sing: The recession is over! We are winning in Iraq! Global warming has reversed!

As far as the "recession" goes, if history is any indicator we only have a few months of it left anyway. All we need now is a few executives being charged with various crimes to appease the masses and life will go on.

Re:A few thoughts (4, Funny)

rodney dill (631059) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958425)

As soon as Obama takes office, prepare for the heralds to sing: The recession is over! We are winning in Iraq! Global warming has reversed!

Obam-ho-tep.... Obam-ho-tep.... Obam-ho-tep.... Obam-ho-tep.... Obam-ho-tep....

Re:A few thoughts (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958631)

the press will do everything in their power to convince the populace that we are all doomed.

Like, say, finally acknowledging the obvious?

-jcr

Re:A few thoughts (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25958445)

You "just found out" about this now?

I found out about it 2 years ago when I bought my home despite knowing we were in a ridiculously overpriced housing bubble. I picked my home because it was one of the few places that had a steady price, while places all around it had dropped by 20-40% over a 6 month period.

I found out about it 4 years ago when a coworker told me about being offered interest-only home loans. How could that possible end well?

This has been obvious and a long time coming. The fact that regulators never stepped in to stop the banks from committing suicide is, unfortunately, why we're now cleaning the banks off the sidewalks with taxpayer money.

All that said, I completely agree that we've been getting a lot of breathless "OMGBBQ" statements from the press and from the current administration while I haven't really seen any economic downturn myself. A friend's housing business is failing because no houses are being built, but plenty of other industries are doing just fine.

Can someone explain where the money went? (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 5 years ago | (#25959011)

One thing I never understood about this bailout of the housing market is where did all this money go? Sure, lots of people way overpaid for their homes, but shouldn't that money still be in the economy in the hands of the people who sold the homes? Surely not all of them blew their entire profit from the transaction by moving into new houses that they couldn't afford...

No matter how deluded, the poster has a point (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958457)

The system as it existed worked on faith. Not facts. Faith that an industry that produces nothing and adds no value can be the most significant industry nonetheless and make EVERYTHING else secondary. It is not the first time.

During the internet bubble, real businesses that produced real goods that real people bought with real money were considered to be worthless. The future was in... well pets.com and what not. Pipe dreams, ad based revenue. It became hard for ordinary businesses to even find investment because they didn't promise the sky.

Of course, you can't say that the financial industry is much the same, that all these speculators add nothing, are fluff. But that is what happened, we had the financial industry fluffing itself up by selling itself its own products over and over again. This whole mortage reselling would be similar to Ford and Chrysler (apologies if they are the same) buying each others cars over and over and counting that as total production. The financial industry obtained a far larger share of the total market then it really is supposed to have. It worked because everyone believed it, believed that Wall Street really is important. It isn't.

Then it collapsed, people did indeed loose fate. Somewhere someone burst the bubble. What we got now is not so much a reccesion, as a re-appreasal. We now got to decide what exactly the role of the financial industry is supposed to be. Is it a service industry to the rest of the industry (exactly like say a cleaning company is a service industry) or is everyone else in the service of the financial industry.

Do we want banks to be just banks, lend our money to others for a profit that they partly keep and partly give to us or speculators, driving up prices, investing only in their own profit margins rather then investing long term in other industries.

A few economists, even as high up as the world bank are daring to question the system right now. That perhaps we should see the bank again as it once was, a service to society rather then the controller of the entire economy. No longer should the financial industry have a 40% share of the economy but rather something closer to 4%, back to REAL industry that actually produces value being the motor again, not shoveling money around.

Frankly I been watching the developments with great intrest. Right now I think a LOT of goverments are showing their true colors, bailing out banks that were never trustworthy, never played by the rules to help out the rich who put their money in their high risk accounts at the cost of the working mans taxes.

Re:No matter how deluded, the poster has a point (5, Insightful)

speroni (1258316) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958705)

The other thing is, even the "real" production is useless crap that has designed obsolescence.

They talk on the news about how holiday spending is going to be low and how much its going to hurt the economy. Do we really want an economy based on the sales of what amounts to Christmas toys?

Did you know that when the Core Inflation rate is calculated they disregard things like milk, bread and fuel? You know the stuff that people...need.

Measuring inflation (1)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25959101)

I agree! The way inflation is calculated is a farce. Ever since the 70's (and maybe even before) items were taken out of the inflation figures. We do not have a constant measure of the actual inflation rate. How can we compare the rate of inflation now with what it was in previous years if we use different ways of making the measurement?

Re:No matter how deluded, the poster has a point (2, Interesting)

jcarkeys (925469) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958803)

The system as it existed^W exists works on faith.

Our entire economy, since we've moved from the gold standard in the 70's to a pure fiat based monetary system is still entirely, 100% based on faith. Your money has no value other than what other people think it's worth.

Re:No matter how deluded, the poster has a point (1)

machine321 (458769) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958961)

Our entire economy, since we've moved from the gold standard in the 70's to a pure fiat based monetary system is still entirely, 100% based on faith. Your money has no value other than what other people think it's worth.

As opposed to a system where your money is only worth what other people think gold is worth.

Re:No matter how deluded, the poster has a point (3, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958987)

The gold standard monetary system is also based 100% on faith. Gold only has the value that other people think it has. To me I would be willing to do about an hours worth of work for a pound of gold (unless of course someone thinks it is worth more than that, and will give me more than that for it). The idea that gold has significant intrinsic value is bullshit.

Re:No matter how deluded, the poster has a point (4, Interesting)

dc29A (636871) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958817)

Of course, you can't say that the financial industry is much the same, that all these speculators add nothing, are fluff. But that is what happened, we had the financial industry fluffing itself up by selling itself its own products over and over again. This whole mortage reselling would be similar to Ford and Chrysler (apologies if they are the same) buying each others cars over and over and counting that as total production. The financial industry obtained a far larger share of the total market then it really is supposed to have. It worked because everyone believed it, believed that Wall Street really is important. It isn't.

Then it collapsed, people did indeed loose fate. Somewhere someone burst the bubble. What we got now is not so much a reccesion, as a re-appreasal. We now got to decide what exactly the role of the financial industry is supposed to be. Is it a service industry to the rest of the industry (exactly like say a cleaning company is a service industry) or is everyone else in the service of the financial industry.

It is a mistake to assume that the current financial clusterfuck is because of bad mortgages or a bubble burst (we didn't have any serious issues with the Dot Com bubble). The bad mortgages are nothing but the trigger to two serious underlying problems:

(1) Most people in western countries live beyond their means.
(2) But most importantly: Credit Default Swaps.

The current financial situation is due mostly to [banks/investment firms/everyone and their dogs] betting on the failure of different entities. This is all due because of Credit Default Swaps are totally unregulated and they are a speculator's wet dream. The current house of CDS cards of about 50+ trillion $ (yes, trillion) is crumbling. First wave was MBIA and other bond insurers being downgraded by rating firms. This immediately triggered a metric fuckton of CDS collateral calls. Bear Stearns and Merill go under (well, saved last minute). Freddie and Fannie get bailed out, this immediately calls for another round of collateral calls. This second wave caused the collapse of Lehman, the nationalization of AIG and the massive cash infusion into Citi. If either big auto makers goes down, prepare for the worse. Oh and Goldman Sachs has started to write down bad assets too, no bank is safe.

This all thanks to speculators betting on companies with their unregulated toys: the Credit Default Swaps. It has nothing to do with believing or not in a system or losing faith in Wall Street. It's all about making a bunch of really bad bets without having cash on hand to cover the losses. And now that the bets are lost, it's time to pay. But t here is no money ...

Re:A few thoughts (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25958463)

Wrong.

Last quarter.

Why, then, did President Bush sign H.R. 5140, the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 on February 13?

Re:A few thoughts (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958595)

Why, then, did President Bush sign H.R. 5140, the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 on February 13?

Because there are lot of other indicators that you might be heading for a recession -- like decreasing growth, for example.

But the definition of a recession is two quarters of negative growth, which we haven't had yet. By another definition, we haven't even had a declaration of being in a recession by one of the bodies that makes such declarations until yesterday.

So then why have we heard constant talk about how the US is in a recession for over a year now?

Answer: political opportunism, plain and simple. If you can make people believe we're in a recession and that the party of the current president caused it, in the midst of a presidential campaign, that bodes very well for the opposing party.

No matter your politics, you should consider that incredibly irresponsible. Aside from very real economic issues, we've also had nothing but recession...recession...RECESSION -- with the implication being that it's Bush's fault, and sometimes that being explicitly stated, depending on the pundit at hand -- hammered into our collective heads for nearly the entire campaign cycle.

When McCain said, "The fundamentals of our economy are strong," (emphasis mine) he was -- and still is -- 100% correct.

Unfortunately, it was better for some liberals to push the idea of a recession, which will now end up becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy. How long do you have to hear things are terrible before you believe they are, and start making changes in your own life? And then start feeling the effects of millions of other people making those changes, and people losing jobs, and businesses closing, and this vicious cycle causing a downward spiral?

Disclaimer:

1. I didn't vote for Bush.

2. I voted for Obama.

So assuming I'm a die-hard Republican because I'm saying something you likely disagree with isn't going to work.

Re:A few thoughts (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25958511)

Don't you think that everything stemmed from the outrageous gas prices?? That can be attributed to this presidency! Gas was under a $1.25 before Bush. Sub-Prime wouldn't have ended up the crisis that it has been if all the building materials, and all other goods haven't gone through the roof in pricing, which all goes back to the transportation of the goods. Amazing that now the gas prices are back down to reasonable levels, that everyone forgets what truly created this crisis.

-- CC

Re:A few thoughts (2, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958657)

Gas prices didn't cause the sub-prime crisis.

Giving risky loans to people less likely to be able to repay them [meridianmagazine.com] is what caused the crisis.

But wow, congratulations on even more twisted logic that I could have imagined...

Re:A few thoughts (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958707)

Giving risky loans to people less likely to be able to repay them is what caused the crisis.

Not by itself. No matter how slipshod a bank is in deciding who to lend money to, without someone to supply a limitless pool of credit, there's a limit to how deep a hole you can dig.

The main perpetrator of this mess is the Federal Reserve. The banks and the politicians are accessories to the crime.

-jcr

Re:A few thoughts (1)

Real1tyCzech (997498) | more than 5 years ago | (#25959081)

That credit is based on assets, investments...and *real* money.

When those investments turn sour, that money dries up and those assets are sold.

Credit disappears.

It has virtually *nothing* to do with the price of Gas (other than they'll lower it if we stop buying it, and raise it if we buy it up like, well...gas).

Re:A few thoughts (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958881)

If "this presidency" created the gas price explosion, then what did it do to make it deflate so dramatically recently? Gas prices were up because of the same market speculation (in this case commodities) that was driving up everything else. The executive branch has had fuck all to do with it; but I suppose there's no shortage of dimwits like you who think the president has magic powers, and that if we could just get a good one, it'll be sunshine and daisies forever.

Re:A few thoughts (1)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958551)

A long-standing rule of thumb for "recession" is that it is defined as contraction in the GDP for at least two consecutive quarters (six months).

That definition worked in the past, when GDP more or less equaled national income. But today, when a significant portion of retirement income comes directly from capital gains in the stock market through 401(k)s, when many homeowners have supplemented their income through home-equity lines of credit, and when almost everyone carries significant balances on credit cards, the GDP decline definition of a recession is not sufficient. Even though most people are still at the same job, making the same pay (contributing the same amount to GDP), they most certainly do not have the same amount of money. Its more useful to think of the GDP decline as less of a definition, but more as a symptom.

Definitions can change based on changing circumstances. Seventy years ago, a baseball bat was defined as a club made out of wood with certain characteristics. Times changed, and so has the definition. What has happened in our economy in the last year may not have been two straight quarters of GDP decline, but the effect on the average American may be the same.

Re:A few thoughts (3, Informative)

qazsedcft (911254) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958625)

A long-standing rule of thumb for "recession" is that it is defined as contraction in the GDP for at least two consecutive quarters (six months).

Yes, but when measuring this economists always take the so called "real GDP". In other words, GDP adjusted for inflation, using the official CPI figure. What they don't tell you is that the CPI is completely disconnected from reality [shadowstats.com] - a figure manipulated by government economists so that inflation-adjusted payments and benefits can be as low as possible. CPI has absolutely nothing to do with real inflation and "real GDP" has absolutely nothing to do with real economic growth.

Re:A few thoughts (1)

yakmans_dad (1144003) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958629)

Sub-prime lending would have produced only regional effects (in the "sand states") if that were the only thing wrong with the economy. Blaming sub-prime lending is ludicrous: it's scope is less than 3-5% the amount being sent to banks and other financial institutions. The real culprit was the unregulated market in credit swaps and derivatives. A market of 20-30 trillion dollars: around 2 orders of magnitude larger than the sub-prime mortgage problem. There were margins that would have shamed a stock broker in 1929.

This element is downplayed in some quarters because it demolishes the viability of unregulated capitalism just as sure as the Soviet Union demolished the idea of Communism. That destruction was what Alan Greenspan voiced his mea culpa over. Not sub-prime lending. Who would have thought that rich people would have had such destructive, greedy, and irrational capacities? Well, lots of people. Just not the ones with power and their smattering of Rand and Hayek in their heads.

Re:A few thoughts (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958671)

. The real culprit was the unregulated market in credit swaps and derivatives.

No, that was secondary. those derivatives are pyramided on the housing bubble, which was cause by the fed holding interest rates below the rate of inflation for over a decade.

-jcr

Re:A few thoughts (1)

yakmans_dad (1144003) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958771)

. The real culprit was the unregulated market in credit swaps and derivatives.

No, that was secondary. those derivatives are pyramided on the housing bubble, which was cause by the fed holding interest rates below the rate of inflation for over a decade.

-jcr

Secondary? The sub-prime market was > 2 orders of magnitude smaller than the credit swap market. Low interest rates didn't CAUSE the over-leveraging. Lots of financial institutions didn't indulge in them. Your Wellington 401-k probably has skated through almost untouched, I bet. You're blaming the fleas for the dog's condition when the owner beats it with a stick.

Re:A few thoughts (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958639)

It is this kind of partisan willful ignorance on the part of many that has enabled the political agenda among some to drive the notion that the US is in a severe recession caused by the ineptness and reckless irresponsibility of the Bush administration, when the US had nothing but growth in the GDP until only a month ago. If you asked most people how long they thought the economy had been shrinking for negative, they'd probably say things like, "A year? Two years?"

Megadittos.

Here's the thing. What you just said isn't true. One column I read regularly is that of Robert J. Samuelson [realclearpolitics.com] . He's been writing about economic issues since 1977 and his column is carried several major newspapers such as the Washington Post, Newsweek, the L.A. Times and the Boston Globe. Hardly a non-mainstream guy. Go ahead, read what Samuelson has to say about the recession and its causes. Hell, read this article about the banking collapse [realclearpolitics.com] . Many of the contributing factors were already in place well before W took office.

Now, I'm no ardent Bush supporter, and I'm definitely not a conservative in the mainstream sense of the word. But I have to agree with Samuelson because if you do the research yourself, you'll find his logic is sound.

This is what the mainstream media has touted, not that it's all Bush's fault. To sit there and play victim is exactly what Republicans and conservatives tend to do when they lose elections. It's predictable.

Reality is something else entirely.

Some of my own (2, Interesting)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958703)

Part of the GDP calculation is "C (Consumption) is private consumption in the economy. This includes most personal expenditures of households such as food, rent, medical expenses and so on but does not include new housing." [wikipedia.org]

If that consumption is financed by mortgage debt and the housing boom - which is not included in GDP calculations, I have to wonder about these numbers that economists throw around. Sure we technically haven't been in recession because the numbers are skewed that way. What if we did include new housing? We'd be showing a huge decrease in output. Why aren't we including housing in the GDP number? Many of these measurements are created based on consensus and for political reasons. They are not based on any physical laws.

If healthcare was included in the inflation calculations, we would have double digit inflation. But that wouldn't be good for the Government and corp America because all the benefits that they pay (Social Security, Veterans benefits, etc... ) would have to increase dramatically.

How does it go again? Figures don't lie but liars can figure?

Re:A few thoughts (3, Informative)

mbone (558574) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958751)

I hate to say it, but you are living in cloud-coo-coo land. Of course we are in a recession, and have been for some time. In my business, I deal with corporations, both large and small. All are hurting, all are cutting spending, and this is a major topic of conversation at literally every meeting I go to. To think that this is driven by the media is to be deluded.

The "Mandate of Heaven effect," by which the party in power gets blamed for a bad economy, and praised for good results, regardless of what they had to do with it, is another matter. I agree with you in principle, but it seems clear to me that the current administration had plenty to do with what's going on in practice.

Re:A few thoughts (3, Insightful)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958755)

Worse still, many people actually believe that whatever recession we'll end up having is exclusively the fault of only the current President, and can't look back to anything before the year 2000 for any blame whatsoever [meridianmagazine.com] . The egregious irresponsibility of the sub-prime lending has a long and sordid history.

It doesn't matter how many times you repeat this stupid lie, it's still a lie. (A reasonable summary of Cards bullshit: http://adastrum.kansascity.com/?q=node/408 [kansascity.com] ).

Re:A few thoughts (1)

jambox (1015589) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958767)

I'd go even further and ask the question: how much do we really care about GDP? OK it's a broadly representative number which affects employment and so on but it can't be a particularly accurate figure at any point. Who knows exactly how much stuff the whole country made in a year?

Moreover, we should probably wrench our sight away from pure cash wealth and think about things in the round a bit more [wikipedia.org] .

Re:A few thoughts (1)

WebmasterNeal (1163683) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958773)

i agree, the media does appear to be setting up a self fulfilling prophecy here (more or less this summer before the markets crashed)

They adjust the measuring (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25958801)

They do stuff like classify making hamburgers as *manufacturing* now. If you went back and relooked at the economy with the older metrics, it has been a recession for well over a year. Plus, no one outside the Fed has the real numbers on inflation, they stopped publishing the full M3. That was a serious red flag indicating "lookout, shenanigans ahead!" for anyone paying attention. A couple of websites try to guess at the real numbers and according to their analysis it is a lot higher than what the official stats say. And then all you have to do is pay attention to your own budget and look at prices, taking into consideration such things as package weight shrinkage at the grocery store. You may be paying near the same price for product x over the past year but a LOT of stuff is now sold smaller weight for the same appearing package. For instance (just one of many) I noticed my large standard bags of catfood remained at the regular price, but dropped two lbs in weight. And look at the huge fuel price runup tis summer, that was a lot of extra cash that disappeared mostly down the speculator/investment bank rabbit hole, some analyssts think just goldman sachs was responsible for at least one dollar of those higher gas at the pump prices. then all the commodities jumps as the mortgage loons switched to that, they have bankrupted huge segments of the ag industry over that, just yesterday the largest poultry operation went chapter 11, they got stuck with being forced to pay the speculator driven huge price increases for corn (and no it wasn't all for ethanol demand, it was speculator driven). Now look at how they keep cooking the books on the real unemployment figures, they just stopped counting people who have gone a long time without work! Just not included!

If anything, the true damage to the economy is still being lowballed, the sheer outright thievery that has gone on at the upper levels of the "bailout zone" is off the scale.

Re:A few thoughts (2, Interesting)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958997)

A pyramid scheme only works when the people involved have faith in the system. Also, when a pyramid scheme collapses it is only the ones at the top who get to make for the hills with all the cash. Perpetuating a system that is designed specifically to move money to the top then allows them to fuck off with it leaving everybody else in the shit is not acceptable in a supposedly democratic state. Boom and Bust benefits only those at the top. Occasionally a few others might catch the wave and get out before it breaks but they really are in the minority.

I have great difficulty taking seriously, any system that regards continuous growth as a given state of affairs. Nothing is infinite, so that growth has to come from some other part of the budget. As we have recently seen, what happens is growth is fuelled by debt, which ultimately collapses, resetting the "growth" clock which then allows future "growth". Increasing the money supply is not growth if it is borrowed from somewhere else. Especially if it is borrowed from me, then pissed up the wall leaving me worse off.

In short, capitalistic systems going through boom and bust are only normal and accepted by those who have a vested interest in allowing them to collapse. Real growth requires that you hold on to what you've got and build, not place your bets, follow the lady.
Or do you deny the markets are a gamble ?

When the bank puts my mortgage up because they're short of money, how is that my fault ? Do we allow the addicted gambler to forcibly take funds from people just to cover his debts ? That is one abusive relationship.

Thank you for telling us. (0)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958271)

We would not known that that US was in a recession unless they had told us. Do they work for the psychic network?

Are they going to tell us that we can't buy a Delorean or that gas prices are over $1.00/gallon.

Is this a think tank telling us this?

yeah... (0, Flamebait)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958275)

Now that the election is over and the Republicans have lost, they can finally say "recession".

Re:yeah... (1)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958977)

How is this flamebate? No one wanted to use the word "recession" until the election was over because to say we were in one would hurt the incumbent party's chances at reelection. Regardless of who the incumbent party was.

thank goodness slashdot covers this. (5, Interesting)

nimbius (983462) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958281)

step aside intel 45 nanometer chipset, cloaking materials, telepathic controllers, and internet technology....its time for an economic recession story from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

you nerds can thank us later after you're done spending your way to patriotastic victory over the stock plunge and housing crisis.

Re:thank goodness slashdot covers this. (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958863)

Actually, I think we need a "Why aren't there enough women in IT/games and what can we do?" story to make it a typical slashdot day.

Not a recession (4, Interesting)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958283)

Sure they are more accurate but they are mixing up precise esoteric terms with the 'generally understood' terms.

People understand what the general term means in terms of their daily lives and for them "recession" is bad. What started in 2007 it wasn't "bad" for the ordinary Joe - in fact a recovery might have occurred and we'd never have known about it. Now that it's the 2 quarters of negative growth thing, it's a real recession.

We haven't had two quarters... (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958367)

...of negative growth.

Only one, the most recent, where the GDP shrank by 0.3% [bea.gov] .

The prior quarter GDP growth was 2.8%.

We've only had one quarter of negative growth, and we only found out about that less than a month ago.

See? All the constant doom and gloom talk [slashdot.org] works, doesn't it? Even someone who knows the accepted definition of a recession such as yourself thought we were in one.

Not a Joe thing. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958389)

"What started in 2007 it wasn't "bad" for the ordinary Joe - in fact a recovery might have occurred and we'd never have known about it."

Depends were Joe was on the socioeconomic scale. For a lot of Joes the economy hasn't been right since 9/11.

Re:Not a Joe thing. (2, Interesting)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958713)

For a lot of Joes, the economy hasn't been right since about the 5th to 7th year of that long period where minimum wage froze. For other Joes, it really hit about the time they were asked to pay for the whole 'End of the Cold War Peace Dividend' - for example the incredibly filthy trick played on the Airline Pilots Unions. (Don't know why banning the strike and busting the union led to the shortages of pilots, technicians and even air traffic controllers we see today? Then why are you commenting on economics?). People have been getting screwed over since Cain couldn't get a jury trial. This time, it's just about everybody reading this thread.

Really ? (1)

pythonhacker (898864) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958291)

The economy must be surely in a recession if it takes a team of economic experts a FULL YEAR to figure this out!

Now go and tell this to John McCain...

Re:Really ? (1)

Walterk (124748) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958399)

According to the definition a recession is "two consecutive quarters of decline in economic activity as measured by a decrease in GDP". So they needed 6 months to compile the data from those 6 months?

Re:Really ? (0, Troll)

TehZorroness (1104427) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958401)

It'll take another couple of years for these words to bounce around inside his aging and balding head. Once it settles, he'll sit there for another couple days and then be like... "ohh... really?" and make himself look like an old tool who shourd return to the old people's home.

dont take this completely serious. I have respect for mccain, it's just fun to make fun of old people - this is slashdot after all.

Re:Really ? (1, Funny)

TehZorroness (1104427) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958443)

I meant to post that anonymously :(

Re:Really ? (3, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958481)


So basically, you like to take your name off things when you're going to make a personal attack. Guess they call it AC for a reason.

Re:Really ? (2, Funny)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 5 years ago | (#25959007)

You know, that h4rm0ny is a real dick.

Now to click AC. Oh shi-

You seem to have (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25958303)

some goatse on your face.

i thought the economy was bad enough (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958361)

but when these economists start retroactively applying the recession to previous time periods, thats just cruel and unusual punishment

why do we tolerate these economists? why don't we just lock them in a dungeon somewhere? what did we ever do to them to make them hurt our economy so bad?

maybe if some of us form a posse and tar and feather some economists these jerks will relent and make the economy good again

Re:i thought the economy was bad enough (1)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958807)

Yeah! Not only has the bank repossessed your house, now it turns out that you owe them 12 months rent.

Monkey Economics (4, Interesting)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958379)

Monkeying with the key metrics -- like "unemployment" (ignoring those no longer actively seeking work) and "cost of living" under continual "revision" for political purposes since at least 1983 (when "cost of living" replaced house prices with "imputed rent") -- has left us without the information we need to realistically address economic policy.

It's sort of like a junkie being asked diagnostic questions like "Where does it hurt?" by a doctor who is prescribing him opiates.

Re:Monkey Economics (2, Informative)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958467)

Monkeying with the key metrics -- like "unemployment" (ignoring those no longer actively seeking work)

Huh? Are you claiming we should count housewives as unemployed? Being unemployed is only a problem for those that would otherwise work.. but there are plenty of people that AREN'T going to be working. How exactly does including those people help us figure out how much untapped talent we have?

Re:Monkey Economics (2, Informative)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958577)

"Housewives"? Are you seriously suggesting that "housewives" make up a significant demographic group outside the 1950s or TV series fantasy? It has been a long time since only one income could reliably support middle class subsistence. Certainly there are plenty of people who aren't going to be working, but that is more a product of malinvestment than the few people who realistically have a choice to not work.

Re:Monkey Economics (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25959005)

This article [nytimes.com] from 2004 indicates there are about 9.8m stay-at-home moms and dads. This does not appear to count households without children and a stay-at-home spouse. While not a large group, it is still a significant number that could screw up unemployment statistics.

Re:Monkey Economics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25959125)

Yes, yes we should. If they don't have a job, then they are _unemployed_.

The reason this should be included in the unemployment figure, is because it is much more closely related to reality. Sure, only the people who want work will even care what the number is, but at least it's a real definable number.

If you have a great economy where the majority of people who want jobs have them, and you have 50 million unemployed, versus a struggling economy with the same population level and 120 million unemployed, it tells you something.

Not really a surprise. (4, Interesting)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958407)

Since the only growing industries seem to have been weapons and war, it's only natural that when you take the influence of government debt out of the picture, the economy has been shrinking for a long time.

There are some people who think you can replace economic growth in the private sector with economic growth in the public sector and it's the same thing. That may be true in Soviet Russia, but in the free world, pork financed with debt is an inflationary measure that doesn't increase the actual size of the economy.

What's worse, this 3.4% growth in the economy financed by debt is going to cause a cascade plunge. Right now we're like a family using debt to pay off debt (the growth in the national debt is equal to the money spent maintaining the current debt). What always happens in cases like these is the debt supply runs out, and the family goes bankrupt. If you think we're seeing hard times today, just wait. Paying back this 10 trillion is going to send the US back to the stone age by comparison.

Re:Not really a surprise. (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958591)

The healthcare industry has been growing faster than anything. It is taking a larger and larger chunk out of our pockets every year. Unfortunately, economists like to say that healthcare expenses (along with college tuition) is out pacing inflation. But why don't they include healthcare in their measurement of inflation?

Re:Not really a surprise. (1)

Carbonite (183181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958805)

I'm not sure if or how healthcare is included in inflation calculations, but it's certainly possible for its rate of increase to exceed the overall inflation rate.

Let's say healthcare costs are increasing by 30% per year. Inflation without these costs might be 3% (I'm just making these numbers up). Inflation including healthcare costs would be higher, perhaps 4%. Either way, healthcare is rising much faster than inflation.

"Exceeded double-digit percentages ..." (3, Funny)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958473)

So they dropped triple-digit percentages? Did any of them drop more than 100%? I thought the whole point of shares was that you couldn't lose more than what your investment was?

WRONG POST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25958497)

WHY IS THIS FUCKING SHIT ON SLASHDOT?!?!?!?! Why not just read CNN and dump this site as a whole?

Umm, rational markets? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958517)

So, I'm assuming that the outfit that decided that present conditions constitute "recession" rather than something else is working from publicly available information, not some super-secret oracle. In that case, why would the markets react to their giving a label to a set of phenomena that were already present(and thus presumably reacted to)?

FFS you "rational actors", you'd better get your act together or I'm going to have to start paying attention to behavioral economists!

Re:Umm, rational markets? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958735)

In that case, why would the markets react to their giving a label to a set of phenomena that were already present(and thus presumably reacted to)?

That was my first thought too. These people didn't know the economy was in the tank until they heard this pronouncement?

Too much thinking going on here... (5, Funny)

joeasian (1056578) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958525)

- "We don't believe we're going to have a recession though." [Vice President Dick Cheney, 1/30/08 [whitehouse.gov] ]
- "I think the experts will tell you we're not in a recession." [President Bush, 2/10/08 [thinkprogress.org] ]
- "The answer is, I don't think we are in a recession right now." [Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Edward Lazear, 2/11/08 [whitehouse.gov] ]
- "First of all, we're not in a recession." [President Bush, 4/22/08 [thinkprogress.org] ]
- "The data are pretty clear that we are not in a recession." [Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Edward Lazear, 5/7/08 [wsj.com] ]
- "I don't think we are" in a recession. [Director of the National Economic Council Keith Hennesy, 6/3/08 [whitehouse.gov] ]
- "I think we have avoided a recession." [White House Budget Director Jim Nussle, 7/31/08 [marketwatch.com] ]
- "I don't think anybody could tell you right now if we're in a recession or not" [Dana Perino, 10/7/08 [thinkprogress.org] ]

Re:Too much thinking going on here... (1)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25959023)

You mean the leaders have no idea what is going on or they are lying through their teeth? Wow... that's something new.

Recession? Meh. (4, Insightful)

blcamp (211756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958557)

I refuse to participate in any recession.

As long as I work and earn, I will save and spend just as I always did. My family's economy won't be dictated to by some namby-pamby report by a bunch of gloom and doom busybodies.

Seriously.

If you practice fiscal responsibility (something the U.S. government seems unwilling to do, hence the current mess), work hard and consistently, keep your skills updated and always marketable, you'll stay out of trouble... or at least be nimble enough to make whatever moves are necessary to get out of trouble very quickly.

Some folks want to wail and gnash their teeth at the falling sky. Hey, whatever floats their boat.

Re:Recession? Meh. (3, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958891)

The whole problem is that a whole lot of people, from Wall Street bankers to low wage workers, have not been practicing fiscal responsibility, and show no inclination to start doing so.

This is HUGE *snap* (1)

Politicus (704035) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958611)

If I only knew about it yesterday so that I could trade on it. Thanks slashdot.

And to all of the poindexter's at the NBER, "Duuuuuhh!" The real news here is that the brains at NBER finally figured out how to click the "1Y" button on either Google's or Yahoo's DOW chart.

Recession - WOW no way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25958649)

We're in a recession? No way!
Hey I heard we landed on the moon, discovered fire and invented a round wheel too.
Wonder when we'll harness the power of electricity??

Slashdot: September of 1997 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25958709)

Slashdot: late with the news since September of 1997

"Great Recession" (1)

ewg (158266) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958761)

Lately the term "Great Recession" has emerged in the press to describe the current predicament. It's weighty enough to distinguish this very serious situation from a garden variety recession, but doesn't verge into hysteria.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to hop a train to Kalamazoo.

http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&q=%22Great%20Recession%22 [google.com]

Tin Foil Hat (2, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958777)

Not to stir the conspiracy pot, but I find it odd that we've been in a recession for a year, but we only hear about it a month after an election. One could postulate that the administration worked very hard to keep this announcement quiet in order to not look worse.

Up until a few months ago, the republicans have been saying the economy is strong and NOT in a recession. OK, so now they lose, and we find out the truth.

It could be innocent timing, but given the record of this administration I suspect it was known for some time.

150,000 Economist Can't be Wrong!!! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25958935)

From an interview with James K. Galbraith:

But there are at least 15,000 professional economists in this country, and youâ(TM)re saying only two or three of them foresaw the mortgage crisis?
Ten or 12 would be closer than two or three.

What does that say about the field of economics, which claims to be a science?

Itâ(TM)s an enormous blot on the reputation of the profession. There are thousands of economists. Most of them teach. And most of them teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/magazine/02wwln-Q4-t.html?_r=1

Why are these people still employed and why does anyone listen?

At least we will have plenty of money. (2, Interesting)

mtraskos35826 (880419) | more than 5 years ago | (#25958945)

This is all a lie! You can't trust statistics or facts. Where there is money, there is wealth.... at least so I am told. Just look at the government's own numbers for the number of dollars in the economy (http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/BASE [stlouisfed.org] Federal Reserve) - they have created $650billion more dollars in the last three months effectively increasing the total number of dollars in the economy by only 61%. Wealth has nothing to do with the goods in the economy, only the number of pieces of paper exchanged as currency.
I say the only way to create more stuff is to let the government print more money. Just think how much better everyone will be.... you know.... when everyone is a millionaire.

Bottom line - we boned.

Good times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25959041)

People who live beyond their means ultimately succumb to their avarice. I fail to see what all the economic doom and gloom is about. These are great days for the ant but those silly grasshoppers sure make a melodramatic ruckus when the wealth runs dry.

Having lived far below my means, refused debt slavery's yoke, saved and invested well foreseeing the bubbles demise and dodging its implosion, I now plan to spend my wealth on all those necessities denied me being so unrealistically over priced. Now homes and land, cars and other things are becoming cheap and I can buy them with cash owing no debt to anyone.

Thank you Mr. Bush, great days indeed!

Independent and Impartial (1)

zubikov (1172699) | more than 5 years ago | (#25959113)

When all of the sudden everyone becomes an economics expert, talks trash and screams Armageddon...it's nice to have someone fair and impartial like NBER. It wasn't easy for them to call a recession since Q1 and Q2 GDP growth was positive, yet unemployment was negative. These were conflicting statistics and until the aggregate numbers were recently revised, meant there was NO recession. But that's why they're economists and not frat-boy b-school analysts.
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