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Great Recession Over, at Least for Economists

22 comments

For once, the mainstream press has greeted “good” economic news with the blunt skepticism it deserves. According to the Cambridge, MA-based National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the Great Recession ended in June of 2009, eighteen months after it officially began.  “So Where’s the Party?” asked the Associated Press in a headline that topped Google’s afternoon news roundup.  “[The recession] may be over,” wrote AP reporter Jeannine Aversa, “but you won’t be hearing any cheers from the millions of Americans who are struggling to find a job. Or are worried about the ones they have. Or have lost their homes. Or are behind on the mortgage.”  Ms. Aversa even managed to extract the perfectly pithy quote from former communications worker Bob Johnson, who’s been looking for a job for more than three years: “Every single one of the individuals who wrote the report needs a serious reality check,” he said.  Our sentiments exactly.  This story is destined to rank right up there in the annals of foolishness with Bush II’s declaration that the war was over in Iraq, and with official estimates that more than 74% of the oil spilled in the Gulf had either evaporated, dispersed or been absorbed.

Enough dismal scientists to screw in a light bulb?

So what does the NBER have to gain by making themselves look like dummies in the eyes of tens of millions of Americans who are either unemployed, underemployed, or working harder than ever just to stay afloat? We  can only speculate that the eggheads who compile NBER’s statistics got bored and decided to go out on a limb just for the hell of it. The bureau’s economists, who come from academia, business and trade unions, have been tracking recessions for the U.S. government since 1910. They are the official arbiters of when each recession has begun and ended, and perhaps we shouldn’t act surprised when they stretch the numbers a bit to bring a little drama and hope into our otherwise dreary economic lives. Or would we instead have them tell us that this recession will never end? That wouldn’t sound very scientific, nor would it give politicians much opportunity to “do something” about it.

As Colorado Goes…

For NBER’s part, they cautioned that their findings bear no relation to the current state of the economy and do not represent a forecast about the future. “If another downturn occurs anytime soon,” the NBER told MarketWatch, “it would constitute a separate recession.”  Such an outcome evidently would come as a big surprise to economists outside of the NBER. According to MarketWatch, “most” economists doubt the U.S. will sink into another recession. We wonder what they’ve been smoking, since nearly all of the evidence we’ve seen lately suggests that the Great Recession is about to take a turn for the (much) worse.  Just yesterday, for instance, there was a story that Colorado was facing a deficit of as much as $257 million in the current fiscal year and that the shortfall is set to quadruple next year. This is scary not just because we make our home in Colorado, but because the state is probably in better economic shape than most others. Even so, paring the deficit down to a still-unmanageable $257 million required such extreme measures as co-opting registration fees for medical marijuana dispensaries and cutting the Department of Corrections’ budget sharply. Over the next few years, budget problems far more severe than Colorado’s will need to be dealt with elsewhere at the state and local levels. What this implies is not merely the double-dip recession that economists say is so unlikely, but a continuation of the U.S. economy’s slide into full-blown Depression.

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  • Buster September 22, 2010, 12:32 pm

    The recession won’t be over until the objective is achieved!

    If you haven’t already seen the documentary “The Money Master” it is a must see. It will probably change the way you see the world thereafter.

    Find part 1 of 22 parts at Youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXb-LrVkuwM

    Once you have seen the documentary, what is happening makes a lot more sense:

    The present recession was a premeditated move by the Banksters begun in July 2007. It was a tried and tested technique of restricting money to the populous in order to create fear and chaos. This time it was done with the objective of achieving the next step in the Banksters global plan, which is to create an international monetary authory which will take controll of all international money transactions. In effect, nobody will be able to buy or sell anything without going through this new Banking authority. (This part may make particular sense to some of you reading this, if you know what I mean!!)

    “The purpose of this financial crisis is to take down the U.S. dollar as the stable datum of planetary finance and, in the midst of the resulting confusion, put in its place a Global Monetary Authority [GMA – run directly by international bankers freed of any government control] -a planetary financial control organization”- Bruce Wiseman

    To those that still think as ‘sheeple’ this will be a comforting solution that will take away the uncertainty of the global monetary system.

    The reality is very, very different.

    It will be one of the final steps that the Banksters will have made in order have power and control over everyone on the planet.

    “The Money Masters” documentary should give you some insight into what will follow, as the total world population become slaves to the elites.

    The main point is that the US dollar is probably going down heavily now, so steer clear of it. Also, it seems highly likely that the UK’s & US’s gold reserves were offloaded into the hands of the Banksters about ten years ago, and historically they have preferred a gold standard money supply, especially when everyone is in debt already. This means that they are probably very happy for the gold price to keep rising, so long as not many of the sheeple have any.

    The other issue is silver. The Banksters outlawed use of silver as money as it was too available, and prevented them from crushing debtors so easily in the deflationary stage of their scam. It seems unlikely that it will be returned to money whilst the Banksters are in power, which they most certainly still are.

    However, the Banksters control is expected to end abruptly, according to the expected course of events, but this may be quite some time away yet.

    Hopefully we won’t have to endure the experience of their total control for any longer than is absolutely necessary!

  • donniemac September 22, 2010, 4:38 am

    Obviously the recession had to end so we can have the second dip – I say everyone get stoned and be happy.

    But seriously, how academia describes the length of the recession has very little if any connection with reality. And that has been true for the past 100 years.

  • jj September 21, 2010, 9:53 pm

    Great call on Gold R.A.

    $1270 go fishing…..Dec just hit all time high $1291+

    Yup!! all is good in the US as the Gold price reflects just how right the economists are……NOT!!!

    Got Gold?

  • IFRS September 21, 2010, 8:47 pm

    Yeah rightly said, Recession is only over for the Economists…

    Theoritically it has ended, but the chances of a Double Dip Recession still gloom large… so whats the benefit of announcing this when we know that another slow down is on the cards again

  • Benjamin September 21, 2010, 8:27 pm

    To Rick and the RP forum readers,

    Sorry about my off-topic remarks of late. Seems my brain has a bit of a vacation, what with this on/off insomnia that I’ve had these past couple of weeks. I’ll do my best to keep from hitting these keys and send button until this passes 🙂

    @ SteveH

    In regards to what the boss wants to hear, you’re probably right. But last night, an un-named Obama supporter at some townhall meeting apparently wasn’t pleased at all with his handling of things. Basically, she went into what it’s like to be smack-dab in the middle of the middle-class decline… after she told him she was exhausted from defending him, his policies, administration, that is.

    The point is, it’s funny how this economic report came out at roughly the same time. May be what he wants to hear, but the more he hears what he wants, the more he won’t!

  • cosmo September 21, 2010, 7:32 pm

    Why does anyone believe anything the govt. or a mouthpiece of the govt. has to say?? It has become so Orwellian that if their lips are moving, they’re lying. Problem is, the breadth of the propaganda machine is so wide, I can’t tell who to trust as reputable anymore. It seems every publication is biased somehow or uses information from ‘official’ sources.

    I can take what is posted here as a matter of opinion, but where to get reliable FACTS? I would appreciate a few sources that people here use as reputable and reliable. Sifting through the BS is getting a quite old…

    Thanks Rick for some reliable debate on a wide range of interesting stories…even when they get off topic.

    • Robert September 21, 2010, 9:17 pm

      Cosmo-

      Start with ZeroHedge.com, throw in a dash of HuffingtonPost, and top it all off with the DailyBell and DailyReckoning.

  • jj September 21, 2010, 7:00 pm

    I say we legalize Free Markets!

    Let the markets decide the value of everything traded, not governments!

  • andequip September 21, 2010, 5:27 pm

    Puh-lease stop with the debate over “medical” MJ. Consider that MJ was put on this earth, for use by the population, by devine providence. What gives anyone, or any government to deny the benefits that MJ may offer?

    What’s next? The stevia plant being outlawed because it interferes with big sugar’s interests?

    God and his universe give. The US Government takes away. Forget about your opinions on this or any other naturally occurring, indiginous product. It was put here for a reason, that we may not understand, but we should not deny, out of ignorance. Legalize something that we already have? Preposterous!

    • Robert September 21, 2010, 9:15 pm

      Great post!

      I’ve never “partaken” of the magic Peyote myself- not a prude, just never had an interest in it, but I can say fully support the legalization of all things that occur in nature, regardless of how damaging they may be to our faculties when operating heavy machinery…

  • Paul A September 21, 2010, 2:37 pm

    As soon as I saw the CNN news crawler in my hotel room his morning telling me that ,according to Washington,the US recession was now “officially” over, I could not stop thinking of one thing –an old black and white movie from about 50 years ago where an old wild-eyed Beverley Hills type character runs away from a drilling rig which has struck a gusher, screaming “Head for the hills, this things goonna bloooow!!!!”
    I got off my flight, went home and sold all of my shares which did not fall into the “I’m prepared to hold these for at least the next 10 years” category. I now wait to see if I’m wrong or right. (whilst “heading for the hills”)
    Oscar Wilde said “A cynic is what an idealist calls a realist” …………..

  • SteveH September 21, 2010, 1:55 pm

    Remember that there are elections in November, and the President smiles favourably on all those who tell the voters that there are blue skies ahead. The President will certainly smile very favourably on the NBER and all its management……they will be lucky!
    I’m sure these can’t be the only people in the USA telling the boss what he wants to hear.

  • Benjamin September 21, 2010, 8:22 am

    “This story is destined to rank right up there in the annals of foolishness with… official estimates that more than 74% of the oil spilled in the Gulf had either evaporated, dispersed or been absorbed.”

    That’s kind of old news, the evaporation story. Or maybe it’s just that it’s been crowded out by all the other leak and fire stories. Here in the Great Lakes region, for example, we’ve had two this summer…

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/10/enbridge-oil-spill-pipeli_n_712326.html

    I also caught wind of one out in CA. That one might have been natural gas. Oh, and I heard that another rig caught fire in the Gulf, and someone (in government) complained about all the dormant rigs sitting in the Gulf.

    Not that any of these stories is anything like the first leak. But just look at that oil price. It still hasn’t budged very much from it’s end of Apr plunge. Just as abandoned houses fall apart, everything rusts and leaks in a depression!

    On ‘medicinal marijuana’: lol… I hate that term. When people of the wonder weed camp say medicinal, it’s like they believe that they, and they alone, know some word that has some kind special, smart-people meaning. “Did you know [some substance] has medicinal properties?”.

    Oooo… such sophisticated lingo! That aside, come on… They just wanna get high! Or at least many of them do. So why don’t they just SAY SO already?! Sheeze!

    • BDTR September 21, 2010, 3:17 pm

      Well, Ben, I suppose that we all have our preconceived notions about what’s valid and what’s not. But, as I’m sure you’d agree, ignorance is never a good basis for forming an opinion.

      Your “hate”-ful dismissal of MJ as a medical substance is irrational as implied, and discounts a vast amount of clinical study as well as anecdotal accounts of tens of thousands of cancer and glaucoma patients.

      Clinical studies at Cambridge, Harvard, Ohio State, Wake Forrest, Vanderbilt, Universities of Milan, Barcelona and others of both in vivo and in vitro have shown conclusive efficacy in not only treatment for a host of symptoms resulting conventional Chemo treatments for cancer, but a higher success rate of tumour suppression than conventional Chemo itself. This is true for a wide range of the most common and aggressive breast, colon, prostate, pancreatic, lung, thyroid bone and cancers by prohibiting formation of blood vessels in cancer cells at the RNA level.

      Suppression of cannabinoid research has been lobbied hard against by pharmaceutical interests that stand to lose billions in supplanted treatment regimes, and have failed to synthesise a patent-able substitute. So, they’re willing to deny the sick and dying effective and affordable self administered treatments for sake of prolonging their profit.

      The Alcohol lobby, too, is fighting tooth and nail to retain the unjust and immoral prohibition of MJ as a competing substance for intoxication, (as if). That’s also not to mention the huge amount of money Mexican drug cartels are contributing to anti-legalisation efforts and their political candidates in the US.

      So research it, then ‘hate’ it, if you’re then so inclined.

    • Larry September 21, 2010, 4:22 pm

      BTDR-
      Communiques from NORML always give me the giggles, as if I just took a deep drag on the Big Island’s finest.

      In the bad old days of alcohol prohibition, doctors were among the few legal distributaries of medical alcohol. Need a nip for your cold? Here’s a prescription-*wink*. The health benefits of alcohol are vast and historic.

      I’m all for legalizing weed, but not under the sanctimonious ruse of medical use. I see nothing in the Mayo Clinic’s publications about the benefits of cannabis. They do, however, mention gynecomastia and low sperm count in men as side affects of marijuana use.

      Are these the medical uses you had in mind?

    • Benjamin September 21, 2010, 5:01 pm

      Hate? Because I think the term medicinal marijuna is cover for the fact that lots of people just want to smoke it, and aren’t nessecarily sick? When the talks first started about legalizing for medical use first began to surface years ago… how many people said “Oh wow… I think I’m coming down with a case of glacoma!”

      Right. Sick. Uh-huh. Smoke it if you got it. I don’t care!

      And btw, what makes you and/or those of bong conspiracist knitting circle think it would be better to legalize it… under the authority of the drug companies rather than the drug cartels that exist now?
      Sheeze, you make it sound like the drug companies would lose, when they would in fact gain. Same thing with beer and tobacco companies. Everyone I know that smokes weed also drinks and/or smokes cigarettes. In fact, it would get cheaper if Phil and RJ could grow and sell, and people would probably smoke more of it more often because it was cheaper…

      which can only mean more money for beer and smokes! Wow!

      So you can bet your seven leaves that no one has anything to lose, except the drug caretls and law enforcement, and no one wants to make enemies with them…

    • BDTR September 21, 2010, 5:45 pm

      Ben, you said “I hate the term”, in referring to MJ as medicinal.

      My point is that regardless of it’s so-called recreational use, it was a recognized medicinal plant for millennia before it was politically maligned for business reasons, made illegal as a vehicle for racist social control reasons, created an enormous portion of incarcerated Americans, and has disregarded a legitimate application to a monster disease that costs incalculable pain, untold millions of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars.

      Today it’s decried by the ignorant, the corrupt and the politicly ambitious in what’s describable as a national hysteria of epic proportion.

      Anyone with half a brain can web research a huge cache of information in abstracts from global academia verifying the clinical research that I mentioned.

      It offends me when smart people say silly shit about life and death issues out of willful ignorance. I hope that you never have to consider first hand or watch someone close to you suffer and die from an inability to access a med with real healing potential because a culture has turned it’s back on sanity and reason.

    • Rick September 21, 2010, 6:13 pm

      Benjamin, I’d appreciate it if you’d stay on topic. So many of your posts are reflexively and mechanically contrarian that it often seems as though you just want to hear yourself talk.

    • Robert September 21, 2010, 9:11 pm

      So, we can summarize this little tangent about Pot smoking thusly:

      Benjamin: ” People just want to smoke pot, regardless of whether they need some medical card to do it legally or not”

      BDTR: “Medical evidence suggests that feeling good seems to be effective in preserving a healthy body, and getting high makes people feel good, so maybe the “medicinal” nature of Pot lies in the fact that it make people feel good…”

      TA-DA!

      now, back to that whole “the recession ended in Summer 2009” topic-

      The NBER is over the barrell on this one. They had to announce that the recession that started in Dec 2007 (which they were about 6 months too late in announcing) actually ended at some point, so that they can prepare them selves to announce the next one; which Rick accurately (IMHO) predicts as simply the next leg down in a much bigger, longer, nastier long term trend…

      if they didn’t announce that the recession ended after 18 months, then they wouldn’t be able to paint the tape of publis perception in the short term history books, but never fear, for the long term history books will show the period of 2007 to 20-whenever to be every bit the equivalent of the dustbowl thirties in magnitude, and in misery for those entrenched in the ugliness…

      BTW- who’s watching the Gold and Silver prices this afternoon? I’d been expecting to see Silver re-test the point that it broke out of it’s long ascending triangle, but it turned on a dime this afternoon- I better check the news for today’s Fed comments 🙂

    • BDTR September 22, 2010, 4:19 pm

      A truly abusive use of quotation marks, Robert.

      Cite what you will of what you actually read, but at least attempt to do so with accuracy. It’s not difficult. Pertinence in response is entirely another matter.

  • Cameroni September 21, 2010, 5:23 am

    You know, I have actually been feeling pretty bullish lately but this announcement from the NBER is total rubbish. And when you consider it took them 15 entire months of analysis to come to a wrong conclusion about the state of the economy………well, it is just breathtakingly nutty especially as they themselves continue to hedge their bets on whether another recession is around the corner.

    What the hell are they thinking?

    (but then again I have some bullish sentiments myself as I noted,….could it be the Red pills or the Kool-aid?)

  • jj September 21, 2010, 4:39 am

    Well this just confirms the “Green Shoots” were “wacky tobacky” and now we know who smoked it all………….double dip debate???…..the US has never surfaced from the first swan dive!

    Please Scottie …….BEAM ME UP !!!……Please!!


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