Most of us have traveled into America's landmark cities – Boston, New York and Washington. Some of us have even ventured to those on the Pacific side.
We've been astounded by the wealth – or the counterfeit perceived image there of. And we've probably been blown away by the cost of lodging, meals and parking – at least double that of smaller cities within a crow-fly of Megalopolis.
The wealth that's paraded (and pandered to) gives those with six- and seven-figure incomes a gilded perception of the U.S. economy. So I can't help but wonder if the old adage remains true: "He who has the gold rules."
When the "golden ones" wield their power, influence and sense of entitlement in the halls of Congress, we shouldn't be surprised why Washington insiders believe the Great Recession ended in June 2009. After all, their paychecks and benefits haven't slackened a bit. There, money still flows freely.
An extreme economic miscalculation?
By parameters established long ago by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private nonprofit group – not a federal agency -- the recession did end. Trouble is, everything has changed since those parameters were set in concrete. Those parameters no longer define the true state of America's economy.
How's that? And determination of a recession is very much a subjective decision, admits Robert J. Gordon, a Northwestern University macroeconomist and one of the seven-member NBER committee that makes the call.
Economic expansion and contraction is charted by the quarter. If economic decline is charted for more than two quarters, it's marked as the possible beginning of a recession. If the measures up-tick or show expansion, then it's considered a normal fluctuation. With two or more quarters of expansion, the recession is over – or so they think
Gross national product, the key marker, reflects bank liquidity growth and export-related revenue of U.S. corporations growing with production expansion in other countries – not here. So the real picture income and jobs on U.S. soils is no longer reflected by the macroeconomic formula.
Away from the corporations populating coastal megalopolises, America is very much in recession. Uncle Sam's economic stimulus acts of 2008 and 2009 injected only brief cash flow relief.
That explains why unemployment and underemployment remains at staggering levels. That explains why more and more homes are on the for-sale lists and housing values have continued their downward plunge since June 2009.
That explains why there's very little growth in new full-time employment. That explains why a record 45.8 million people are on food stamps as of this month. USDA reports the number is 8.1% higher than a year ago. That's huge! And, that's why state and local governments and school districts are falling behind – cutting police, firefighters, teachers and more.
Most of America hasn't recovered from the Great Recession because it never ended. If it did, it morphed into the Greater Recession. And because of it, we're entering into another era of civil unrest and violence.
Next week, I'll have more on that topic.
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