Amid Increased Economic Fears, Could a Much Worse Recession be Looming?
Last year, it was tough to discount reports that the economy was showing signs of recovery. Jobless claims seemed to be coming down; consumer confidence seemed to be improving; and the country's general economic situation just seemed to be getting better. As early as last August, it was reported that unemployment fell in July 2009 for the first time in nearly a year-and-a-half, and there were rainbows and fields of lollipops, and everyone was hearing the theme from "The Price Is Right."
At the time, President Obama optimistically stated, "While we've rescued our economy from catastrophe, we've also begun to build a new foundation for growth." It was tough to argue with the president. The number of employer terminations and layoffs had dropped, and when news of the slightly improved unemployment numbers broke, Wall Street responded accordingly with a reasonably healthy jump.
This news from last August now bodes the question: "What in the great googly moogly happened?"
According to the White House's own website, one of the president's guiding principles is to focus "on stimulating economic recovery and helping America emerge a stronger and more prosperous nation." In addition, the country's current economic situation is blamed on mistakes made by both the government and the private sector. That's fair. I won't argue with that. The website goes on to state, "As we look toward the future, we must confront the many dimensions of this crisis while laying the foundation for a new era of responsibility and transparency."
The key word, at least in my always delicate and humble opinion, is "responsibility." It's a little tough to take that statement seriously when Congress is approving $787 billion this country simply does not have on "stimulus packages" and then topping that off with another $30+ billion in unemployment spending when just short of half of that $787 billion still remains unused. It disturbs me perhaps just a scosche that these are the legislators that a majority of voters trusted to run the show in Washington. It's kind of like asking Lindsay Lohan to be your designated driver.
As if that isn't enough, the Commerce Department this week announced that the recession was worse than the government originally believed. The Associated Press reported that the economy essentially diminished at a rate of 2.6 percent in 2009, the worst drop in...wait for it...64 years. The AP went on to state that "the revisions in gross domestic product, or GDP, now show zero growth in 2008."Continued on the next page