Saturday, November 24, 2012

Are we still in a recession?

If you're unemployed I think it's a recession. If I'm unemployed I think it's a depression.

In a consumption-based society hiring stems from sales which stem from income. The middle class's income went south starting all the way back in the 1970s and hasn't increased much if any on the average since then, while unskilled wages have declined, while the top 1% used the Reagan tax / regulation restructuring to siphon more and more of the 99%'s income into their pockets.

Problem is, rich people don't spend remotely as much of their income as the rest do, so the more that income is sequestered in the 1%'s offshore bank accounts, the more the economy is starved.

This was masked by two things: a housing bubble starting then and the availability of cheap goods from abroad. The housing bubble meant that Americans could compensate for their declining purchasing power by tapping their home equity. And cheap foreign goods helped in making people feel like they still have purchasing power, but it moved innumerable jobs offshore so people laid off due to offshored jobs mostly only found re-employment at much lower wages.

Now the housing bubble has popped, Americans' home equity is long gone, and their crappy jobs don't give them much discretionary income.

So there's no basis for the economy to really recover unless and until we can tackle the problem of America having the income inequality of a banana republic and Americans having the purchasing power of poor people instead of middle class people.

Neither of those problems are going to be solved quickly if ever, so we'll stay bumping along with an anemic recovery.

And Republicans who have fed on--and loved--the GOP Ministry of Propaganda's rat poison absolutely believe that their problems stem from their fellow victims and that their saviors are the parasites who put America in the hole in the first place.

A small majority of Americans realize that the tasty stuff the GOP's been feeding them is indeed rat poison...but it's so darn tasty, like good rat poison is.

That's why I thought America would lose in this last election. We really dodged a bullet, getting a moderate Republican instead of Grover Norquist's sock puppet.

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