Aug 24th, 2011
If one accepts the narrow and long held academic definitions of the words "recession" and depression," then technically we are in a recovery. Which makes those 20th Century meanings quite absurd. Job creation is not much different now than it was 10 years ago. That is to say, for a full decade we have have failed to add even enough jobs monthly to accommodate new entrants to the workforce, much less return to employment the millions whose positions were lost during the "height" of the crisis in late 2008 and early 2009.
As Roubini pointed out last week, the crisis is actually structural:
"We thought that markets worked. They're not working."
Over at TNR, Richard A. Posner basically agrees with both points:
"If the notion that we are merely living through the after effects of a mere "recession" that ended in 2009 sounds somewhat ridiculous, that’s because it is. If we were being honest with ourselves, we would call this a depression. That would certainly better convey both the severity of our problems, and the fact that those problems have no evident solutions."
We live in an era within which rational public sector solutions are not only the only real hope for a transformative remedy but are also politically impossible due to the fanatical opposition of a Randian and Misesian Republican Party.
In short, we're screwed.