Monday, November 9th, 2009

How Come No One Is Acting Like The Recession Is Over?

Maybe this would help?During a casual conversation with a small group of acquaintances this weekend I heard someone express the opinion that we were somewhere near the middle of a double-dip recession and that there was going to be a "white riot" when the second dip hit. This was more than a little troubling, since it certainly was not the first time I've come across that sentiment. I generally try to remind myself that due to the massive volume of political opinion I read, it's very easy to get caught up in whatever disaster scenarios people are trying to promote for political advantage, but I feel like this kind of fear-with its implicit helplessness and apathy-is becoming far more common. Maybe it's because people forgot what an actual recession is like, or didn't live through one in the first place. Maybe it's because there are no jobs and there seems to be little appetite to increase stimulus or regulation. Maybe it's because we live in an age where paranoia rules the day.

Paul Krugman has an excellent op-ed in the Times today that takes a look at that paranoia from the right side of the spectrum. Contending that "the G.O.P. has been taken over by the people it used to exploit," he observes that

The Obama administration's job-creation efforts have fallen short, so that unemployment is likely to stay disastrously high through next year and beyond. The banker-friendly bailout of Wall Street has angered voters, and might even let Republicans claim the mantle of economic populism. Conservatives may not have better ideas, but voters might support them out of sheer frustration.

And if Tea Party Republicans do win big next year, what has already happened in California could happen at the national level. In California, the G.O.P. has essentially shrunk down to a rump party with no interest in actually governing – but that rump remains big enough to prevent anyone else from dealing with the state's fiscal crisis. If this happens to America as a whole, as it all too easily could, the country could become effectively ungovernable in the midst of an ongoing economic disaster.

Is he right? Who knows? It's hard not to feel pessimistic about things these days (look at California). I'm just going to hope that someone in a garage somewhere right now is inventing a new Internet or something so we can bubble things up again. That would be nice.

39 Comments / Post A Comment

roboloki (#1,724)

just because i'm paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't our to get me.

hockeymom (#143)

It is depressing.
I look at our kids who are funny and nice and fairly smart and think "What is going to happen to them?"
When/if they go to college, what jobs will be available?
Are they going to live in a world where trying harder doesn't really matter?
It makes me sad.
And on really depressing days, I find myself buying lottery tickets which is just pathetic.

HiredGoons (#603)

I… I just want to hug you.

hockeymom (#143)

Oh, it'll probably be fine.
Afterall, my son assures me his is going to be a huge star in the NHL, so won't need to go to college.
And my daughter says she's going to marry a dolphin and move to Hollywood.
Clearly, they both have bright futures.

HiredGoons (#603)

Your daughter appears to be following in the footsteps of Troy McClure.

Goons, you mean the dolphin is going to shoot her daughter while she sleeps after doing blow with his trainer at Buco di Beppo?

hockeymom (#143)

Troy McClure? That sounds fishy.

Baboleen (#1,430)

At least you can still afford to pay your kid's hockey costs.

HiredGoons (#603)

"Follow Me to the Springfield Aquarium."

riggssm (#760)

There was a reference to America's lost generation on Morning Joe (Brewed by Starbucks) this morning. It came up after a bit on Japan catching up to China re: ownership of US debt.

Sadly though, it was a hair-do talking to Willie Geist, so they didn't even get the understand on their cue cards. It's just all so many words to read aloud in dulcet tones.

LondonLee (#922)

My daughter is only three so I'm hoping that when the time comes for her (and me) to worry about that sort of thing our new alien overlords from Tharg will have some niche she can fit into. But right now her only skill appears to be wearing pink tutus.

Bittersweet (#765)

Do the Thargians like pictures of six-year-olds with flowing hair and giant anime-style eyes? Fingers crossed…

kneetoe (#1,881)

My personal prediction is that things will be significantly better than most people think. People always think the world's coming to an end, and so far it has not.

I spent a bunch of money I only sort of have at Bloomingdale's this weekend. Did I help?

Alex Balk (#4)

It depends. Did you get me anything?

OHMYGOD! Why don't I refresh before writing??!!

Depends! How many of the things you bought are for me?!

mathnet (#27)


Well, do you two like paninis? Because I got a panini maker, and can now be your source for Awl Brand melty sandwiches and grilled cheeses. I CANNOT RESIST THE ONE DAY HOME SALE.

Yes!! In fact, I like panini so much that I'm going to resist the nigh-on-irresistible impulse to point out that "panini" is already the plural!

(I am the biggest asshole, you guys. Sigh.)

Ohmygod you are teaching me so many new things today! And I love when the singular is also the plural! And I was actually thinking paninis did not sound like a real word, but I am a dumb American who does not know what I should do with words adapted from other languages, so I just went with it!

roboloki (#1,724)

so is the singular paninus?

"The word panino is Italian for "small bread roll"; its plural form is panini. Outside Italy, panini is often incorrectly used as a singular word (like salami, also an Italian plural noun) and is sometimes even solecistically pluralised into paninis."
I committed solecism.

(And if you want to be even more annoyed by me, you can imagine the really high-pitched lady's voice that I was subjected to far too frequently from my college roommate's Italian practice tapes, screeching, "Ascoltate e repetete: Uno panino… Due panini…" and cetera. You're welcome!)

mathnet (#27)

HAha Dotty's scooped again!

mathnet (#27)

OH PLUS this is really annoying: Emphasis goes on the first syllable, not the second.

11/9/09: The Day Dotty Was Forever Scooped.

KarenUhOh (#19)

The upshot here is that it feels really great being old.

NicFit (#616)

Yeah, I'm doing alright and lived through the whole New York 1992 meltdown. Used my B.A. to send faxes and stuff envelopes for a crazy PR woman who called me stupid and secretly wanted to fuck me.

Whatever, there was good E and this new thing called "techno."

Oh, and the conventional wisdom was that the U.S. probably would never fully recover.

mathnet (#27)

How about if we make health care affordable and available, and people work for themselves instead of spending their lives trying to persuade other people to hire and not fire them?

The Awl! Leading the way!

beingiseasy (#1,735)

Krugman scared the crap out of me this morning, especially the last line in that piece. Also, Douthat's column was scary, but only because he is so fundamentally detached from reality. NYTimes op-ed's, making Monday even more terrifying!

brent_cox (#40)

I volunteer Ross Douthat as our next existential threat.

hanna (#644)

Irresponsible rumor-mongering on my part:

I have a friend who I always thought was a bit cracked until he successfully predicted the economic collapse we experienced a year ahead of time. This is not such a amazing feat, perhaps, but I was impressed. He isn't an economist; he has another crazy friend who gave him the tip.

SO YEAH, I asked this guy about six months ago what his crazy friend thought would happen next. He apparently predicts a two-year leveling out, and then another steep steep Wall Street crash and grinding economic hardship that lasts multiple years. Eep. I hope he's truly crazy and not just crazy like a fox.

HiredGoons (#603)
Rw (#1,458)

Am I on some kind of watch list after visiting that site Goons? I've got a friend who's been living in Japan for the past 9 years, who is trained as an Econimist, who called this collapse years ago while fresh out of college and used it as an excuse to keep "teaching English" over there.

ProfessorBen (#1,254)

Goons, if it's not said enough, you are awesome! Oh and I recently came across the Arbus photo that is your avatar and about lost my jizz. You have a fan in ProfBen

HiredGoons (#603)

My avatar is blushing.

HiredGoons (#603)

There was also an awesome article about this guy a few issues back in The New Yorker.

missdelite (#625)

Maybe it's time to join the Scientologists.

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