2/06/2009

The Word is "Depression"

The media and other talking heads are doing everything they can to avoid the word "depression." They use phrases like "unemployment hasn't been this high since 1931," "the worst downturn since the Great Depression," and "economic growth has slowed to post-1929 levels," but they don't call it a depression.

A depression is supposedly "is a severe economic downturn that lasts several years." The quacks who like to refer to themselves as "economists" have latched on to a phoney statistic misnamed the GNP as the defining number for economic direction. In the last 25 years, the GNP has been an indicator of how well the top 1% is doing, but it doesn't say anything about the rest of us. As a backup, these mathematically-dishonest academics spew babble about the unemployment rate, which has been a fudged number since Jimmy Carter decided to define military personnel in the employed category. The real unemployment figure in the United States as of this month is about to creep past 20% (counting recently unemployed, "discouraged" workers, and "under-employed"). Add the military to that and you have unemployment near the 1930s numbers.

The "several years" portion of the depression definition is pretty bogus, too. The employment figures have been angling downward since a few months before the 2000 election. I think that's because many intelligent people began to suspect that Bush would win that Presidential election and the country would go to hell with another regressive Republican in the White House. Whatever the cause, real economic growth stalled and has been sinking ever since. Republicans are consistently bad for the economy while being good for corporate mobsters and other bottom feeders.

Like Reagan and his daddy, Bush II has left the country broke and broken. The more times we experiment with this foolishness, the more likely it becomes that we won't make a comeback. Americans are resilient, but they are not infinitely flexible. Like another elastic material, glass, if you bend the fabric of the culture and economy far enough, it will break. Of course, the elites who power the Republican Party would love to break the democracy because their short-sighted view of the world has them in the driver’s seat and the national car planted firmly in the middle of the road. They aren’t bright enough to realize that traffic is moving both directions and the occasional curve will toss their incapable asses into the same vacuum the rest of us will suffer. The word “stupid” was invented to describe neocon elites. Look it up, there is a picture of the two gay neocon princes, Donnie Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, beside the definition.

We are in a depression. We have been in one for several years. We will be in one for several more. It might get much worse before it gets better. It might not get better, ever. Cultures die. Nations fail. The United States of America could fail and die. Twenty years from now, this continent could be littered with a Baltic-style collection of disorganized states. It could happen. Many want it to happen.

I have my own definition of an economic depression and, for that matter, a recession. When hard-working, marginally skilled citizens can not find a job that pays a living wage, the country is in a recession. When skilled professionals can’t find work, the country is in a depression. We’ve been in a recession since 2000 and we’re entering a depression right now.

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