Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How Do You Feel After the State of the Union Address? ... Are We Still In Recession? ... It Sure Feels That Way

Last evening President Obama called for "collective action" to fix our economy and solve the problems we have with finances, education, manufacturing jobs, energy, decaying infrastructure, low wages and everything else that a little more collectivisim and bigger government can "fix." {See The President's Plans which is subtitled 'Obama offers an agenda aimed at electing a Pelosi House.'}

He also called for more money from the rich for redistribution by the government to the "middle class," poor and oldsters among us. Although not his stated intention, in reality he wants to continue to grow the entitlement welfare state.

He further called for an increase in  the minimum wage which will negatively impact jobs for youngsters. Think McDonald's, for example.

All in all, it was an unsurprising State of the Union Address by a "progressive" liberal President entering his second term in office. If you liked the first four years, you'll love the second term. More of the same, in other words.

In effect, he said to We the People, "You asked for it. You got it."

But what are we getting? The same stuff we've been getting, I would argue. And that will be no confidence booster for the American people, that's for sure.

So let's try to capture the current mood of We the People and see where things stand.

The latest recession ended in 2009. At least that's what the official data says.

But for many of our fellow Americans, the recession still doesn't seem to have ended. Jobs and economic growth remain weak, and the economic "recovery" has been a very weak one.

The Economy Is Much Worse Than the Data Show is both informative and instructive about the national mood:

"The Great Recession may have officially ended in June of 2009 (according to the National Bureau of Economic Research), but many Americans are still extremely pessimistic about the economy. That’s the conclusion of a national survey conducted by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University. . . .

Here are some of the survey’s key findings:
  • Eight in 10 Americans are skeptical that career and employment opportunities will be better for the next generation.
  • More than half of Americans say the economy will not fully recover from the 2007-2009 recession for another six years; 29% believe the economy will never fully recover.
  • 73% of Americans were directly impacted by the recession: individuals surveyed had either lost a job themselves or a family member/close relative had been out work because of the economic downturn.
  • The majority of survey participants said college would become unaffordable for most young Americans.
  • 56% reported having fewer savings than before the recession.
  • More than half of those who were laid off or lost a job said they cut back on medical treatment or doctor visits.
  • 40% of Americans have borrowed money from family or friends.
  • Nearly 25% of participants said they have sought professional help for stress or depression.
Even as the national unemployment has fallen from its peak of 10% in October 2009 to the current 7.9%, and there have been more than 35 consecutive months of private-sector job growth, the survey's data "speaks to the scope, magnitude and the persistence of the recession,” says Szeltner. It revealed “a really depressing image of what’s happening right now to many Americans," he adds."

Summing Up

Things are tough, and We the People very much know that. That's for sure.

And unless and until private sector growth enables sufficient job creation to start to being down the unemployment rate and stabilize the ongoing fiscal deficits and national debt levels, people will remain pessimistic about our economic future.

Pessimism begets more pessimism.

As a result, the economy is negatively impacted by a dearth of investment in our economy's future.

It's a self fulfilling cycle leading to nowhere with no reasonable end in sight.

Sadly, that's my take.

But I'm not giving up on the American people. It's just taking us a little longer to get the message than I would have liked. When we get it, we'll do the right thing. We always do.

And we'll do that right thing "collectively" by relying more on ourselves and less on our government. Soon limited government wil be back in style, and that will be a very good thing.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

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