Great Recession

71% of Americans say we are still in recession

I know that the narrative on Wall Street, and some places in Washington, is that the recession is over, but Main Street feels otherwise.

More than 7 out of 10 in the U.S. say the economy is mired in recession, and the country is conflicted over how to balance concerns over joblessness and the federal budget deficit, according to a Bloomberg National Poll.

The interesting thing about this story is how it is reported. For instance:

Just like the experts, Americans are torn about whether the federal government should focus on curbing spending or creating jobs, the poll conducted July 9-12 shows. Seven of 10 Americans say reducing unemployment is the priority.

70% to 28% isn't "torn". That's a clear and overwhelming majority. You don't find a more clear mandate in a democracy.

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Another poll that came out today shows similar pessimism from the public.

Three in four Americans now say the effects of the recession will last another two years or more. More than eight in 10 say the condition of the economy is bad, up five points from last month...

Economic Stress hits new record

There may be lots of talk about recovery out there, but the AP Economic Stress Index just surpassed the March 2009 peak.

The AP's Economic Stress Index found that the average county's score in December was 10.8. That's a sharp jump from the 10.2 reading in November. The previous worst reading since the recession began in December 2007 was 10.3 in March 2009.
The index calculates a score from 1 to 100 based on a county's unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates. A higher score indicates more economic stress. Under a rough rule of thumb, a county is considered stressed when its score exceeds 11.
Nearly 45 percent of the nation's 3,141 counties were deemed stressed in December. That compares with less than 39 percent in the previous month.

Latest from Thomas Palley is a must read

A big tip o' the hat to disrael on DailyKos, who caught the latest from economist Thomas Palley, America’s Exhausted Paradigm: Macroeconomic Causes of the Financial Crisis and Great Recession.

Palley's introduction sets the hook quite well:

Most commentary has therefore focused on market failure in the housing and credit markets. But what if the house price bubble developed because the economy needed a bubble to ensure continued growth? In that case the real cause of the crisis would be the economy’s underlying macroeconomic structure. A focus on the housing and credit markets would miss that.