Do you see signs that a recovery is taking root?

In defending President Obama’s proposed budget for 2013, Chief of Staff Jacob Lew said “the American people should be pleased that we now have a recovery that’s taking root.” Today’s Question: Do you see signs that a recovery is taking root?

  • Clark

    Clearly, the economy is improving despite the involvement of our current clueless community activist one term president.

    Obama, is a typical liberal, either you agree with me or your wrong. He lectures others on economic issues yet he is an economic illiterate. One trillion in tax increases with no spending cuts in his new budget???

    Recent agreement with banks is another socialist agreement the banks should have fought. Banks pay 26 billion for poor peperwork management yet homeowners who lied on their mortgage application will be rewarded. No bank indemnity either. Huge mistake by banks.

    Why is it, all the current moochers in this country, are not considered greedy but those of us who pay the taxes that fund the moochers are greedy? Must be why I am not a moocher democrat.

  • Kurt

    Yes, in spite of all efforts to the contrary, the economy does show signs of improving. Still, the administation seems intent on becoming Europe which, last I checked, was a bad idea. Projects that could improve our economy in the short term (and long) such as the proposed pipeline from Canada are scotched in favor of the same old same old vodoo stimulus crap that never works and is only meant to reward cronies.

  • Duane

    If the results of the last two months continue, than possible Mr Lew may be right. There are many factors to consider. First, our government has failed to pass a budget for over 1000 days. In 2011 the house passed a budget in April, but the Senate failed to take it up, the House has passed some 20+ jobs bill that Senate Majority Reed has failed to consider. We also have the prospects of gasoline selling for over $4.00 this summer and the payroll tax reductions expiring along with the “Bush” now the Obama Tax cuts expiring. I think Mr. Lew spoke to soon. He and the President will regret making that statement. We may have a tough summer in store for us.

  • Dadric

    Well, I got a job in January, so at least anecdotally it feels like an improvement.

  • Clerk

    A big chunk of the political extreme right must be very sad with these news. And despite all their love for America they must be wondering what can be done to spoil job creation and economic recovery and thus continue their mission of boycotting this president.

  • The ship of state cannot be turned on a dime, and a slow, deliberate change of economic policy has set us in the right direction.

    The slash and burn policies so called fiscal conservatives want to implement would severely rend what’s left of our middle and lower economic classes. Off-shoring jobs and firing more people only means fewer people are paying taxes and the income of the United States shrinks even further.

    We’ve seen sound Republican fiscal policy: two UN-funded wars, tax breaks for corporations shipping jobs overseas, trickle down economics that trickle only into the pockets of the mega-rich. Thanks, but no thanks.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I sure can’t afford those kind of policies. They are wasteful in both capital and human resources. I think I’ll stick with slow and steady.

  • Gale

    This morning, the Dow and S&P are up as are most major European indices, with Asian markets also up (but not as much).

    The US stock market has had a strong January and first few days of February, and is well off its March, 2009 lows.

    So, as good news drives the market up, and with the hope that such news is sustainable, it will be interesting see to what extent this creates a positive feedback loop, and a wealth effect which drives more consumer purchases.

  • Art

    Given the utter mess that Mr Obama inherited, how can anyone rationally expect the economy to return to sound growth (with corresponding job opportunities) within a mere three-year period? Indeed, given the cynical, self-serving obstructionism that now defines (Tea Party-controlled) Congress, isn’t it a miracle that the economy has shown any signs of improvement? Yet, all I can hear is vitriolic criticism aimed at Obama. Are there any sane individuals left in America? Why don’t we hear from them?

  • Kurt

    @Clerk

    Don’t know about the others but as someone with a 401k, I’m all for an improving economy no matter who is in the oval office. How about you? Were you rooting for Bush? And now, its off to work before the site goes “Lord of the Flies” as it does most days.

  • Mark

    My guess is that Clerk was having some fun with Clark at the bottom.

  • Rich

    I would guess that those who have jobs have been much less worried about losing them lately. That ought to get consumption, and then hiring, moving again.

  • Larry M.

    Yes the economy is improving despite the every attempt by the republican party to crash the economy to get their man, if they can decide who their man is, elected. But their bigger republican goal is class warfare against the poor and middle class, by trying to kill any program that supports a ladder to success making it accessible to all. Like Mitt Romney many republicans make their money, by using their money to leech off society without really creating any real product or value, only timing their buys and sells of companies. Their goal is actually to get more people in the market in IRA’s and 401K programs that support their way of making wealth and companies that do not have peoples’ interests in mind but are packaged together, hmmmm packaging together that reminds of the mortgage crisis, in funds that we don’t control.

  • Doug

    Of the three items listed, unemployment, a fragile recovery, and potential trouble in Europe, the last two are merely things that might go wrong, and the first is only mildly bad. Compared to half a dozen other periods in US history, the present situation is downright rosy.

    The US is not fighting any wars on US soil, nor is it engaged in any foreign wars with an adversary that could possibly conquer the US. The US is not only not engaged in a civil war, but does not have anywhere near the level of internal discontent that it has survived several times in the past. There are no riots over political demands. The “Occupy movement” and the “Tea Party” haven’t produced anything on the scale of Coxey’s Army, the Draft Riots, the Civil Rights marches, or the Bonus Army. There are no real Hooverville’s of the unemployed. Fat geese are still waddling around city parks begging for food, rather than running away from hungry people.

    The treasury is not begging for money — indeed, money is being willingly lent to it at short-term rates that have occasionally gone negative. Even without an increase in the debt limit, the federal government can cover current expenses with current income.

    There have been no major natural or man-made disasters, and the country is still well prepared to handle anything that is likely to occur. The specter of global thermonuclear war has shriveled to a hypothetical bag of nuclear waste with a stick of dynamite stuck in it by a suicidal terrorist. There isn’t even a credible killer disease on the horizon. Climate change may cost a lot of money someday, but for all practical purposes today, it’s just a hypothetical problem.

    Whenever you have to worry about problems that might happen in the future, rather than dealing with critical problems that are happening right now, things are pretty good.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Yes, despite all the efforts by the Greedy Oligarchic Plutocrats to sabotage it with the aim of bringing down Obama. They blamed him when the economy didn’t bounce back after the disaster of 2008, and now they say that the evident improvement is in spite of his policies. A bit inconsistent, I would say.

  • Steve D

    I have an unusual activity index that is showing an improved economy. I cross Highway #75 north of Crookston, twice a day, this means I also cross a set of railroad tracks heading north to Canada. For the last couple of years I only saw a few trains going in either direction. Since January I have seen about 10 trains, all mixed freight, not unit grain trains, going both north and south. This was a common site when times are good. This makes me feel good about our recovery.

  • Bharath

    I think there is a recovery and I do this it will take a decade to get a sense of old time back.There will be a lot of old industries that will be destroyed. Sadly.

    I also think the presidency or the government overall has very little to do with the recovery but it has not hurt the recovery due to the great many tax cuts that they have kept in place especially payroll tax cuts and keeping the safety net in place.

    The troubling part of unemployment numbers are the people who have been out of job over a year and /or have stopped looking because they have grown tired of a lagging economy.

    There has to be greater training programmes and vocational institutes that will be able to quickly turn new employees with the right skills for the economy.

  • Jim G

    Our economic recovery is shallow rooted. The step-son is still living in the basement, no new job yet. Fundraising non-profits fill my mailboxes with appeals for help. The richest 1% are again raking in money that used to be cycled through the economy in fair wages. Our middle class has suffered a fatal blow, and the focus is on class warfare against the 1%: Laughable and tragic.

  • James

    Yes, there is a modest recovery under way. The well run companies with strong market postions and good strategies are making some money and creating some demand for smaller companies.

    But, the federal government is stimulating the economy (deficit spending) to the tune of $1 trillion per year.

    We have a modest economic recovery and are slowly (quickly?) going broke.

    2011 showed improvement. 2012 will probably show additional improvement. But there are still serious bumps in the road ahead…..and neither party and no presidential candidate has a clue how to deal with it.

  • Garyf F

    On the construction side, somewhat.

    If you haven’t yet noticed there are about 10 cranes up across the Twin Cities. That’s a good thing.

    But, most of what’s happening is the companies that figure they can ride this bad economy out are taking advantage of low commercial property costs and low construction cost.

    All the work today is very calculated and every designer, contractor, and supplier is shopped to the bottom dollar. Work is getting done, but margins are really low.

    I think most of the private sector is going to wait and see if a certain someone doesn’t get elected next fall.

    Real recovery will start in one year, or 5 years.

  • Clerk

    Moochers for obama. Tax the rich, that will teach them to be successful.

  • Sharon in St. Paul

    Yes. Business is much better in the last 8 months. HOWEVER, it varies by industry, financial and medical are doing the best. Unfortunately, the Obama admin is in bed with the big banks and corporations, and nothing has been done to make it easier for small business. We are still laboring under crazy sales tax laws, a regressive Social Security tax, and a lack of real options for health care coverage. Meanwhile, the big banks who had 25% of the industry before the recession, now have 65% of the industry. The only thing worse than an Obama re-election would be an Obama loss. Going back to Republican ideas of supply-side, trickle-down economics (I seem to remember that didn’t work the FIRST time in the 1980s, and Reagan did eventually have to raise taxes to get us out of the financial doldrums) would be economic suicide. The Republicans got us in this mess through their spend and borrow approach, and now they want to finish off the job. Remember, just as in your personal budget, the amount of debt is only an issue if you can’t pay your bills. If you don’t raise the revenue (taxes on the rich), you don’t pay your bills (Treasurys, etc), the US defaults, and millions of people will be on the street and the last recession will look like your four-year-old’s birthday party.

  • JasonB

    I haven’t heard the whole quote, but it’s an interesting choice of words. In keeping with the analogy, is Lew implying that the Obama administration planted the seeds for the recovery?

    There’s little a president or anyone can do to change the underlying dynamics of an economy. The administration can push for changes in laws that would be advantageous to economic growth in certain sectors, and I haven’t heard of anything substantial like that.

    So, to answer the question: if the good numbers of late reflect the basics of economic growth, then yes, it appears that way. But I can’t tie anything the administration has done to merit much credit.

    I find what has not been done to be the most troubling. I have heard that the same lax rules in the banking industry have not changed, and that the same collapse could actually happen again. And there’s no serious talk about the repeal of Glass-Steagall, such as if it was a bad idea. And if so, what should we do now? When it’s seen as playing a big part in this Great Recession it merits more scrutiny.

    P.S. – Congratulations, Dadric. You’ve done your part to make the numbers look better.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Let’s remember, too, that the economy right before the collapse of ’08 was overheated, with lots of folks spending beyond their means by borrowing against overvalued assets, so it seemed better than it really was, and the current state of affairs only seems bad by comparison. I agree, we need Congress to un-repeal Glass-Steagal, take the economy off the roller-coaster and make it boring again.

  • Jeremy

    When the US Government and the States replace the term “marihuana/marijuana” with “Cannabis/Hemp” and the people are encouraged to cultivate it for every good purpose, will we see signs that a recovery has taken root … as deep and as strong as the Hemp roots that once grew and supported this great nation.