Are we in a second recession?

Sales of previously occupied homes fell by 27 percent last month to their lowest level in 15 years. Unemployment remains high at 9 and a half percent. Today’s Question: Are we in a second recession?

  • We’re in a double dip recession to be sure.My friend Scott has been unemployed for 12 months. Early this year I moved into their household to help them pay the bills, but he has had little luck in getting a new job, even with his wealth of skills.

  • Without a doubt at all

  • Gary F

    Getting worse. With the Bush tax cuts expiring, the Obamacare taxes and rules going into affect in 2011, talk of a Cap and Tax bill which will raise utility and fuel costs to business, and the threat of a union card check bill, business is afraid to do do anything.

    There is so much uncertainty on the downside, the job creators are just keeping their hands in their pockets instead of taking risks and making new jobs.

    Why? Why bother? What’s in it for them? Not much.

    If you don’t know the concept behind the Laffer Curve, you should learn it.

  • Matthew

    I’d say so. The emergency policies put into place with the last one have had such little effect from my standpoint. I’m working at Menards, and I’ve seen my hours cut in half over the last few months. In addition, the number of my friends who still have jobs is continuing to follow the downward trend it’s been in for the last two years or so.

  • Clark

    For those of us with a good income and cash, its a great time, as you can purchase second homes for much reduced price and auto dealers will negotiate lower prices given the dearth of credit quality buyers.

    Until obama and the democrats move away fron their socialist agenda of redistributing income rather then growing the economy, the U.S. economy is toast. Perhaps in 2020, the far left democrarts can still blame Bush for the misery the democrats will have created in this country.

  • DMox

    No, we’re in a paralysed, catatonic economic & legislative state called “10 weeks till Midterm Elections.” No one wants to make a move one way or another until they know where the next handout or tax break or stimulus or fiscal budget is coming from.

  • Steve the Cynic

    It would be surprising if we don’t get a double-dip. The Republicans’ radical laissez-faire policies during the Bush administration were so disastrous, we all knew as soon as the banking syste seized up that it would take years to dig out of it.

    The bigger question is, Why are we so fixated on one number, the GDP, as the definitive measure of our national well-being? The GDP only measures how much money is sloshing around in the economy. Lots of clearly bad things (crime, war, disease, natural disasters, accidents, divisive politics, etc.) make the GDP go up, because people spend money to fix or cope with the problem. Other clearly good things (stopping to smell the proverbial flowers, good conversation, singing a song, telling a joke, caressing your baby’s cheek, etc.) don’t cause any money to be spent and thus are not measured by GDP. What we really need to do is rethink what’s important to measure.

  • WinonaKath

    I think we need to stop looking at the HOUSING market as a major indicator – a paradigm shift is happening in that many young professionals are choosing NOT to buy a house but rather rent so they aren’t burdened with house and lawn care, and can be mobile for their careers.

  • Max

    Sure, why not? Let’s keep talking about it and maybe it will come true. I feel the recession is largely psychological at this point. Those who have the money are sitting on it to hedge against uncertainty. As long as they are not spending or lending things will continue as they are. So go ahead and keep scaring them with doom and gloom forecasts. What ever happened to “there’s nothing to fear but fear itself”?

  • steve

    i think we are still in the first recession and we had signs of recovery i donot believe we have the struggle continues and the anxiety also!

  • Khatti

    I’m not sure we were really out of the first recession.

    A theme that has been sounded by many of the posts today is that perception is reality. That the old saw, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” And it’s quite true that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. I talk me and one hundred of my close, personal friends that we should all buy Cadillacs; we manage to talk our bankers into borrowing us the money to buy Cadillacs; we start a fad where everyone in the nation throws caution to the winds and buys Cadillacs–and the recession is over!

    Hands up out there, who wants to join me in this particular scheme?

    For the recession to end someone is going to have to spend money. No one seems to have a good answer as to who “someone” is. A large part of the population doesn’t want “someone” to be the government. And there are things the government could, and should, spend money on no matter what shape the economy is in. Lest I need to remind you, Minnesota is the place where the bridge FELL DOWN! Yet we don’t even get excited about spending money on infrastructure. We are told that: “Money spent on such things as infrastructure is money that is not spent on private investment.” And if we spend enough on private investments we apperantly won’t need roads and bridges anymore! Why can’t you liberal slugs get with the program?

    The Great Depression was ended by WWII. War is perhaps the only thing that makes massive spending palitable. It just doesn’t matter how your 401k is doing if you’re dead or occupied. However, I’m getting old and my stomach isn’t so good anymore. I would prefer we skip the “Killing our way to prosperity” economic plan if we can. That means we are going to have to do it differently this time. Anybody got any great ideas on how?

  • Carrie

    No but if we keep talking that way it might head that way again. Still lots of good economic signs out there. I think people are just being overly cautious still. Hopefully after the midterm elections things will settle down.

  • Michelle

    To answer the question, no, I don’t think we’re in a second recession… I am not sure the first one has ended yet!

    And Gary, to you I would say: If you don’t know the concept behind Hauser’s Law, you should learn it.

  • Mark

    We are still not out of the recession that began in 2008. The mortgage and real estate crisis was one of the main factors that led to the recession, and this is where the government should refocus its efforts.

    This recession will take a long time to climb out of because it has fundamentally changed how people spend their money. Much of the spectacular growth of the past was achieved through implausible extensions of credit that have dried up. Inevitably there will not be the same use of credit as in the past, and this means that spending will grow, but at a lower rate than previous periods of economic growth.

  • Shane

    Um, we were never out of the first one……..

  • Sieglinde Gassman

    We are still in the recession caused by our greed and people living beyond their means. The fact that people are now living within their means is a good sign. Financial and business institution greed does not seem to have diminished to the same extent.

    With fundamental economic readjustment comes the need to describe our economy and well-being differently than before; perhaps based on meeting society needs rather than fattening Wall Street gains. The rose-colored glasses worn by our leadership have prevented taking the hard and risky steps to truly address joblessness and the long-term reduction in conspicuous consumption.

  • Julie

    Second? When did the first one end?

  • Michael B.

    It’s hard to seriosly consider this question when it seems that we haven’t even made it out of the first one.

  • Glenn

    The recession continues when-

    -The banking system remains unregulated.

    -The economy is dependant on the stock market.

    -The public is satisfied with “Blaim those guys!!”

    Banks need to decide if they are a bank or a hedge fund invester…but don’t be both!

    Stock Market infatuation has brought us to having too many financial instruments dependant on the markets’ beyhavior.

    The public is so busy playing the high school popularity thing…any policy discovery and analization becomes a matter of fore-gone conclusion.


  • Jim G

    For those who have lost jobs there is only one recession they care about, their own. From what I’ve read, American international corporations are hoarding over 2 trillion dollars in cash assets. Why don’t they use some of this loot to hire workers? When we see the unemployment improve and corporations start acting in this nations best interests maybe then Americans will start to spend more sustaining the recovery.

    One Wall Street hedge fund CEO has openly declared war on the Obama administration, he supposedly apologized after he learned he was recorded. How many others are withholding spending on new jobs until the November elections in hopes of influencing the results.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Now, now, Jim G., you don’t seriously believe powerful Wall Street interests are deliberately sabotaging the economy so as to turn people against Obama’s progressive policies, do you? You’re basically saying that they’re no more mature than the kid who says, “We’ll play it my way, or I’ll take my ball and go home.” Oh, wait. Maybe there’s something there.

  • Big

    I hope not, that would really suck!

    I never did have very much money so what’s the difference. But I do have a hot wife, that’s good enough for me.

  • Lance

    Sales of previously occupied homes are down because the federal homebuyer credit expired. Having that credit in place accelerated home buying that would have been happening now. Therefore, that’s not currently a good measure of whether we’re in a recession.

    I’m still not sure whether we’re in a recession or just a slow, uneven crawl out of one, but I’m glad I still have my job. It’s not pretty out there.

  • Matt

    I’m certainly not.

    And I’m not seeing any evidence of a second recession at the company I work for:

    The wind farm I’m currently working on is hiring a steady stream of workers from union halls all over the country because there aren’t enough local workers.

  • edc

    My husband just got laid off yesterday from Sr-level IT job at age 50. I have to scratch for every minute of my part-time job as preschool aide since last year and this school year is uncertain for me as well. We have 2 teenagers unable to find work – although they have been “hired” for odd jobs around the neighborhood by nice neighbors. Even if it’s not a second recession for the US – it is a second recession for our family. I don’t know how we’ll get by this time…

  • Jim

    Why are we so sure it’s a second recession? From what I can see, nothing has really improved since the first recession started.

    Yes, I know about all “indexes” and “reports” that say the economy improved. But has it really? I see no improvement. Costs are still higher, overall. Far higher than any pay raises for those lucky enough to get them.

    In order for the economy to improve, the little guy at the bottom has to have more money for discretionary spending. Until then, nothing else matters.

  • Jim

    And as far as home sales goes, if the banks start doing the responsible thing and stop lending to anyone who has a pulse and start lending to people who have the income to afford the overpriced housing, then things will eventually improve.

    Another part of the problem is the size and price of the houses. We have to get over the “bigger is better” motto of houses. New houses these days are mansions compared to houses from even just one generation back.

  • No, we are entering a new economic period, one of low growth and high unemployment, and it’s permanent. Regan’s “Morning In America” is over, it’s Afternoon In America. No political party can turn the clock back, our only choice is to live with reduced expectations and make better choices, or else we will only accelerate America’s demise.

  • Nancy

    I agree with the posters who say we never got out of the “first” recession, let alone a “second”. Forget about the statistics that say the economy is growing, (at an anemic snail’s pace), or Wall Street on a tear, (10,000), big deal. But hey, we get what we deserve and boy we got it! Expensive McMansion houses and ridiculously priced cars with more gadgets than a space shuttle, no wonder. For everybody who is waiting for the next election for things to improve… wasn’t that supposed to happen after the last election?

  • Paul

    Questions like these only make people more fearful. And fear is the only thing which will keep us from a full recovery.

  • Kevin

    Bill Moyers summed it up just right.

    Its the same recession….

    The great depression took over a decade to address if anyone pays attention to history, and they also suffered from morons at the government deregulating that caused the fall of the stock market then, We now have morons trying to stop the regulations to protect us from this happening again…

    So faith we have a steady groups is slipping.

    Also there are some at the ‘top’ who are scared to ‘give’ to the cause. TO help for lack of a better word.

    They are not affected NEARLY as much as those at the bottom.

    This economy was created by support of plutocracy and its plutocracy that is killing the repair to the mechanics to our democracy and economy.

    Plutocracy can not exist with Democracy.

  • Kevin

    Almost forgot:

    Many should remember we had the budget set to remove the deficit before the Bush administration, then it sky rocketed back up and continued to accelerate during his entire 8 years.

    For a president that was on vacation 900 plus days he was very much NOT at the helm.

    Also it was the removal over that time of the same said regulations that allowed the scams in home loans and MIS-information to the home owners.

    It will not be fixed over night.

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