Yes, I know economists technically define recession as two or more consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product (GDP). The United States of America apparently does not officially qualify for recession status because our GDP was .9 percent in the first quarter and 2.9 percent in the second quarter. And in what can only be seen as completely delusional, the Bureau of Economic Analysis projects that the third quarter GDP will be 3.8 percent.
HUH? The American economy is growing? Are they nuts?
I'm no economist, but defining recession by this measurement is clearly meaningless. We're not only in a recession - we're in a depression, as evidenced by:
Exponentially growing unemployment. As the 760,000 lost jobs this year prove (my brother and ex-husband are among these poor souls), unemployment is staggering - and is likely to only get worse.
Falling house prices. Inman News stated today that home prices have fallen 11.3 percent and that "there's no reason to expect any improvement and, if anything, things could get worse."
Rapidly increasing mortgage defaults. As Bloomberg reports, "U.S. foreclosure filings increased 71 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier to the highest on record as home prices fell and stricter mortgage standards made it harder for homeowners to sell or refinance, RealtyTrac said." Seventy-one percent??? Good God!
The interminable credit crisis in the nation's banks. Even Alan Greenspan said today that he is in "shocking disbelief" that the economy is such a "tsunami." If Greenspan's shocked, what the heck am I supposed to think, do, or feel?
The high cost of gas. Even with the commodity's recent falling price, it still costs $45 to fill up my Beetle. I don't even know what SUV owners do every week. I just couldn't do it.
The astronomical growth in grocery prices. I bought three bags of groceries - on sale - yesterday and still managed to burn through $111.83. Shoot me now.
Clearly, the United States is not in happy financial times simply because the GDP is up. I don't think we're even in a recession. Depression, with all its unfortunate and costly misery, rules. No delusions of grandeur here.
However, speaking of delusions of grandeur, I can't help but mention the GOP's glitzy fashion maven, Sarah Palin. As I'm sure you've already heard, she managed in eight weeks to blow through $150,000 in chi-chi-poo-poo frocks and other accouterment. Listen, it may feel like the woman fell off a snowmobile and into the vice presidential race, but c'mon, she is a governor! How bad could her apparel have possibly been? I understand getting some new duds for a national political contest, but $150,000 in two months? Thank God Obama's in the lead because we can't afford this woman! At the rate she's going, we'd spend nearly a million dollars a year just keeping her clothed!
In this awful, dreadful, miserable, hopeless, horrifying, appalling, atrocious, revolting, and vile economy, the American people don't suffer from a single delusion of grandeur. Instead, we're cowering under a pile of pink slips, past due credit card bills, empty wallets, late mortgage payments, and burgeoning fear.
I wish I had a single delusion of grandeur. If I did, I'd whip out that overburdened credit card and go on a long tropical vacation. Alas, I need to be real - and everyone else does, too. The last things we require right now are confused economists and fancily dressed politicians. And I haven't even mentioned Congress yet...