Is the United States in a Recession?

@petebaja (516)
Mexico
February 28, 2008 10:53am CST
President Bush was asked this morning in a press conference if he believed the country was in a recession. His answer was NO. The economy seems to be doing fine, despite the war, skyrocketing petroleum prices and a ballooning budget deficit. The producer price index increased. The Federal Reserve has cut interest rates to stimulate spending. The stock market is flat, but not down. The only recession I see or feel is in the media. Is it hype or is it real? Do you believe the U.S. is in a recession? Defend your position whether yes or no.
6 people like this
19 responses
@gardengrrl (1445)
• United States
29 Feb 08
Hey, Pete! I didn't read any of the other responses in order to give you my undiluted opinion. Apologies if I repeat something someone else already said. First of all, Mr. Bush doesn't pay for the gas in the vehicles in which he rides, nor the groceries on his table. Most everyone has known that he's out of touch with working Americans for a long time now. This is simply a sterling proof of it. He doesn't balance any budget, and it makes no difference to him that people who are too tired after working their second job to stop and fill the gas tank are often punished by a 5, 6, or 7 cent rise in prices overnight. He is fully insulated from the agony of the working people. The agony is moving upward quickly, though, so maybe he'll get a clue when the contributions to the campaigns start to dry up! My partner and I went grocery shopping the other day. I was stunned at how much prices have risen in just 2 weeks! Across the board, from produce to dairy to meat to nonperishables, absolutely everything has gone up... including sale prices. I have a number of friends who work either in the local auto plants, or in businesses that depend on them, who are spending more time laid off than they are at work. They fear for the future of their jobs, and rightly so. My best friend's mom is going to lose her job as office manager at a local printing firm when it goes bankrupt next month. It lost its 2 biggest customers to bank consolidation in less than a year, and they couldn't find enough new ones to stay afloat. BF's dad is losing his job, too, after 15 years with the premier local nursery and garden store. They just can't sell enough stuff to pay the ever-rising taxes on the property, so they're selling to a developer. The owners will be OK, although their profit on the property has been greatly reduced by the recent real estate downturn. Their 15 employees will be at the labor office, applying for unemployment, though. SO, it looks like and smells like a recession where I live. Most of my friends think we've been in one for a couple of months now. It's no big surprise that Washington doesn't get it. Think they'll wake up before November?
2 people like this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
29 Feb 08
Hello Gardengrrl, My memory is rather vague on this, so I'm going to apologize for my brain-fart, in advance. I remember reading a First Ladies auto-biographical account. For the life of me, I cannot remember which First Lady (although it was since Jackie O). Anyway, I was shocked to read that this First Lady was shocked to learn that the President and First Lady get a monthly bill for their food, and amenities used during their stay at the White House. Imagine that? I always thought it was a free ride. Though, according to this First Lady, that is NOT the case. Geesh, I wish I could remember which First Lady it was. I'm just having a big, 'ol brain fart over this. So, if anyone else can help me remember who this was, I'd sure appreciate the help. I'm thinking that it was either Betty Ford, Pat Nixon, or Nancy Reagan. Though I could easily be wrong -- this is a pretty big brain fart. Anyway, I just wanted to add that although you'll get no argument from me that virtually no one on Capitol Hill has any clue about making ends meet, at least the President does have to pay for food, beverages, toothpaste, deodorant, etc... Also, last week when I filled up at the pump, diesel was 3.289. When I filled up on Monday, six days later, it was 359.9. That kind of a jump can pretty much only be explained by commodities speculation. Oh, and thanks for adding the S.I.L. update. Wow! Talk about beating the odds, eh? Pretty dad gummed remarkable! And, you can tell her I said so! Way to go!!!
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Mar 08
Geez, I hope they don't have to pick up the tab for state dinners! Not crazy about the Bushes, but fair is fair. I was referring more to the fact that the Prez and his wife don't wander the aisles in the grocery store, mentally scurrying to figure out how to adapt their menu plan to the fact that everything went up in the rather short time since they last went shopping. Yep, our girl's rolling right along! Past three scans have been unchanged, which is the second best result possible (shrinking would be the best.) We're hoping she'll be able to completely skew the survival stats!
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
2 Mar 08
Mornin' Gardengrrl, Geeze, I can't even imagine what the tab would be for a State Dinner. Good point! I'm glad that we haven't been having too many of those recently. Cha-ching, cha-ching. You're so right about not running in to the First Lady pushing a grocery cart in the local Sav-on". Which is probably a good thing. Imagine the security detail costs? Though, your point is an excellent one! Our leaders ARE out of touch with the day to day reality of "We The People". Hence, the reason why I agree with the proposals that have been put forth by some that our elected representatives should be required (by law) to do their own taxes each year. They should not have a separate, cushy retirement pension package (if we really want to see Social Security 'fixed', then we need to level the retirement playing field between the elected and the electors). And, they should be spending the majority of their time in their home districts -- not D.C. In other words, they should be governing as The Founding Father's intended -- not as an ever changing slate of neuvo-rich, elites. That's terrific news about S.I.L. Hopefully, the shrinking will begin soon!
@drannhh (15240)
• United States
28 Feb 08
I don't think it really makes any difference. When the real estate prices are high, the interest is low and when the prices are low the interest rates are high, so aside from people who make their money riding the market up and down, it is all business as usual, and for those who do, they can go long or short and make money either way. One way or another it is all hype, but personally, I'm using that stimulus check to pay off what is left of my last remaining mortgage.
2 people like this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
29 Feb 08
Hello Drannhh, Sorry for the dislexic mistype earlier. So, are you going to have a 'mortgage burning' party to celebrate the end of your note? If you choose to have it 'online', I'll make a point of bringing some yummy snacks, and some hot tunes. Though, I'll probably skip the fancy dress, if that's ok. Your last on-line bash was such a hit, I wouldn't dream of missing your next one. Especially, if it has such a wonderful theme!
1 person likes this
• Atlantic City, New Jersey
28 Feb 08
If we aren't in some type of recession- why the hell is he giving us these free money rebate checks this year in hopes of us going out and spending spending spending........I don't believe a word Bush says- never have, never will!
@petebaja (516)
• Mexico
28 Feb 08
LOL...warmweather...you're right! Why does he feel the need to bribe us with "free money" if we weren't in trouble economically?!? Well, I don't put much credence in his words either. Specially after he sent Colin Powell to the United Nations with that portfolio of lies and distorted evidence. But, I do believe him when he says he loves Laura...LOL..(I gotta give him something, no?)
1 person likes this
@dodoguy (1297)
• Australia
29 Feb 08
Hi petebaja, From thousands of miles distance, it sure sounds like a lot of people are doing it tough in the USA. Similar to a lot of the economic hype that we hear in Australia - the government telling us we're all better off than ever before, we've never had it so good etc etc... but the talk on the streets tells a different story. The BIG difference between the USA and other places like (for example) Australia is that while the strength of consumer spending facilitated by easy borrowing policies has precipitated the need to raise interest rates (and so limit further accumulation of debt), the US economy is so critically dependent on continuing accumulation of debt to keep the economy afloat that the Federal Reserve (which is not a federal agency, incidentally - it's a private concern which is owned by the banks) has been LOWERING interest rates instead - which is arguably an act of desperation to keep the party going. Whether the USA is in a recession depends on how a recession is defined. These economic terms are actually all very arbitrary, and probably don't convey a great deal of meaning in themselves. As long as the party keeps on going, with consumers forever finding some new way to dig more loans up to pay for that new SUV or to prevent foreclosure on the mortgage, then I don't actually think the USA is in a recession, as such - unless a recession is defined as the last gasp before we plunge headlong into a depression. To simplify things greatly, jobs have gone overseas, everyone seems to be drowning in debt, and the default global currency (the $US) looks like it's on the verge of being displaced by the Euro or the Islamic Dinar. If global confidence in the $US DOES collapse, it will happen very suddenly - overnight, in fact, and then all hell will break loose, roughly similar to what happened to Argentina a few years back, but if it happens to the USA, it will take down a good part of the rest of the world economy with it. I hope it doesn't happen that way, but history shows us that these things do seem to move in cycles. This one will be a doozy if the fat lady does decide to sing.
2 people like this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
29 Feb 08
Hello Pete, There is definitely a fearful rush, which is affecting the economy. Those with accumulated wealth are (in some cases) 'hi-tailing it outa' here'. In other cases, they are 'battoning down the hatches'. This is evidenced by California's recently released statistics relating to the state's huge budget shortfall, as linked to the highest tax-bracket individuals & businesses leaving the state for greener($) pastures. Anyone with anything to lose is scampering to protect their assets! This is not going to change before the election. And, if a Democrat wins, it's going to get alot worse!!! Before anyone lambasts me, please read on. Why? Because both of the Democrat hopefuls are promising HUGE spending packages! Which can be paid for by none other than the taxpayer! And, each time you hear Clinton or Obama promise to "tax the rich", there is a well-off person who is roused by the fear of how to 'not be taxed' into the poor house. These folks are moving their assets off-shore, or figuring out how to ride out the HUGE spending promises (this includes limiting hiring, and perhaps lay-offs) until at least the end of the second year of the four-year '2008- 2012 Presidential term'. Below I provide a link to stock market/election cycle trends which statistically demonstrate my above statement. Historically speaking, the two years leading up to a Presidential election, and through the end of the first two years of that administration see great turmoil in the stock markets. And, none can argue that the stock and commodities markets have a direct effect on the economy. "As we can see from Table 1, full cycles occur approximately every four years. During this period, bull markets averaged about three years, while bear markets averaged less than a year. A more detailed investigation that includes presidential election cycles for the period from 1941 through 2000 reveals some interesting findings. Stock market lows have occurred surprisingly close to mid-year congressional elections, or approximately two years before presidential elections. (See Table 2.)" http://gbr.pepperdine.edu/043/stocks.html Add to this historical trending the reality that Mid-East and South American ideological turmoil are negatively affecting the very basis of our economy -- oil, and we can deduce that unless and until the Environmentalist objections to drilling for oil on U.S. soil are disregarded, subsequently lessening our dependence on foreign (unfriendly) oil importation, and/or the emergence of a viable fuel alternative, we are going to continue to see rising inflation. The rise of fuel costs, home construction, utility costs, and all items which are dependent on transportation for distribution, are directly subject to increasing energy/fuel costs. Those sales outlets (stores) pass their costs on to the consumer (you). Everything that we buy at a store depends on fuel to get the items to their sales outlets. So, the cost of everything is going up! WE ARE PRISONERS TO OPEC! And, until we change that, we are at their mercy. Was President Bush lying this morning? Technically, no he was not. Though, he and every member of Congress realize that the rising costs of energy are driving the United States into a recession -- sooner rather than later. Hence, the reason for the bi-partisan support of the idiotic 'tax rebates'. Remember, this is an election year. Nobody in D.C. wants to lose their power base. So, they've agreed to bribe the masses. What they're not publicizing is their plan to raise taxes at the gas pump, as they give us back a measly few hundred dollars. The most recent estimate I have read is as much as .40 cents per gallon. So, hold on to your hats everyone. The roller-coaster ride is going to get alot more wiley before it levels out. Is the looming recession a reality? Well, historically speaking - Yes!
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Feb 08
Hey, Ladyluna! Thanks for the excellent and thought-provoking reply and link! I've been so caught up in our household's internal dramas that I seldom watch the President's press conferences anymore. (Said dramas are doing very well, thanks, including my amazingly hale and hearty SIL!) It's always a pleasure to read your words, ladyluna, thanks again for poking a bit of thought out of my mush!
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
18 Mar 08
Hello Pete, Thanks so much for the BR. I appreciate it.
@starangel (414)
• United States
28 Feb 08
rjscott just said everything i was thinking. lol. however, I don't believe Bush said that because of ignorance. I think it was said as a way of calming the people. I think it was a coverup because the truth might cause people to panic. the only kind of recession i see in the media is a recession in truth. lol
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Feb 08
not only that, but where would you even start? lol
1 person likes this
@petebaja (516)
• Mexico
28 Feb 08
Nancy Pelosi already took the "I" word off the table when she was elected Speaker. Besides, the evidence and violations of law are so abundant, it would take 10 years to sort everything out.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Feb 08
Yes, I believe we are in a recession; possibly headed for a depression. The average American is in debt up to his eyebrows, the average american has no savings account. Many homeowners are facing foreclosure and the price of gas is enough to make you mess your pants at the pump. The tax rebate economic stimulus is a joke in my opinion; too little; too late. I also so part of a special on tv the other night talking about the banking industry and a possible collapse. Guess that means if you have any savings in the bank to begin with, you could lose it as the FDIC would mean nothing. It is a scary economy right now.
• United States
28 Feb 08
Sorry for my typos. Meant to type in the sentence before the last, I also SAW part of a special on tv...
1 person likes this
@childsca (39)
• United States
29 Feb 08
I think you'd really have to be blind to think the US economy is not in a recession. The housing market is horrid, gas prices are soring, consumer spending is down, and the job market at least where I live (Seattle area) is declining. That said, historically after wars, the economy begins to pick up again...hopefully we'll see that if and when the war in Iraq ends.
1 person likes this
@djmarion (4901)
• Philippines
29 Feb 08
i can easily say when US economy has a problem with the may the exchange rate of dollar to our currency goes to and fro. last year the most i receive as a bonus from a US company i am working at is 7500 in our local currency and that's just a $150 rate. now my $150 only gets 6000. and that means big loss in my part. US economy is a mess nowadays although i am not living in that place i can easily tell by the way their dollars drops lower and lower as the day pass.
1 person likes this
@kate0250 (315)
• Philippines
29 Feb 08
Im not an American but by relatives are, and they've told us about the recession how businesses like real estate went splurging down. It's one of their businesses and some realtors felt how they lost a lot of their investments for that business.
1 person likes this
@sid556 (31005)
• United States
29 Feb 08
I don't think that Bush or any of those in higher positions even know what a "recession" feels like. I think those of us that are struggling not only know what recession is but we have been dealing with it for years. Someone like Bush could not begin to know how to live with my income.
1 person likes this
• Indonesia
29 Feb 08
I think yes. just look at the skyrocketing petroleum prices, the budget deficit, the rate of Euro, many prices increasing. in my own opinion, my country gets the trouble the same too, because mostly when the USD fluctuates, our own currency would get trouble. we have experienced inflation again and again, and the prices just get higher and higher. I think President Bush was trying to calm people (like our own country's had done) but it wouldn't work for those who could see the situation clearly.
1 person likes this
@mizrae (587)
• United States
28 Feb 08
Living here in Michigan, with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and the ever escalating mortgage crisis, this state is suffering! Whether the rest of the country is as bad, I don't know but we are definitely in a recession!
1 person likes this
@barehugs (8986)
• Canada
28 Feb 08
If United States was a ship, and the Iraq war was a hole in the bottom, The United States would be on the way to the bottom. Yes the United States is in a recession, and the blame falls directly on Bush's shoulders. He started the war with a Lie (about Missiles of Mass Destruction) and he's continued with untruths amd bald headed Lies, the whole time hes been in Office.Lets hope His successor has more Brains and integrity.
• United States
28 Feb 08
I think the country is in recession! I seen on tv one day when I was eating out at a chinease place, that a few states are trying to break apart from the U.S. I couldn't believe my eyes, but i don't remember what states they were to be exact. But thanks to bush the U.S. has over a 9trillion dollar or more deficit to china! Worst president ever... why did he never get impeached?
@xParanoiax (6999)
• United States
28 Feb 08
In short, and I really think it is safe to say; Yes, unfortunately, America is in a recession. The whole world over is saying we are, several major economists in this country are...our celebrities are leaving the country or putting their money in other countries, banks are leaving the country,companies which have been aving the country for years now are speeding up the amount of how many are leaving it seems... (therefore the unemployment rate going up)... And the price of oil being at record levels makes the costs of living go up everywhere. And to further illustrate how sucky this is..nearly entire cities have been abandoned and people have set their homes aflame because they can no longer afford them =( Aaalso, if that wasn't ENOUGH of a sign, there are now tent cities of homeless people outside of a few cities across the country. Mostly families live in those. A little small community of the poor =( And the middle class are almost non-existant now. Believe you, me, my family was JUST surviving before all this crap began to get worse. And we're really feeling the crunch. We know a few families who were doign quite decently who're now beginning to feel the crunch and getting close to desperate. It's not hype, if anything things are worse than they're being reported. =(
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Feb 08
Well, I don't know about the rest of my MyLot friends but I personally am in a recession. The price of food has gone through the roof, the price of fuel has gone through the roof and the price of insurance is on the rise for me. I don't understand how the government could think that we are not in a recession when the basic costs for living are so inflated.
• United States
29 Feb 08
I say a big fat YES!! we are definitely in a recession. I paid $4.25 for a gallon of milk that just a couple of years ago was $2. Gas is $3.15 a gallon here and I am only 200 miles from the oil refineries. I can imagine what it is elsewhere. Groceries have gone up because retailers have to absorb additional transportation costs as a result of the fuel surges. My 401k is down significantly because of the stock market situation. My utility bills have doubled!! and with all of this...my income is still the same. I am sure many out there are facing the same. Bush wont admit we are in a recession because that would mean admitting that he failed our country.
@dodoguy (1297)
• Australia
1 Mar 08
Hi asuniqueasyou, I agree with you that the pollies are in denial over the economic situation. It is interesting that they're more than happy to claim the credit when things go right, but always seem to find a scapegoat when things aren't going well. It seems to me that the government is more concerned with PR than with the economy. Which means they're more interested in keeping the populace under control than in keeping the economy on a healthy footing. If so, that spells bad news if / when the economy does go wheels up - because that's when martial law will be declared, people will be rounded up and put into concentration camps (or "internment" camps) and military rule will prevail. In that light, it may be that the "War on Terror" was a devilishly well orchestrated bit of forward planning.
• United States
1 Mar 08
yes you are right there. i got paid yesterday and that used to be a good day but my bills are so high i dont have much left from my paycheck.
• United States
29 Feb 08
I say we are in a recession. The prices of gas is growing and is expected to hit $4-$5 by the end of this year. The price of basic needed items like bread and milk is, although at a slower pace than gas, is growing. The president has to make it look like that nothing is going wrong when really he has caused a major problem for the US. We all know what is going on, we don't need someone who sits at his desk saying "This war was the right thing" while people across the world fight and die for someone else's civil war, to tell u whats happening.