Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We're Officially In A Recession? Tell Me Something I Don't Know!

This blog originally appeared on AtlantaWomanMag.com.

Slowdown. Unusual time. Difficult headwind. All terms used (by President Bush) to describe what we’v e all been trying not to think about – recession.

After hemming and hawing for almost a full year, The National Bureau of Economic Research has declared that not only are we in a current recession, but that we’ve been in one since December 2007! It’s so comforting to finally have someone speak the truth we’ve all been living with for the past six months or more. Now we’ll have no more pundits spout out phrases such as “recession-like conditions” when asked about the state of the nation’s economy.

I do realize that it takes organizations such as the bureau quite a while to make a call like this – what really makes me chuckle is that economists have been so loathe to use the term. It seemed to me that commentators on NPR and the like were almost afraid to use it for fear of sending yet another message of financial doom and gloom to the masses.

I find it mildly amusing, and perhaps strategically timed, that this announcement was made after Black Friday, which, according to various reports, was actually better than last year in terms of retail sales. Recession, schmession! Despite the fact that we are paying more for milk, more of us are getting laid off and unemployment benefits are at some of the highest levels ever, the economic state of the union can’t prevent us from camping out in front of Best Buy Thanksgiving night so that we can get our hands on a coveted $300 laptop. (I kid you not – my brother works there, and saw many tents pitched when his store opened its doors at the ungodly hour of 4 a.m.) Of course, this rush to buy may be attributed to the need to get the best deal possible, as it feels like we are all quickly running out of cash.

Needless to say, we are probably all in need of a good laugh.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m feeling down, I turn to the The Daily Show. Jon knows you may not have a Harvard MBA like President Bush, so he translates W's outlook into language we can all understand.

John Hodgman uses a time helmet (You know we’re in a recession if he can’t afford a time machine!) to see if we're currently in a recession and bats around economic semantics.

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