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article imageOp-Ed: The U.S. Recovery, three strikes and you're not out!

By Kelly Bowlin     Jun 25, 2011 in Politics
We're not even close to recovering from the great recession of 2008. Why? It's three strikes and you're out: Housing Declines, Rising Unemployment, and the National Debt.
I’m a journalist, not an economist. Probably good because if I were sitting around a table of economists who were telling me the recession ended, better yet, that it ended in 2009 I be in a throw-down with them. Don’t give me charts, and bell curves and equations that look like the statistics proofs I cheated on in college. Just open your eyes. It’s okay, this quaint little article is just between me you, whoever you are. I’m not trying to prove Obama should be re-elected or that Mitt Romney can do a better job. This is about the depression we’re still in. It’s okay, don’t freak, I called it the “D” word. Obviously not Armageddon, and I don’t see a blazing white light shining down from the firmament. It’s just that friends, look around, what do you see, what do you read?
Three Strikes and You’re Not Out…Of The Recession
Strike 1
The Housing Cureveball
Case Shiller reports that housing continues to slide. The American people’s largest individual asset is continuing to tank. Look around. I’m still seeing communities in Southern California where entire blocks are upside down and banks aren’t foreclosing. Yep, they’ve stopped. I’ve got a good friend in a high profile community near the beach in Southern California who stopped making his payments a year ago. The bank sent a few nasty threats and then stopped. Why, because the entire community is so upside down, if they took their $750,000 trust deed back in a foreclosure, they’d be booking huge losses. Under the stupid, moronic, mark to market accounting that got approved a while back, these lenders don’t have to book a loss, as long as the property doesn’t go back to them, so they sit, and my friend continues to surf every morning in a house he isn’t paying for.
Strike 2
The Employment Fastball
Employment continues to get worse. Do a survey of all of your best friends. Are things getting better or worse? Business Week reports that unemployment is getting close to 10 percent. Got a news flash; It’s not a good number. It doesn’t account for the millions of self employed people who have lost everything and aren’t reflected in the labor statistics. Know anyone that was in construction, real estate, mortgages, or the car business? Are they better off or worse? Who’s hiring. I think Dubai’s still got some construction jobs, maybe mainland China? My un-economic test for the state of employment stands in throngs outside of the Home Depots around my county. I’m seeing Caucasian workers with tool belts waiting for work. I’m thinking the end of the world must be close. I haven’t seen that in 40 years.
Strike 3
The National Debt Spitter
If we put on the appearance of recovery as a nation its only because Daddy, gave us his credit card and we’ve been spending to the max, literally. Our debt ceiling is at 14 trillion give or take a couple of billion dollars. If we’re in recovery, it’s only temporary happiness like the kind you get when you max out a credit card to pay for a vacation. It was great fun, but when the bill hit, those rum punches didn’t seem so special. Let’s consider that the flat world Friedman talks about is a cul-de-sac of houses. We’re sitting in the best location, in the biggest house on the block. Our neighbors Mr. & Mrs. Greece and Mr. Portugal, and that attractive Iceland lady have all let it be known, they’re in foreclosure. Their houses are starting to crumble. China and India sit in modest brick houses. Nothing fancy in fact, scuttlebutt on the street says they’ve almost paid-off their mortgages. And here we sit, in the palace at the end of the block, but just like my friend at the beach, our debts are maxed out; the only way we’re even gonna pay the Gardner (Mr. Mexico who’s looking pretty good), is to borrow more money.
If we’re coming out of the recession, I’m blind and ignorant and need to take a few more courses in theoretical economics. So let's just keep all this bad news between us. Elections are just around the corner.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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