- The News: We’re in a recession, and it’s going to be the great depression all over again.
- The Anti-News: We’ve been in a recession for at least a year now by my reckoning, and other than the fallout in the stock market, it looks nothing like the Great Depression. Back then, unemployment hit 25% (1933) and gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, plunged 13% (1932). This compares favorably with the 0.2% decline in GDP the Fed is forecasting for 2009.During the Great Depression the money supply shrank by one-third from 1929-33, and the Fed didn’t protect the banking system. Today, Ben Bernanke and international monetary institutions are doing everything they can to support the banks, short of controlling them outright.
- The News: In October, the unemployment rate rose from 6.1 to 6.5 percent.
- The Anti-News: In October, the Employment rate fell by a mere 0.4% from 93.9% to 93.5%. That means that now 65 people are out of work for every 935 people who still have a job. Let me repeat that: the vast majority of people still have a job. And most people will still need to buy groceries, make mortgage payments, visit the doctor’s office, and do all those other things that are part of the economy. And we still have an economy.
- The News: The consumer price index declined 1% this month.
- The Anti-News: Say what? You mean prices actually went DOWN? Yes, that’s the case. Just three months ago fuel prices threatened a 70’s style bout of “stagflation” and now we have actually experienced a touch of deflation. That means some things are actually getting cheaper. One of which is oil.
- The News: Oil prices are about $50-60 per barrel.
- The Anti-News: We’re actually burning less oil now than back when prices were at $147/barrel, and we’re driving fewer miles. This actually helps the environment while it gives our country time to figure out a solution to the energy crisis (hard to call something a crisis that we’ve known about since Carter was in office), and it reduces the power and influence of oil-producing nations that “don’t like us very much” including Russia and the Middle East. And you can still pick up a gas guzzling Honda Pilot or Ford Explorer on the cheap.