“Future Economic Historians” Will Probably Call the Period That Began In 2007 “the LONGEST DEPRESSION”

Sure, last year was the first pre-election year stock market loss since the Great Depression.  And admittedly, this week was the worst opening week of any year … EVER.

But that’s not the big news.

The big news is that a prominent economist – University of California economics prof Brad DeLong – wrote today:

Economist Joe Stiglitz warned back in 2010 that the world risked sliding into a “Great Malaise.” This week, he followed up on that grim prediction, saying, “We didn’t do what was needed, and we have ended up precisely where I feared we would.”

***

Joe Stiglitz is right.

***

In the aftermath of 2008, Stiglitz was indeed one of those warning that I and economists like me were wrong. Without extraordinary, sustained and aggressive policies to rebalance the economy, he said, we would never get back to what before 2008 we had thought was normal.

I was wrong. He was right.

***

Future economic historians may not call the period that began in 2007 the “Greatest Depression.” But as of now, it is highly and increasingly probable that they will call it the “Longest Depression.”

What’s he talking about? And how could we be in a depression when – until recently – the stock market has been soaring?

Well, the Fed intentionally created a stock market rally so that people would think that the economy was doing well. The wealthy have benefited, but everyone else has been left in the dirt.

But the real economy has been lying in a ditch on the side of the road since late 2007.

Indeed, the world’s most prestigious financial agency slammed the Fed before the 2008 crisis – and afterwards – for pursuing “bubbles, gimmicks and palliatives” instead of doing what was needed to stabilize the economy. So did the head of the World Bank … and many Fed officials.

Now, the Fed itself is starting to admit that all of its policies since 2008 may have been ineffective.

How Bad Is the Real Economy?

So how bad has the real economy been these last 7 years?

We noted in 2009 that more Americans will be unemployed than during the Great Depression.

We noted in 2010:

The following experts have – at some point during the last 2 years – said that the economic crisis could be worse than the Great Depression:

We explained in 2011 that many economists agree we’re in a depression … and they only argue about whether we’re facing the “Great” depression of the 1930s or the “Long” depression of the 1870s. We also noted that housing prices fell farther than during the Great Depression.

In 2012, we wrote:

We’ve repeatedly pointed out that there are many indicators which show that the last 5 years have been worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s, including:

***  Indeed, the number of Americans relying on government assistance to obtain basic food may be higher now that during the Great Depression.  The only reason we don’t see “soup lines” like we did in the 30s is because of the massive food stamp program.

We noted in 2013 that the British economy is worse than during the Great Depression, and more Americans are committing suicide than during the Great Depression.

We pointed out in 2014 that Europe is stuck in an economic malaise worse than a depression, that Americans fared better after the Great Depression than the 2008 crisis and that U.S. foreclosure rates are comparable to the Great Depression.

Last year, we noted that an important economic indicator – the velocity of money – has crashed far worse than during the Great Depression, and that the howling winds of deflation are hammering the U.S. just as much as Europe.

The Government Has Made It Worse

We’ve previously explained:  “We are stuck in a depression because the government has done all of the wrong things, and has failed to address the core problems.  For example:

The world’s most prestigious financial agency said that the government’s attempts to blow bubbles would just make things worse

  • The government is doing everything else wrong. See this and this

The bottom line is that we – and the wealth of our nation – have been looted. The great redistribution of wealth in history has created a depression.

Corrupt policy has caused medievalking-and-serf levels of inequality.  As we noted in 2011:

The 1% has caused a depression for the 99%.

This entry was posted in Business / Economics, Politics / World News. Bookmark the permalink.