Let’s be honest—our economy never really recovered from the last recession. Remember that one? It started around 2000 when pets.com shut down and suddenly every broker in the Financial District realized what every teenager on Geocities already knew: having a website didn’t mean you were about to receive piles of money.
However, a little article buried on the front page of nytimes.com this evening officially announced the beginning of a new recession.
Though most of us have probably already been working under the assumption that the recession started months ago, President Clinton’s Treasury Secretary is among the first and highest-profile public figures to go from saying, “A recession is possible” to saying, “Oops! We’re in a recession.”
I find interesting the up-front acknowledgment that there is a difference betwixt the “economic growth” that America has been experiencing for the last five years and the “real economy,” which is measured by the financial health of the majority of American families. Near the end of the article, they call President Bush’s tax cuts “regressive,” which they are.
I’m just starting out in my life and in my career, and I’m sure that our economy will eventually find its way back to stable health, but I don’t think that on this side of the resurrection I’m ever going to see the same buying power per dollar that my parents saw while I was growing up. More manufacturing and technology jobs are being shipped overseas for less money, but any benefit that would have for people in unrelated industries is more than offset by the fact that many foreign currencies are gaining on the U.S. dollar. (Even the Canadian dollar has surpassed the U.S. dollar lately. Seriously? The Canadian dollar?)
Conventional wisdom would tell you that now is the time to buy some real estate or invest in some stocks that you know are going to rebound, but my portfolio is pretty much tied up in food, shelter, and the new R.E.M. CD.
I hope this recession ends soon, because I don’t want to have to sell my food.