The devastation wrought by the great recession is still all too real for millions of Americans who lost their jobs, businesses and homes. The scars of the crisis are fresh, and every new economic report brings another wave of anxiety. That uncertainty is understandable, but a review of recent data on the American economy shows that we are on a path back to growth.Omigod! We've turned the corner. Happy Days are Here Agai.... What's that? There's still a little downside?
While the economy has a long way to go before reaching its full potential, last week’s data on economic growth show that large parts of the private sector continue to strengthen. Business investment and consumption — the two keys to private demand — are getting stronger, better than last year and better than last quarter. Uncertainty is still inhibiting investment, but business capital spending increased at a solid annual rate of about 17 percent.
Together, private consumption and fixed investment contributed about 3.25 percent to growth. Even the surge in imports, which lowered the rate of increase of G.D.P., actually reflects healthy and growing American demand.
We have a long way to go to address the fiscal trauma and damage across the country, and we will need to monitor the ups and downs in the economy month by month. The share of workers who have been unemployed for six months or more is at its highest level since 1948, when the data was first recorded, and we must do more to ensure that they have the skills they need to re-enter the 21st-century economy. Small businesses are still battling a tough climate. State and local governments are still hurting.Train millions of 45-year olds to take jobs in the service sector at half their former income? Is this what you mean Mr. Geithner?
And while making smart, targeted investments in our future, we must also cut the deficit over the next few years and make sure that America once again lives within its means.Yah! We're talking about cutting Social Security; making sure that your new job as an on-line customer service rep (which you stole back from some guy in Mumbai or Manila by undercutting his wages) will be still there for you until you're 75, and finally eligible for a pension.