"The most wrenching recession since the 1930s ended a year ago," say the editors of The Economist, but the end of the recovery is nowhere in sight. Recessions are an unavoidable part of the business cycle, and the economy typically bounces back pretty quickly. This downturn, however, was caused by a massive financial crisis, and recoveries in such cases are "weak and slow" — typically taking seven years — "as banking systems are repaired and balance-sheets rebuilt." The government can speed up the process, spending now to boost the economy, while committing itself to paying the bills as soon as possible. Unfortunately, politicians seem more interested in playing the "blame game" than in getting us out of this mess, with the GOP pinning the country's problems on President Obama's "big government" spending, and Democrats insisting "Wall Street’s excesses caused the problem and higher taxes on high-earners are part of the solution." Here, an excerpt:
America's biggest problem is that its politicians have yet to acknowledge that the economy is in for such a long, slow haul, let alone prepare for the consequences. A few brave officials are beginning to sound warnings that the jobless rate is likely to "stay high." But the political debate is more about assigning blame for the recession than about suggesting imaginative ways to give more oomph to the recovery....
Americans are used to great distances. The sooner they, and their politicians, accept that the road to recovery will be a long one, the faster they will get there.
Read the full article at The Economist.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How the South's ugly racial history is haunting ObamaCare
- Stop making fun of philosophy and read some philosophy
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- If Democrats abandon immigration reform after Tuesday's likely loss, they will turn 2016 into a debacle
- Beware of Splenda: The backlash against artificial sugars
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Feast your eyes on this beautiful linguistic family tree
- What if Leo Strauss was right?
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 10 things you need to know today: October 31, 2014
Subscribe to the Week