The damage from the financial crisis was greater because it hit an economy that had already been suffering from a slow-burning mix of other challenges. The erosion in the quality of public education, the decline in public infrastructure, an alarming rise in poverty, a long period of stagnation in living standards for the median worker, the rise in public debt.
And these challenges are all magnified today by the paralysis in our political system — a paralysis that reflects and amplifies the deep divisions across the country about the role of government. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, speaking to 2012 graduates of Johns Hopkins’ Paul H. Nitze School.
What will the economy look like in 2020?
“First came the go-go years of the mid-2000s. Housing prices soared, the stock market posted big gains, and the economy perked along. Then the housing bubble burst, the jobless rate jumped, stocks tumbled, and a deep recession arrived.
After eight years of a boom-to-bust whiplash from euphoria to despondency, what is normal? Coming up with an answer is hard because the recession was marked by a financial crisis, which takes several years longer for recovery than a garden-variety downturn. Taking note of that, Michael Moran, chief economist for Daiwa Capital Markets America, says, “We’re in the middle of a long-term adjustment process.”
Moran adds: “It’s going to seem like the world is different for a few more years. There was rapid growth fueled by the housing bubble, which enabled a ramp up in consumer spending, activity that shouldn’t have taken place. Now, there’s payback.”
But payback doesn’t mean the economy will return to where it was a decade or so ago. Using the rest of this decade as a frame of reference, we look for the center line — the new normal, if you will — that will define the economy when 2020 rolls around.”
Our forecast: six-percent unemployment, higher interest rates, and an ongoing federal deficit. Read more.
It’s an understatement to say it has been nerve-wracking managing our portfolios through a global credit crunch, a bear market, the Great Recession, the worst labor market since the 1930s, bank bailouts, the collapse of the housing market and an unprecedented monetary easing by the central bank.
Yet the dynamic character of capitalism — what economist Joseph Schumpeter aptly described as the “gales of creative destruction” — means more recessions and bear markets (hopefully not as vicious) lurk in our future. The trick is for the 401(k) generation of investors to learn from the recent past to better navigate coming booms and busts. Columnist Chris Farrell takes stock of the investing lessons he learned from the Great Recession. Read more.
The number of Americans who say they’re worried “a great deal” about the economy, according to the latest Gallup poll. The economy topped all other concerns, including gas prices (65%), crime (42%) and illegal immigration (34%).
What We’re Reading, 3/16/2012
On our iPads and in our inboxes this morning: foreclosure, the 40-hour work week, and the strange ties between vasectomies and NCAA basketball. Here are some recommendations from the Kiplinger staff.
“Bring Back the 40-Hour Work Week,” by Sara Robinson (Salon). Just in time for the weekend, a new argument for why working fewer hours makes us happier and more productive. Quips web editor David Muhlbaum: “Should I feel guilty for having read this at work?”
“Can It Be … the Recovery?” (The Economist). “The Economist cover story confirms what The Kiplinger Letter has forecast,” says political editor Ken Bazinet. “Yes, there is a global recovery, but it’s not exactly a scorcher.”
“Housed,” by Aimee Phan (Guernica). The daughter of a Vietnamese refugee loses her house — and her mother’s American Dream. “After getting turned down for loan modifications, I realized I was not afraid of the possibility of our bank or creditors calling us, demanding their money,” Phan writes. “I was scared of my mother.”
“Young Adults OK With Moving Back Home,” by Elizabeth Shell (NewsHour). NewsHour’s Business Desk has a handy take on Pew’s “Boomerang Generation” report, which found that three in 10 young adults have recently lived at home — and three in four of them felt okay about it.
As always, please tweet us your reads!