The Case Of The Missing Recovery

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts via,

Have you seen the economic recovery? I haven’t either. But it is bound to be around here somewhere, because the National Bureau of Economic Research spotted it in June 2009, four and one-half years ago.

It is a shy and reclusive recovery, like the “New Economy” and all those promised new economy jobs. I haven’t seen them either, but we know they are here, somewhere, because the economists said so.

Congress must have seen all those jobs before they went home for Christmas, because our representatives let extended unemployment benefits expire for 1.3 million unemployed Americans, who have not yet met up with those new economy jobs, or even with an old economy job for that matter.

By letting extended unemployment benefits expire, Congress figures that they saved 1.3 million Americans from becoming lifelong bums of the nanny state and living off the public purse. After all, who do those unemployed Americans think they are? A bank too big to fail? The military-security complex? Israel?

What the unemployed need to do is to form a lobby organization and make campaign contributions.

Just as economists don’t recognize facts that are inconsistent with corporate grants, career ambitions, and being on the speaking circuit, our representatives don’t recognize facts inconsistent with campaign contributions.

For example, our representative in the White House tells us that ObamaCare is a worthy program even though those who are supposed to be helped by it aren’t because of large deductibles, copays, and Medicaid estate recovery. The cost of this non-help is a doubling of the policy premiums on those insured Americans who did not need ObamaCare and the reclassification by employers of workers’ jobs from full-time to part-time in order to avoid medical insurance costs. All it took was campaign contributions from the insurance industry to turn a policy that hurts most and helps none into a worthy program. Worthy, of course, for the insurance companies.

Keep in mind that it is the people who could not afford medical insurance who have to come up with their part of the premium or pay a penalty. How do people who have no discretionary income come up with what are to them large sums of money? Are they going to eat less, drive less, dress less? If so, what happens to people employed in those industries when demand falls? Apparently, this was too big a thought for the White House occupant, his economists, and our representatives in Congress.

According to the official wage statistics for 2012, forty percent of the US work force earned less than $20,000, fifty-three percent earned less than $30,000, and seventy-three percent earned less than $50,000. The median wage or salary was $27,519. The amounts are in current dollars and they are compensation amounts subject to state and federal income taxes and to Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. In other words, the take home pay is less.

To put these incomes into some perspective, the poverty threshold for a family of four in 2013 was $23,550.

In recent years, the only incomes that have been growing in real terms are those few at the top of the income distribution. Those at the top have benefited from “performance bonuses,” often acquired by laying off workers or by replacing US workers with cheaper foreign labor, and from the rise in stock and bond prices caused by the Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing. Everyone else has experienced a decline in real income and wealth.

As only slightly more than one percent of Americans make more than $200,000 annually and less than four-tenths of one percent make $1,000,000 or more annually, there are not enough people with discretionary income to drive the economy with consumer spending. When real median family income and real per capita income ceased to grow and began falling, Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan substituted a credit expansion to take the place of the missing growth in income. However, as consumers became loaded with debt, it was no longer possible to expand consumer spending with credit expansion.

World War II left the US economy the only undamaged industrial and manufacturing center. Prosperity ensued. But by the 1970s the Keynesian demand management economic policy had produced stagflation. Reagan’s supply-side policy was able to give the US economy another 20 years. But the collapse of the Soviet Union brought an era of jobs offshoring to large Asian economies that formerly were closed to Western capital. Once corporate executives realized that they could earn multi-million dollar performance bonuses by moving US jobs abroad and once they were threatened by Wall Street and shareholder advocates with takeovers if they did not, American capitalism began giving the US economy to other countries, mainly located in Asia. As high productivity manufacturing and professional service jobs (such as software engineering) moved offshore, US incomes stagnated and fell.

As real income growth stagnated, wives entered the work force to compensate. Children were educated by refinancing the home mortgage and using the equity in the family home or with student loans that they do not earn enough to repay. Since the December 2007 downturn, Americans have used up their coping mechanisms. Homes have been refinanced. IRAs raided. Savings drawn down. Grown children, now adults, are back home with parents. The falling labor force participation rate signals that the economy can no longer provide jobs for the workforce. In such a situation, economic recovery is impossible.

What the Treasury and Federal Reserve have done, with the complicity of the White House, Congress, economists, and the media, is to focus on rescuing a half dozen banks “too big to fail.” The consequence of focusing economic policy on saving the banks is rigged financial markets and massive stock and bond market bubbles. To protect the dollar’s exchange value from quantitative easing, the price of gold has been forced down in the paper futures market, with the consequence that physical gold is shipped to Asia where it is unavailable as a refuge for Americans faced with currency depreciation.

At a time when most Americans are running out of coping mechanisms, the US faces a possible financial collapse and a high rate of inflation from dollar depreciation as the Fed pours out newly created money in an effort to support the rigged financial markets.

It remains to be seen whether the chickens can be kept from coming home to roost for another year.

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Say What Again's picture

I spotted the recovery in another car while waiting to cross the bridge From NJ to the promised land

fonestar's picture

It's 2014.  Do you know where your recovery is?

NoDebt's picture

Knock, knock!

Who's there?


Fuck off.

I am more equal than others's picture




It remains to be seen whether the chickens can be kept from coming home to roost for another year.


The chickens have been consumed.  No more roasting, roosting or roosters. 


mickeyman's picture

Actually I think they are happy if they keep them from roosting even for a few weeks.

MisterMousePotato's picture

If you like your recovery, ... .

mickeyman's picture

Wait! I've got it! They just need to forgive all debt!

MontgomeryScott's picture

I KNOW there's a recovery.

The local A.M. radio stations are now playing (again) the advertisments promising 'Obama's' H.A.R.P. (no, not 'Bush's' H.A.R.P., Bernanke's and now Yellen's). (For those who don't know, it stands for 'Housing Affordable Refinancing Program').

YES, you can get ANOTHER loan to try to keep your house, ONCE AGAIN! (What do you mean, you can't afford your house payments NOW? Do you seriously expect US to loan you YET MORE FRN's to keep your home? Why the HELL aren't you living under a bridge, you unworthy, unemployed FOOL? McDonald's employment doesn't COUNT! GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE! HA HA hahahaha...HA!)

wee-weed up's picture



Have you seen the economic recovery? I haven’t either.

Not according to Obama's sycophant MSM!

They trumpet it (lying to the max of course, for their Dear Leader) every chance they get!

CheapBastard's picture

Do they think the 5-6% postal rate hike will stimulate the economy?

max2205's picture

Welfare to be changed to Economic Transition per Ms Jackson

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

When you have eliminated the unpossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. There just is no recovery.

<It's elemental Dr. Watson.>

NoDebt's picture

Must.... believe.... in..... recovery!

It does suck bigtime for most people.  Imagine unleashing a wave of global wage arbitrage right as technology started replacing low-skilled (and increasingly higher-skilled) labor in huge clumps and bunches.  Then throw "the most transparent government in history" (massive incompetence and corruption) on top and that cracking sound you hear is the camel's back breaking.

Like I said on here since forever:  Small number of rich, large number of poor and just enough middle class to service the rich.  Same as it has been in most societies throughout most of human history.  A giant reversion to the mean.

Radical Marijuana's picture

"A giant reversion to the mean" is way too optimistic, No Debt!

Why a Finite World is a Problem

By Gail Tverberg, January 2, 2014.

... The fact that the world is finite has been omitted from virtually every model predicting the future. This means that economic models are virtually all wrong. The models generally predict that economic growth will continue indefinitely, but this is not really possible in a finite world. ... At this point, the problem of hitting limits in a finite world has morphed into primarily a financial problem. Governments are particularly affected. They find that they need to borrow increasing amounts of money to provide promised services to their citizens. Debt is a huge problem, both for governments and for individual citizens. Interest rates need to stay very low, in order for the current system to “stick together.” Governments are either unaware of the true nature of their problems, or are doing everything they can to hide the true situation from their constituents. Governments rely on economists for advice on what to do next. Economists’ models do a very poor job of representing today’s world, so they provide little useful guidance. ... It is surreal how close we can be to limits, without major media catching on to what the problem really is. ...

Some New Year’s Observations

By George Mobus, January 1, 2014

... The truth is I’ve grown weary of writing the same thing over and over again. Last year saw further declines in the natural environment, increases in extreme weather events, increases in conflict in the MENA region, the Middle East and North Africa, (and others to boot), more rapid depletion of fossil fuels, greater disparity between the top 1% and the poor, and on and on. The political and governance systems continued their disintegration. Corporations continued to make profits by replacing workers with automation. And the bankers and brokers continued to amass fortunes by swindling the rest of the world, and with the assistance of governments as well. In spite of the accumulation of evidence of decline, almost nobody is paying attention ...



NoDebt's picture

Well, you MIGHT be right.  I'll stick with my call, though.  Thanks just the same.

Seer's picture

Does that mean that you don't believe that the planet is finite?

NoDebt's picture

Obviously, that is the ONLY possible conclusion that can be drawn from my comment.  The ONLY one.

Radical Marijuana's picture

I agree that there is no doubt that you will be right in the medium term, No Debt. As I said, there is no doubt that the established social pyramid systems are designed to do what what you say, and the people that staff those systems are working towards that kind of NeoFeudalism to return. Certainly, that IS the path we are on now, and your call is the most obvious extrapolation of current trends towards the most probable future, ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL, AND SIMILAR TO HOW THEY WERE IN THE PAST.

My point is that things are no longer equal to anything in previous human history, but rather what is happening now on a global scale has nothing similar to compare it to in the past (although some local regions went through some locally similar events, upon some occasions, like when climate change made their way of life there become "unpossible.")

I stick with my call regarding the longer term,

 & I repeat my basic bla, bla, blah about WHY:

The history of warfare for thousands of years depended upon being successful by being deceitful. The central issue was the death controls, as operated through murder systems. Relative success at operating those murder systems generally depended upon backing up deceits with destruction, and in that context, spies were the most important soldiers. Thousands of years of the selective forces of history within the crucible of conflicts selected for the development of the kinds of Neolithic Civilizations that were social pyramid systems, whereby relatively small minorities developed their ability to be dishonest, and back that up with violence, while the larger majorities developed to be controlled by the resulting ignorance and fear. That social pyramid system is the one that is running into the limits of the planet Earth. The history of warfare selected for the War Kings, who created the sovereign states, whose powers became controlled by the Fraud Kings. The overall history of the development of the ACTUAL human and industrial ecologies has been death controls operated through the maximum possible deceits, which backed up the development of debt controls operated through the maximum possible frauds.

OF COURSE: "Governments are ... doing everything they can to hide the true situation from their constituents." WHILE, THEREFORE, IT BECOMES MORE "surreal how close we can be to limits, without major media catching on to what the problem really is." We generally live in a Bizarro Mirror World, controlled by legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, in which everything appears proportionately backwards!

We are turning natural resources into garbage and pollution as fast as possible, while our fundamentally fraudulent financial accounting system figures that is quite good. We are rushing at an exponentially accelerating rate towards overshooting the possibly sustainable kinds of human and industrial ecologies, towards discovering that what we have been doing is "UNPOSSIBLE" to continue ... The "solution" that the social pyramid system has to that is to cull the majority of the human population. However, given that the weapons are trillions of times more powerful than ever before in human history, I believe that "solution" will spin out of control.

THERE IS NOT DOUBT THAT: "At this point, the problem of hitting limits in a finite world has morphed into primarily a financial problem." However, in order to be able to better resolve those problems we would have to start with the definition that MONEY IS MEASUREMENT BACKED BY MURDER. Obviously, all of mainstream "economics," as well as almost all of its controlled opposition forms of "economics," are almost totally dominated by the biggest bullies' bullshit world views. They operate through evil deliberate ignorance towards ecological realities. THOSE ENVIRONMENTAL REALITIES ARE WHAT MAY MAKE SOCIAL PYRAMID SYSTEMS IN THE FUTURE SELF-DESTRUCT, AND BE IMPOSSIBLE TO MAINTAIN, NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY TRY TO SURVIVE BY MAKING THEMSELVES HAVE AN EVEN STEEPER SHAPE.

Anyway, No Debt, you see I agree with your prediction as what is happening, and what those doing that plan on doing ... I just do NOT believe they will actually be able to do that, in the longer term, because they operate way too much on the basis of evil deliberate ignorance, which they can do within the human world, by backing up their lies with violence, BUT, that does not change the environmental realities which they are able to persuade most people to deliberately ignore, because most people also want to deliberately ignore those real limits. IF we did not deliberately ignore those limits, then we would have to radically change, but still both the rulers and the ruled have ways to deliberately ignore what they want to deliberately ignore, and thus, they are enabled to continue to do that, for as long as possible, until that becomes "unpossible" to continue, at which point civilization will be going through psychotic breakdowns, which will careen out of control ...

Somehow we continue to believe we can still engage in old-fashioned fights for resources, even while those conflicts get more and more intensified, despite the FACT that the weapons are trillions of times more powerful. Basically, the current social pyramid systems ARE able to maintain attitudes of evil deliberate ignorance towards the consequences of fighting over dwindling natural resources with weapons of mass destruction. Since we have never been in that predicament before, it is "unpossible" to predict what will happen. However, it is quite possible that civilization will madly destroy itself, rather than do what it is apparently planning on, and preparing to do, which is what you are predicting shall most probably happen, No Debt.

MontgomeryScott's picture

"By George Mobus, January 1, 2014"

Say, what was that dude's name in that movie 'The Matrix', anyway?

MOBIUS or something...oops, it was 'Morphius'...

In spite of the accumulation of evidence of decline, almost nobody is paying attention ...

MontgomeryScott's picture

@Cognitive Dissonance:

My doctor told me that when I eliminated the INPISSABLE, I would see a few hard stones in the bottom of the bowl. It hurt like HELL, but I did it, and NOW I can flush the remains down the drain (much like the so-called 'recovery'). No drugs...

Figured I'd add to the 'misspelling' error of yours...'unpossible', 'inpossible', unpissable', 'inpissable', and WHATEVER...

Letter for the day: M.

NoDebt's picture

'Unpossible' is a well-known ZH invent-a-word that dates back a long time on this site.  It's not an error or misspelling on his part.

Here's your crow.  Bon appetit.

Mr.Bigfoot's picture


Unfortunately not a ZH invented word.   This was coined by the famous Ralph Wiggam on the Simpsons with his remark, "Me fail English?  That's unpossible"

NOTaREALmerican's picture

No economic recovery?

It's everywhere you look and find the top 20%.    The top 20% are doing really well.    That's 60 MILLION people living better than ever.   

And when has the bottom 80% ever mattered in the US. 

Survival of the fittest.   Isn't that the society that we wanted?  

Oldwood's picture

As a small business owner, in 2008 I was at the very bottom if not quite in the top 1%. Today I'm lucky if I'm in the top 20%. I'm obviously not part of his smart and savy crowd, but I think it is largely the top .1% that's really winning here.

Seer's picture

Based on 2000 world wealth report the top 10% had on average $61,000 worth of assets; to be in the top 1% you had to have $500,000 and up (this was noted to be something on the order of 37 million people worldwide).

I'm not sure that one could really be said to be winning if it's in a highly flawed game...  But, on the notion of winning and losing:

Gloria Clemente from White Men Can't Jump:

Sometimes when you win, you really lose, and sometimes when you lose, you really win, and sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie, and sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose. Winning or losing is all one organic mechanism, from which one extracts what one needs.

syntaxterror's picture

Wall Street and D.C. are booming. Muchas gracias money changers!

NOTaREALmerican's picture

As is the bucolic college town I live in,  stuffed full of student loan debt.

Anybody looting Big-Ag, Big-MIC, Big-Road, Big-Water, Big-Airport, Big-Energy, Big-Ed, Big-House, Big-Fin, Big-OldFart, Big-OldFartHealthcare, Big-AntiDrug, & Big-PoliceState.  

The top 20% - the management class - are doing very well.   

What the heck do people want, the losers to get more loot?    It's a survival of the fittest society and the fittest are REALLY surviving.

denverdolomte's picture

So if I came into your house and stole everything out from under you without leaving a trace or possiblity of being caught you would be okay with that? I mean in all fairness I outsmarted your ability to keep what is yours, in an essence survival of the fittest. 

I understand your point but feel its majorly misconstrued, unless you forgot the /sarc tag. 

NOTaREALmerican's picture

Isn't life in America about the smart-n-savvy people screwing the dumbasses anyway possible?

Does it really matter if it's predatory lending (notice the name) or outright stealing.

The (glorious) financial INSTITUTION I work for has offices in South Dakota.   Know why?  Because the laws allow then to fuck people more.

When did people put at stop to that.  Or was that just "good bidness".    It could have been stopped anytime over the last 40 or so years but it wasn't (just bidness, ya know, ha ha ha).

This is nation of scam artists and assholes and the last 60+ years has resulting in them winning.  And lets have a show of hands of how many of us cheered them on; because THEY were the most fit winners of society?

Well, they won.   Deal with the results. 

JLee2027's picture

Interesting handle you have considering you hate Americans.

denverdolomte's picture

I'm guessing that we differ greatly in chronological ages. I unfortunately am new to the economic world of understanding this farce, as of 2007 at the age of 23, I started questions why things were so out of control and I have learned a lot over those years. 

So no I never have supported the "fittest". Let's see a show of hands here how many people got free rides through life, handed executive positions with the TBTF corps, and access to all they could ever desire. I am confused here if your are blaming people that didn't have the allocated resources to understand this knowledge before the dawn of the internet and thus labeling the serfs as those marked to deal with prolific despair. Or you are part of the the issue by remaining part of an institution that is willingly fucking people hence you are complaining about something that you have caused? 

Seer's picture

"Well, they won."

No.  You and THEY might believe so, but I don't.  The System is going to crash, which means that it's a LOSER.  Being a winner of a loser system does not mean that you "win."  And, if one looks at real survivors you'd see that there is really nothing sustainable about these "winners" at all- if/when things collapse they'll be more susceptable to failure than those who are less connected to the system.

Anusocracy's picture

" It's a survival of the fittest society and the fittest are REALLY surviving."

Wrong on two counts.

It's the survival of a society that fits the programming of the general population. It is the fittest society for the animal world.

The fittest that are REALLY surviving are fit only for the animal world.

denverdolomte's picture

Like hangover recoveries? 

Think this article made one good point for the un- / under-employed to form a logical coalition. I filed in my state for "un-employment" and was over payed somehow, almost a year now I have been fighting them for this cause. Even hired myself a lawyer who I quote "Since 2012 I have seen so many of these cases that the best way I can describe the Department of Labor is that of 3rd world corruption or a ponzi scheme." These fucks are fleecing people who think they are living on the system and don't even know they are being held in debt to that department. So I agree that it's beyond time for people to truly start banning together and instead of contributions donate retribution.

stant's picture

recovery, does that fall under offensive comments per zh guide lines?

MethodMan's picture

"What the unemployed need to do is to form a lobby organization and make campaign contributions"

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiggggggggggggt. Can they go to the Fed window first? Or get some "loaned reserves?" After all, no printed dollar would ever end up in the pockets of a politician....

Seer's picture

Sigh, it's the one thing I don't tend to agree with PCR on.  He seems to hold out some remote bit of hope that politics can actually do something.  Once upon a time things could happen that way, but now that we're less capable of changing because things are so tightly tuned due to diminishing resources it not only isn't possible it's not even a good idea to try (taking over the System doesn't fix it's fundamental flaws- it's un-fixable and really must end/die in order for a truer, more sustainabe, organic solution(s) to form).

PoliticalRefugeefromCalif.'s picture

amen bro.

The big lie is that politics that which has brought us here is somehow the pathway back to freedom, people are starting to realize that politics is a one way street.

MontgomeryScott's picture



What the unemployed could do, you see, is to pool all their leftover monies, and form a community organization, like Barry soetoro used to head over in Cook County, Illinois (before being selected as a State Senator). See, and THEN, they could go to Chase, Wachovia, HSBC, or the FED ITSELF, and say, like, 'Look, man, we want to start a lobby for the unemployed'.

Yeah, THAT COULD work...

(Did you miss the 'sarc' tag?)


JustObserving's picture

Dr Paul Craig Roberts is one of a very few Americans who will speak truth to those in power whether it be on economics or  9/11 or the Syrian situation or gold.

The whole illusion of recovery is based on false inflation and unemployment numbers.  Correct the official inflation rate by 3 to 5% and there has been negative growth or recession since 2008 despite the Fed printing over $3 trillion.  And John Williams of Shadowstats say unemployment is 23% instead of the official 6.7%.  The recovery is an illusion promulgated by Wall Street and the pliant, controlled, corrupt media.




Deer Hunter's picture

Recovery is in Texas, all the work you need.

TheMerryPrankster's picture

Got water for another 90 million people?

y'all can't even keep the cattle alive in Texas no more. thinkin you might be all hat cowboy.

Seer's picture

More folks flocking to Texas from California!  Imagine the tensions as it becomes apparent that Texans and Californians hate each other!  Fun times ahead... (when the wells start going dry)

Seer's picture

Why do people insist on speaking truth to power when power knows what the fucking truth is?  FUCKING DO TRUTH! (thus helping to squeeze out all the TALK, which is what POWER primarily relies on happening in order to maintain their control)

ptoemmes's picture

Rumored to have been seen on Wall Street in NYC, The Hamptons, and at various places inside the Washington DC beltway.  Could have just been a Sasquatch, Yetti, or Skunk Ape.

nmewn's picture

Clearly what's needed here are some Promise Zones...and extended unemployment benefits!...and and and...immigration reform to pick up the job slack of all those on unemployment!

Every dollar in unemployment checks puts a buck fiddy back into the economy, do the math people!


TheMerryPrankster's picture

AmeriKa is a Promise ZONE!!!

Heads full of promises and pockets full of empty

watching big screens full of illusion, beleiving them real - looking out the window, beleiving it fake.

Looking in the mirror and seeing a pharmaceutical reflection, enhanced, subdued, embalmed and impotent.

TV World says recovery, green shoots, broken windows, foreclosed homes, jobless say depression.

90+ million out of the workforce

42+ million on foodstamps

20% of all children living in poverty

if this is the face of recovery, then recovery doesn't mean what I was taught it does.

Green shoots died when Bernanke's depression ate America a dollar at a time.