19 Reasons To Laugh When Anyone Tells You That The Economy Is In Good Shape

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The American Dream blog,

Have you heard the one about the “economic recovery” in the United States?  It’s quite funny, but it is not actually true.  Every day, the establishment media points to the fact that global stock markets have soared to unprecedented heights as evidence that the economy is improving.  But just because a bunch of wealthy people have gotten temporarily even richer on paper does not mean that the real economy is in good shape.  In fact, as you will see below, things just continue to get even tougher for the poor and the middle class.  Retail stores are closing at the fastest pace since the fall of Lehman Brothers, the rate of homeownership in this country is the lowest that it has been in 19 years, one out of every five families do not have a single member that is employed, and one out of every five children is living in poverty.  We are working harder, earning less and going into more debt.  With each passing day, the middle class gets a little bit smaller and the ranks of the poor get a little bit larger.  But at least the stock market is doing great, eh?

If the U.S. economy really was doing well, government dependence would not be at epidemic levels.

If the U.S. economy really was doing well, we wouldn’t have more than a million public school children that are homeless.

If the U.S. economy really was doing well, the percentage of Americans that have a job would not be lower than it was when the last recession supposedly “ended”.

Nobody that takes an honest look at the numbers can honestly say that the U.S. economy has recovered.  The following are 19 reasons why you can laugh when anyone tells you that the economy is in good shape…

#1 RadioShack just announced that it is going to close an additional 200 stores on top of what it was already planning to close.

#2 During the first quarter of this year, reported earnings by major U.S. retailers missed estimates by the largest margin in 13 years.

#3 One out of every three grocery store workers in the state of California is on some form of public assistance.

#4 The percentage of Americans that believe that it is a “good time to buy a home” is the lowest that it has been in four years.

#5 According to one recent survey, 52 percent of Americans cannot even afford the house that they are living in right now.

#6 Sadly, only 36 percent of American adults under the age of 35 currently own a home.  That is the lowest level that has ever been recorded.

#7 According to one new study, half of all college graduates are still relying on their parents financially when they are two years out of school.

#8 The number of planned job cuts by U.S. employers is on the rise again

Job cuts climbed to the highest level in more than a year, as U.S.-based employers announced plans to reduce payrolls by 52,961 in May, according to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

#9 Right now, one out of every six men in their prime working years (25 to 54) do not have a job.

#10 The percentage of Americans not in the labor force is still at a 36 year high.

#11 53 percent of wage earners in the United States make less than $30,000 a year.

#12 The average age of vehicles on America’s roads has hit an all-time high of 11.4 years.  Are we making them better or is it just that people simply cannot afford to buy new vehicles anymore?

#13 According to Pulitzer prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston, the economic recovery following the depths of the Great Depression was far superior to what we are experiencing today

The most eye-opening measure of how poorly the vast majority are faring these days comes from comparing the periods after the Great Recession and the Great Depression.

The 90 percent, the vast majority, saw their income decline in 2012 compared with 2009, the year the Great Recession officially ended. Average annual income was down $556, or almost 2 percent, adjusted for inflation, to $30,997.

But in 1936, three years after the Great Depression ended, the vast majority enjoyed 31 percent more income than in 1933. The average increase, in today’s dollars, was $2,146 per household.

#14 The U.S. economy did not experience any economic growth during the first quarter of 2014.  In fact, it actually contracted.

#15 The growth of furniture spending has just gone negative for the first time in about two years.

#16 More than 20 percent of all children in the U.S. are living in poverty, and 49 million Americans are dealing with food insecurity.

#17 As I have written about previously, approximately 20 percent of all American families do not have a single member that is employed at this point.

#18 According to a recent Gallup survey, “Unemployment/Jobs” represents the number one concern for U.S. voters.

#19 After adjusting for inflation, median household income in the U.S. is now about 7 percent lower than it was in the year 2000.

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NuckingFuts's picture

What are they smoking, to think things are good?

Whatever it is, I can give you 19 reasons why I want some.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I own more gold than in 2008 and have no debts (other than monthly MasterCard).  Woe is me.  Hey, I don`t work, which is just as well because no one would hire me anyway.

boogerbently's picture

One out of every six men, 25 to 54......

You must be using the govt numbers.

SoberOne's picture

DoChen, maybe not a bad time to rack up some gold on the old cc's. If it comes down to it, you can always trade money for any fiat world-wide.  But of course, you know. ;)

cynicalskeptic's picture

Stop the endless pursuit of cheap labor (thanks to 'free trade') with the resulting 'productivity savings' going to a few top executives.


We've sent most of our manufacturing overseas followed by call centers and other 'support' jobs.  Everyone that retrained for jobs in computers was screwed when we offshored all those jobs to India and now we're sending accounting jobs there.  We COULD have insisted that all the banks and financial concerns taking TARP money BRING BACK the jobs they offshore, we could have done the same when bailing out GM..... but Nooooooooooo......

We also could have sent people to prison - like in the S&L meltdown - that would have opened up a slew of jobs.

FOFOA's picture

USA lost manufacturing because the rest of the world needs USD as reserve currency. This is the Triffin Dilemma. The only way for a real recovery in USA, the only way for USA to regain its manufacturing, is for the dollar to stop being the reserve currency.

Bernanke calls the trade deficit the "savings glut", which is probably true, unless all the other countries in the world have conspired for the USA to die a slow death from the lack of manufacturing jobs.

If countries stop saving in US dollars, what will be the reserve currency? In a multi-polar world, no currency will be strong enough to be the reserve currency. Instead what we will have is Freegold. Physical gold will become the reserve asset.

kowalli's picture

You got it wrong, no one wants USD, look for countries who said NO - it's Libya, Syria, Iraq and so on

USA pursued countries to take USD or they got bombarded or coup government or "sanctions" or some other shit...

FOFOA's picture

But there is no way for USA to force China, Russia, etc to take USD. When those rising powers decide to abandon the dollar, which is happening as I write, it's game over.

Remington IV's picture

Libya , Syria , Iraq .... hmmmmmm 

Good examples 

jeff montanye's picture

but sceptic is right about sending the banksters to jail (and reorganizing their not tbtf, insolvent institutions, like the fdic does routinely).  that would have been extremely helpful on a multitude of levels.

Australian Economist's picture

I think the problems run deeper than just off-shoring jobs. Fundamental change to the current financial and economic paradigm is need, but I don't know what.


As for sending people to prison, I agree. Extortion, fraud, theft, counter-fitting, these are crimes not not banking job descriptions.



strangewalk's picture

When I was teaching English at a university in Shanghai, I once asked my class if they were concerned that America's jobs had all been shipped off to China. "Not at all", came the unanimous response, "Screw the Americans!" Frankly, I was taken aback. I mean, where's the compassion?  

Rantabulous's picture

Depends on how you define at least a couple of your terms; eg 'we' and 'fix'.

If you mean 'we' as in our species - probably start with a few basic lessons in biology and physics, and maybe then broaden the discussion into cultural considerations where 'a good life' is not defined by what you own or earn.

If by 'fix', you mean, return to some previous state in the 20th century, then the answer is 'we cannot'. 'Fix' will be a new paradigm and the pain of the transition to it will depend on how hard people fight to define 'fix' as 'return to some previous state in the 20th century'.

I expect people will be prepared to fight very hard, and like some kind of global Easter Island part II, will be preparted to kill every living thing on Earth if they believe doing so will get it for them.

Personally, I am localising my efforts and knowledge and simplifying my life as rapidly as possible and introducing as much resiliency and redundancy as I can, as quickly as I can.

TeethVillage88s's picture

-WELL lets stop companies from Paying for Ratings for their own Financial Instruments or Organizations.

-Let's Rate Organizations Financially based on

A) Administrative Costs & Overhead
B) Looting Practices like buying companies, Leveraging them to the Hilt, Paying Dividends, then Laying off employees or closing the business (Vulture Capitalism)
C) If they Lay Off US Employees, Cut Benefits, Cut Wages
D) If Executives make huge compensation packages, Defer wages to make interest for years in Trust Accounts
E) Huge Perks, Expensive Offices, Fleet of Airplanes, Fleet of Autos, Company houses or mansions, company vacation homes, huge leisure travel billing, most expensive hotel billing

But just in case wait till I'm sure I'll never be an executive with these kinds of benefits lol

MrTouchdown's picture

#19 is bullshit (household income is affected by way too many variables to be used as a metric), but the rest are quite interesting.

TrustWho's picture

Demand is a function of Disposable Income. No money and no demand and even food stamps will stop in the long run. 

MrTouchdown's picture

There's little discernable difference between money and food stamps on the part of the user, but yeah eventually they will both run out.


That aside, HOUSEHOLD disposable income can fluctuate drastically depending on how many people live in the household and what their incomes look like. This makes it a poor metric. The author should use PER CAPITA disposable income instead.

TrustWho's picture

touchdown,...agree, PER CAPITA

Bosch's picture

#12.  Yes, we are making them better.  


Well, actually the Japanese & the Germans are. 

Crocodile's picture

Put a geiger counter to those autos-parts from Japan and the food from Califiornia.

Radiation Detector SOEKS 01M - Geiger Counter



Just saying; we like our Toyota's.

DIgnified's picture

You dont need 19 reasons.  The fact that they say the economy is good means theyre HP/MSNBC-watching dickheads.  That one fact in itself is ridicule-worthy. 

boozo's picture

Median income = exact mid-point in a set of incomes. This remains a fairly useful way to determine whether and by how much incomes, over all, are rising, falling or remaining steady.

TrustWho's picture

After adjusting for inflation, median household income in the U.S. is now about 7 percent lower than it was in the year 2000.

Income is the foundation for Demand. Falling demand causes recessions and leads to depressions no matter how much QE the Federal Reserve creates. This shows that Federal Reserve policy makes them "Reverse-Robin Hoods" of 21st century.

TabakLover's picture

Oh my!  Have you never heard of Ronnie Reagan, Patron Saint of the Supply Side?   Obvioulsy you need a visit from the ghost of economies past............ Larry Kudlow.

power_shift's picture

Welcome to the Truman Show Economy where everything is fake and scripted.

ebworthen's picture

#13 - Worse recovery than the Great Depression; we gave up our manufacturing base.  Food service is not production, and neither is paper pushing.  That is the most starkly depressing one I read, though all of them are.

deflator's picture

 #20 income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, health insurance taxes and countless other taxes are steadily rising as private sector is steadily contracting. 

 We have an economic model that basically says that debt can be extrapolated indefinitely into the future because resources and the technology that consumes them is limitless. I say, if there really is an infinite abundance of resources and technology and innovation will continue the past 150 years of persistent economic growth indefinitely into the future then why do we need to redistribute wealth? Why can't we simply distribute the abundance that governments insists that will forever be lower left to upper right on the chart of the past 150 years of persistent economic growth?

buzzsaw99's picture

#20 Fun With Dick and Jane. Bank robberies are a daily occurrence lately.

oklaboy's picture

#20. Barry is still preezie......

Riprake's picture

Hey, you know what the difference is between the McDonalds and the White House?

The one has a corporate-sponsored clown in it.

The other is a fast-food franchise.

ArmyofOne's picture

Stawks are up.  Its all fixed.  Haven't you read?

Van Halen's picture

Talk to any Obamabot and they'll tell you things are fantastic. And what's not fantastic will be fantastic after we just give Obama more time to correct the actions of Bush, Reagan, Nixon, Sarah Palin, the TEA Party, Conservatives, the Kock brothers, Catholics, Christians, the rich, Democracy, Capitalism, the United States, and western civilization.

TeethVillage88s's picture

Auto & Light Truck sales look fine to me this year:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/ALTSALES Light Weight Vehicle Sales: Autos & Light Trucks

2014-04: 15.959 Millions of Units per month for the last 12 months or so. But it took like 5 years to recover, lots of slack in the industry for 4 years.

Cymore Duttz's picture

"Auto & Light Truck sales look fine to me this year:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/ALTSALESLight Weight Vehicle Sales: Autos & Light Trucks

2014-04: 15.959 Millions of Units per month for the last 12 months or so. But it took like 5 years to recover, lots of slack in the industry for 4 years."

You are aware that GM alone has 800k of autos "sold" but sitting in parking lots waiting for a dealer to find a buyer. The Auto makers are similiarly making creative channel stuffing moves. The actual number of new cars sold to consumers is likely below 14 million and maybe below 13.5 million.  That is a difference of nearly 20% between reality and Wall Street numbers.

TeethVillage88s's picture

Yeah, I tried to squint at the chart, it seems to say monthly 14 mil X 12 months = 168 Mil per year.

I see federal reserve charts like this often usually they are quarterly and I catch the problem.

So figure 15/12 = 1.25 Mil per month over the last year (Approx)

Anyway 4 years of slack time is hard times and lots of waste.

orangegeek's picture

and now for something completely different, markets reach all time highs - again and again and again and again...

Mitch Comestein's picture

Interesting:  I clicked on the link for #15 and I got to some article at some unknown news org. or blog.  It had a link on it in order to read its more detailed research.  I click on that and it goes to a ZH story.  YOU HAVE TO WONDER ABOUT THE INTEGRITY OF THE STORY IF THE REFERENCES ARE CIRCULAR.


This article is anecdotal at best.  A lot of these points are old.  And by the way, two adults making 30K each can live a life in my town.  They can make less if they are getting health insurance from an employer.

justinjhayden's picture


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svc101's picture

Do not trust anything David Cay Johnston publishes.

cooky puss's picture

Yeah, foodstamps should have ben a #20 here, at least another curve (other than stock market) is on the rise :-)