What If We're In A Depression But Don't Know It?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

If it isn't a Depression, it's a very close relative of a Depression.

Just for the sake of argument, let's ask: what if we're in a Depression but don't know it? How could we possibly be in a Depression and not know it, you ask? Well, there are several ways we could be in a Depression and not know it:

1. The official statistics for "growth" (GDP), inflation, unemployment, and household income/ wealth have been engineered to mask the reality

2. The top 5% of households that dominate government, Corporate America, finance, the Deep State and the media have been doing extraordinarily well during the past eight years of stock market bubble (oops, I mean boom) and "recovery," and so they report that the economy is doing splendidly because they've done splendidly.

I have explained exactly how official metrics are engineered to reflect a rosy picture that is far from reality.:

What's the Real Unemployment Rate? That's the Wrong Question September 14, 2016

Fun with Fake Statistics: The 5% "Increase" in Median Household Income Is Pure Illusion September 19, 2016

Here's Why Wages Have Stagnated--and Will Continue to Stagnate August 15, 2016

Could Inflation Break the Back of the Status Quo? August 5, 2016

What Happens When Rampant Asset Inflation Ends? August 4, 2016

Revealing the Real Rate of Inflation Would Crash the System August 3, 2016

Inflation Hidden in Plain Sight

I also also asked a series of questions that sought experiential evidence rather than easily gamed statistics for the notion that this "recovery" is more like a recession or Depression than an actual expansion:

If Everything Is So Great, How Come I’m Not Doing So Great? September 12, 2016

Rather than accept official assurances that we're in the eighth year of a "recovery," let's look at a few charts and reach our own conclusion. Let's start with the civilian labor force participation rate--the percentage of the civilian work force that is employed (realizing that many of the jobs are low-paying gigs or part-time work).

Does the participation rate today look anything like the dot-com boom that actually raised almost everyone's boat at least a bit? Short answer: No., it doesn't. Today's labor force participation rate is a complete catastrophe that can only be described by one word: Depression.

Wages as a percentage of GDP has been in a 45-year freefall that can only be described as Depression for wage earners:

Notice what happened when the Federal Reserve started blowing serial asset bubbles in 2000: GDP went up but wages went down. Is this a recession or depression? It's your call, but if you're the recipient of the stagnating wages, it's depressing.

Meanwhile, the top 5% who own most of the assets that have been bubbling higher have been doing great. The Depression is only a phenomenon of the bottom 95%:

Look at the rocket ship of corporate profits. What happened around 2001 to send corporate profits on a rocket ride higher? The Fed happened, that's what:

Here's the Fed balance sheet: to the moon!

Free money for financiers and corporations fueled the stock market buyback boom:

Which fueled the stock market bubble:

Is the economy in a Depression? Not if you're a corporate bigwig skimming vast gains from corporate buybacks funded by the Fed's free money for financiers.

But if you're a wage earner who's seen your pay, hours and benefits cut while your healthcare costs have skyrocketed--well, if it isn't a Depression, it's a very close relative of a Depression.

*  *  *

Recent interviews:

The Entire Economic System Is One Big Illusion (X22 Report) (37:41 min)

Optimizing Bad Policy Guaranteed to Fail (Financial Sense Newshour podcast) (24:35 min)

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Pumpkin's picture

Then you probably work for the MSM.

VinceFostersGhost's picture



The headlining store in my main mall is a fabric shop.


I'd believe a depression!


We use to have a Radio Shack.....not anymore.

drivenZ's picture

Malls are dead and it has nothing to do with the economy. 

VinceFostersGhost's picture



Nothing matters comrade......trust the propaganda.

Shocker's picture

People know we are in a depression, the question is do they care

Layoff List: http://www.dailyjobcuts.com


drivenZ's picture

there are always layoffs. even in economic booms. what's your point? 

JRobby's picture

We are in a depression. We know it and the GOV in it's gigantic lying mass knows it.

Rebuilding domestically and increasing exports is the only answer but policies continue to be persued and enacted to stifle that from happening.

Not hard to see what needs to change, and soon.


Chupacabra-322's picture

Arrests, Trials, convictions & Public Executions of the Elite / Policy makers then we can begin to rebuild in peace.

PavlovPup's picture

Because that worked so well for the French.

lima44's picture

no link, becauseof 2 reasons

they went too far so as to kill a father and a god

andthe goal was wrong / controlled

just asPutin says that USSR could have been reformed

and not destroyed, we need no revoluutions but evolution,

& in such context, trials must be;

if that's what you say, cool man.

I MISS KUDLOW's picture

you know your in a depression when the guy you put in the central bank at the top let you know ahead of time before office he studied the great depression and is an expert on it.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) I MISS KUDLOW Sep 23, 2016 7:30 PM

We have been in a depression since the 60s, made in Japan.


When they are moving up, it feels ok.

They crash we say depression.

Xatos's picture

The only difference between this depression and the last one, is that this one has its soup lines masked by EBT cards, funded by China. It's all a big illusion. Like the empty vault in Game of Thrones or Rome before they were caught diluting their coin.


It's all fake.

Offthebeach's picture

EBT?.....plus.Section 8 shelter tickets, cities and town with shelter motels, private food banks, people living in cars, vans, boats, abandonded buildings, parks, national forests, renting room, illegal basements..

How about makework jobs, 20+ solar plant scams, fed/state gove shovel jobs, ..."redevelopment projects to replace the failed devolment jobs.."

You take all the people not working, paid to not work, working at make work, and half of loco/state/fed useless (at best) jobs...all running on a world wide US/EU/JP/CHINA check kiting scheme....

Kidbuck's picture

Don't forget that if all the healthy slugs were kicked off the sore back and sore butt hole bragade, unemployment would triple.

aliens is here's picture

Don't believe in everything you read. No everybody is flocking to amazon. 

Jon Bong Jovi's picture

I've been in retail for 30+ years as an owner/operator. My August sales haven't been this bad since 2008, and I see no catalyst for growth. People point to the internet, but my online sales have fuckin' tanked too. 

These fuckers are cooking the books and skewing the numbers. My sales more or less tracked the establishment numbers pretty much lock step until the end of GB2's presidency. They totally went off the rails when Obama took office.

It's all BS. Fuck these assholes.

AnngeloJamaica's picture

The all new partimers that Obama created with Obamcare is greatful for  your contribution.  

Now it is time to remove the internet from the US control and ship it overseas like clinton did with nafta.

Do you see the pattern?  

rubiconsolutions's picture

Take EBT cards and unemployment benefits away then ask yourself if there's a depression. 

Badsamm's picture

If the 48 million Americans accepting food stamps had to wait in line for their meal, the world would wake up real fast.

SillySalesmanQuestion's picture

The many who are unaware that we've been in a depression, are the ones who watch, listen and believe the MSM's lies and propaganda.

new game's picture

thanks charles! you have fulfilled my doom porn quotent for the day.

ISEEIT's picture

Collectively, they're known as 'progressives'.

venturen's picture

they better start building better saferooms in those mansions

kizell's picture

This is how we will receive a depression in the 21st century.....in total denial. 

BabaLooey's picture
"We ARE In A Depression But Only 1% aren't"



TeamDepends's picture

Well, let's see. Twenty five percent unemployment? Check. Soup kitchens/bread lines (EBT)? Check. Yep, this is a depression for the little people.

MaxMax's picture

Talk  to any small business owner, and they know we have been in a depression since 2006.  It has been F**KING 10 years now, and I have been hearing about green shoots, QE1, QE2, QE Twist, zero or negative interest ratees, dropping labor participation rate, white male life expectancy dropping, cash for clunkers, soaring health care costs, soaring education costs, increasing property taxes, offshoring jobs, kids graduating college with debt, no job and unable to start families,,,  Anybody with 2 damn brain cells know we are in a bad place.

Philo Beddoe's picture

Once people are sleeping in train cars and the EBT stops to flow it will be a depression. People (most)are too pussified to survive a real one. 

buzzsaw99's picture

people who are in a depression know it. there are, however, a great number who will be in a depression shortly but are currently blissfully unaware.

Bill of Rights's picture

Well looking at the TV ratings the last few years Id say most are not watching the MSM and many know exactly whats going on. Of course you have your true believers, but those people can now be written off as mentally deficient individuals and are pretty much on ignore.


Fact is if you are a true believer I would be changing my ways and quick as you will NOT survive the coming shit storm, people like Million Dollar Bonus will be laughed at and shunned.

Whoa Dammit's picture

Heh, before reading the article, I had planned to say that we have been in a depression since the tech bubble burst. And the first chart proves it.  

new game's picture

The Fed happened, circa 1913. 4.52 trillion and counting. w/o moar debt the fed and their mandate goes dead as in dead money w/o a payor via moar debt. just a ponzi with a whole lota complication.

Vichy Chicago's picture

I've been in pay freezes more often than not since the dot-com bust, and an active participant in the escaping-the-next-round-of-layoffs.

Of course, I just described most people.

zippy_uk's picture

"Every day, in every way, I am getting wealthier.

 Every day, in every way, I am getting wealthier.

 Every day, in every way, I am getting wealthier.

 Every day, in every way, I am getting wealthier.

 Every day, in every way, I AM getting wealthier...?"

VinceFostersGhost's picture



Obviously you're not buying the state sponsored healthcare.

zippy_uk's picture

Its sarcasim based on the BBC Tv Series Some Mothers Do have them. Its what (tweaked quote) Frank Spencer (a comedic moron) says after creating mayhem at the end of the episode. Sorry if it does not translate.

Watermelon's picture

We need good men to be wealthier.

Watermelon's picture

We need good men to be wealthier.

Watermelon's picture

We need good men to be wealthier.

Watermelon's picture

We need good men to be wealthier.

Watermelon's picture

We need good men to be wealthier.

Watermelon's picture

We need good men to be wealthier.

Watermelon's picture

We need good men to be wealthier.

VarenneRiver's picture

Just don't pull it until I can see Ireland one more time. Or Texas. 

SuperRay's picture

We all already know it. You'd have to be a brainwashed leftist moron not to know it.

Dg4884's picture

My wife USED to say I was crazy cause I started stacking silver back in 2013.  Then started ammo'ing up, and eventually bought a couple acres in the NC mtns.  NOW, she is on to me about getting moar heirloom seeds, and do we need moar silver?  I was late to the game in putting my plan in action, but said farewell to season tickets and other niceties to get where we are at now. 

These (they, them) fucks are dangerous, and could care less about who reamains after this SHTF, as long as they are programmable and can produce a day's labor.  Good luck all and keep stacking the good stuff.  We are going to need it.

SimmerDown's picture

We are most definately in a depression veiled only by fiat money. Strip that away and gone are the social welfare programs that hide most of it.

mendigo's picture

Does that labor force participation chart include undocumented and h1b?

Lets face it  Theres been a change of plans and youre not in them.