Friday, December 16, 2011

When a Recession has actually become a Depression

You know, my daughters love the story of Cinderella.  Though this is a European fantasy, it has a distinctly American character.  Beautiful, under appreciated girl works hard for those who are undeserving; they beat her down mercilessly but they get their comeuppance by Cinderella landing the prince and becoming happy and rich. Most importantly, throughout any of the many, many incarnations of Cinderella (and I know there are hundreds because my 1st daughter has youtubed and watched EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM) she is uncomplaining, sweet, and gracious throughout all her trials; not even so much as yelling at her persecutors.

We americans believe if we just: (1) keep our heads down, (2) don't complain, (3) work hard, (4) do all the right things, (5) save and invest money wisely in the stock market, (6) goto a good college and study something that will bring in lots 'o money -  such as becoming a doctor, a lawyer, an architect, etc -  (7) buy an affordable all that and you will attain the american dream! Voila! The prince will carry you off from your burdensome difficulties and you will live in a castle in american suburbia, white picket fence and errythang'.  Jus' like I pictured it (a la Stevie Wonder).  But what we are finding is that student loan debt is stifling abilities of young people to start their lives (we're talking $50 - $250K to get through those masters and medical schools, and sometimes no job at the end). Dream(s) Delayed. John Corizine and his investment company just lost $1.6 BILLION of investor money, just lost it….don't know where it 'tis…Dream(s) Denied.  You bought the house, but now it's worth about half what you paid for it and you can't get out because no one will buy it and hey…you just lost your job or haven't been able to find one for oh about 1.5 YEARS. Dream(s) Defunct.

Paul Krugman just wrote an editorial in the NY Times that says let's just call a spade a spade:  

It’s time to start calling the current situation what it is: a depression. True, it’s not a full replay of the Great Depression, but that’s cold comfort. Unemployment in both America and Europe remains disastrously high. Leaders and institutions are increasingly discredited. And democratic values are under siege.

We ain't in no recession, we're really in a f****n depression. damn. Europe, you gave us the cinderella story, and now all of us westerners have lost the narrative...

Cue my song "Depression" from my just completed new album called.....wait for it..."Mommy, What's A Depression?" The words to the song go "...this life is hard, I'm just trying to get by, it's easier to fly…." I'm trying to give voice to the many, many people out there who can relate to this line....

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