The “Great Recession” officially ended in June of 2009. However, the last four years have provided precious little to show this. If you count those who have given up looking for work, the unemployment rate is still near where it was when the recovery supposedly began. How exactly can you claim an economic recovery has occurred when the economic situation of the populace at large has not seen it?
In recent months, the Federal Reserve has been saying all sorts of positive things about our supposed recovery. Economists, eager to believe the officials rather than the situation of the public, were apparently stunned when the Fed justified what the public had been saying all along, they have not yet experienced any recovery. The economy is weak. One Fed banker went as far as to state that the U.S. economy might be losing its 'mojo.' Of course, this resulted in all of us automatically becoming poorer as the value of the dollar in your wallet went down because of this announcement. After the initial two-part recovery effort that threw $1.5 trillion at the financial institutions which brought on the economic turmoil, and after an additional $1 trillion of ongoing investment over the last year, our economic leaders say we're not yet at a point where they can even begin to taper this ongoing $85 billion per month recovery effort? How exactly can you claim an economic recovery when, after four years, it remains strongly dependent on such a large recovery investment above and beyond normal government economic activity, when all of the evidence shows that, when the government finally does start weaning the financial institutions, it will adversely impact the market?
I'm afraid I just don't understand a “recovery” that consistently fails to improve the economic outlook for the populace at large. I don't understand a “recovery” where our largest financial institutions remain dependent on government support after receiving more than $2.5 trillion ($2,500,000,000,000) and report record profits. I don't understand a program of economic recovery that only focuses on helping businesses that employ half the working populace, leaving the other half dependent on their employers going further and further into debt to the half that received all of the assistance.
So, is there any good news in this?
Not really. In fact, the only really positive economic news that seems to be coming our way is that there will soon be many more people employed. Unfortunately, they will only be employed in temporary positions that will disappear as we head into 2014. We are heading into the holiday season, when large stores will hire temporary workers to cover the extra business they typically get. It is true that some of these positions tend to become permanent positions, but there is no guarantee of that so we'll just have to wait and see. What we can see right now is that at least some of these employers are not going to be taking on as many workers as they have in the past. Of course, there is still the ever present promise that the economy will “soon” have recovered enough to start tapering “QE3,” but everyone expects that interest rates will jump when that happens.
Is there any wonder that people are looking for whatever ways they can find, even what some would consider to be drastic measures, to minimize their bills?
What will it take for the U.S. economy to get its 'mojo' back? Increased, or even continued, government investment of trillions of dollars into financial institutions that are reporting record profits is not the answer. A completely, or even nearly completely, unfettered free-market that will simply allow giant corporations to crush local small businesses all across the country is not the answer.
The answer is a system that decentralizes power by empowering local communities. The answer is a system that increases the number of owners rather than the wealth of a small percentage of owners. The answer is a system where businesses are answerable to the local communities they serve instead of shareholders whose only interest in the business is the amount of profit to be gained. The answer is a system that is proven to promote innovation and can work on both small and large scale operations. The answer is a system that accepts that economics is subject to ethics and for which the phrase “it's not personal, it's just business” is an absurdity. The answer is a system that can correct the failures of Capitalism and Socialism by adopting business models that fill the needs and desires of the communities businesses serve. The answer is a system designed to serve the common good of society.
The answer is Distributism.