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Realistic expectations regarding economic recovery

By bergenfx ·
With the upcoming elections, a lot of ink is being spread about the state of the economy and the anger of the electorate over our government's failure at economic recovery.

Am I alone in this recollection ... Two years ago (in a couple of weeks) we were at the closest thing I have seen to economic panic than any other time in my life. I don't know where you were or what your perceptions were, but it seemed people were calling this the start of Great Depression 2.0. I watched helplessly as my plans for retirement were getting flushed. I happened to be visiting someone who sits on several Boards of Directors that fateful week, and he spent hours on the phone with other directors authorizing large-scale liquidation of paper assets as mandated in their by-laws based on catastrophic market signals. They had no choice. Over the ensuing months, leading economists were in universal agreement that the breadth of this recession could easily take us into 2012 and beyond.

So, it is 2010. Things are not back to 2007 levels, and probably never will be, but there has been a significant improvement. My retirement plan now only asks me to be creative, not desperate. The NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research) just confirmed what many analysts and economists have been saying for over a year: The recession ended (by the numbers) in the summer of last year. Corporate earnings have been making a steady climb up for awhile now. Most economic indicators are showing steady growth. The two dark spots that remain are housing and unemployment. Unemployment, of course is a lagging indicator. In this recession I expect it will lag longer than in other recessions, (FUD). Housing needs better consumer sentiment to get off its inert dime. It took several years of questionable fiscal practices to get us into this mess. Why should we assume we can just waltz out of it in a brief period?

My point being this ... Are we really being realistic, thinking that a recession so severe as to have us quaking in our boots two years ago, can so quickly be washed away? What may it have been like without intervention from Central Banks and without stimulus packages of the past two administrations? Are our expectations that we should be out of this by now realistic?

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