Dep’t of Corrections
August 21, 2019 8:54 AM   Subscribe

The U.S. federal government issued revisions to some key economic indicators this morning: First, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised its job growth figures for the past year downward by about 500,000 jobs, the largest revision since 2009. Second, the Congressional Budget Office adjusted its projection of the budget deficit in 2019 upwards by $63 billion, for a total of $960 billion, while noting that interest rates remaining lower than expected over the next decade could make up some of the difference. Third, the CBO also estimated that Trump’s planned tariffs could render U.S. GDP 0.3% lower than projected in 2019.
posted by sallybrown (77 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
Surely this balloon full of hot air, deregulation, xenophobic trade policy, and tax cuts for the superrich can't deflate.
posted by benzenedream at 9:16 AM on August 21, 2019 [52 favorites]


I'm honestly a bit surprised that any U.S. governmental agency is still allowed to publicly disseminate information that may give the impression that King Trump's policies are anything but the greatest maneuvers in the history of politics and economics.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:21 AM on August 21, 2019 [35 favorites]


Why bother when he and anyone who still supports him will just dismiss anything they don't like as fake news?
posted by Reyturner at 9:27 AM on August 21, 2019 [12 favorites]


Why bother...?

because that's defeatist and unhelpful? only 30% of voters are true believers and turnout can shift that downwards
posted by kokaku at 9:31 AM on August 21, 2019 [30 favorites]


I took that as "Why should Trump bother to censor the government agencies," not "why should we bother to say or do anything about it."
posted by Four Ds at 9:33 AM on August 21, 2019 [29 favorites]


Check out the somewhat alarming "Goods-producing employment" chart in this NYT article. This is one measure of blue collar employment growth and is now lower than almost any year during the Obama presidency.
posted by gwint at 9:39 AM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Note that there's an autoplay video of the asshole in previous link.
posted by TrialByMedia at 9:41 AM on August 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


I'm honestly a bit surprised that any U.S. governmental agency is still allowed to publicly disseminate information

There's no one in the White House to tell them not to.

Seriously. Rank-and-file civil servants will continue doing their jobs as long as they're permitted to, and more than two and a half years in the Trump admin still doesn't have its shit together enough to even be aware of most of what the government that it's ostensibly leading does. The fact that so many parts of the federal government just keep doing their jobs in the absence of leadership means Trump and his hangers-on get to continue reacting to their actions. This is what lets them continue their narrative of persecution, conspiracy, and there being a "swamp" in "Washington" despite the fact that they have the power to prevent information like this from being disseminated if they choose to.
posted by biogeo at 9:45 AM on August 21, 2019 [46 favorites]


There's no one in the White House to tell them not to.

Counterpoint: After Trump blames mental illness for mass shootings, health agencies ordered to hold all posts on issue. All NIH and HHS social media posts related to mental health, violence or other topics associated with mass shootings are now reviewed by political appointees before posting.
posted by peeedro at 9:52 AM on August 21, 2019 [20 favorites]


I would rather the political appointees busy themselves monitoring social media posts than meddle in the substantive work career employees are doing. There are definitely signs that some appointees are making inroads in various agencies, but it seems like that’s only the ones who take the initiative themselves. A lot of them are as consumed by their own press mentions as Trump.
posted by sallybrown at 9:55 AM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


There's no one in the White House to tell them not to.

Someone I'm close to is a long-time employee of a smallish federal agency and they've said that no one from the administration has ever checked in with them. Their budget hasn't gotten cut so they just keep doing what they're doing.
posted by octothorpe at 9:58 AM on August 21, 2019 [38 favorites]


Someone I'm close to is a long-time employee of a smallish federal agency and they've said that no one from the administration has ever checked in with them. Their budget hasn't gotten cut so they just keep doing what they're doing.

Without going into too much detail, a place I used to work for gets a lot of federal funding to do work that Trump would certainly strongly oppose for about ten separate reasons... but most of the money technically comes from a law enforcement agency's budget, so as far as I know nobody has tried to cut them off.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:06 AM on August 21, 2019 [16 favorites]


biogeo said most of what I was going to say far more eloquently, so I'll just add that even if Trump's most loyal political appointees wanted to cook the books, they'd have difficulty getting worker drones in the so-called "deep state" to go along, potentially facing the prospect of being called to testify on Capitol Hill if the interference is discovered.

This is particularly true when much of what they're reporting can be inferred by / checked against other economic data that the feds don't control, minimizing the amount of fudging that can be done without getting caught. I can imagine the administration getting away with some bigger lies about other aspects of domestic policy, but the finance industry is so titanic that the feds probably couldn't get away with much lying unless the big Wall Street players were read into the program.

From my vantage point as someone who works closely with government agencies, folks are continuing to do their jobs, and just trying to dodge most of the BS coming from the WH.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:07 AM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


Counterpoint: After Trump blames mental illness for mass shootings, health agencies ordered to hold all posts on issue. All NIH and HHS social media posts related to mental health, violence or other topics associated with mass shootings are now reviewed by political appointees before posting.

That mode didn't work out so well for Trump's pals the Russians.
posted by Gelatin at 10:12 AM on August 21, 2019


I also think you might see less hesitancy from the CBO to call the deficit correctly because they can blame Congress for the budget deficit, so it’s not as cleanly a Trump mistake as the tariffs are. The job growth figures do have me scratching my head, though.
posted by sallybrown at 10:18 AM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]




robbyrobs: "Rooting for a Recession Is Dangerous—Especially Under Trump"

Bill Maher is a Democrat?
posted by octothorpe at 10:37 AM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


Trump's starting to make noise about doing a tax holiday on the payroll tax (FICA) to help bump-up the economy. Nice idea, until you realize FICA directly funds Social Security, and the last thing the SS fund needs is a drop in funding. Unless, y'know, you want to further undermine SS, and push it into irrecoverable insolvency.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:38 AM on August 21, 2019 [23 favorites]


The government would have to appropriate money to make up the contributions shortfalls to SS and Medicare. This would be another nail in the nation's fiscal coffin, of course.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 10:43 AM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Build and bulk out your Mutual Aid support networks now
posted by The Whelk at 10:45 AM on August 21, 2019 [17 favorites]


Rooting for a Recession Is Dangerous—Especially Under Trump

for the love of FUCK I am just finally now in the home stretch of recovering from the LAST recession and you're telling me that there are people who are hoping we have ANOTHER one????
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:46 AM on August 21, 2019 [24 favorites]


I'm honestly a bit surprised that any U.S. governmental agency is still allowed to publicly disseminate information that may give the impression that King Trump's policies are anything but the greatest maneuvers in the history of politics and economics.

The jobs report is a regular monthly release by the extremely independent Bureau of Labor Statistics. Any attempt by politicals to interfere or bias it would be met with a revolt by career staff. The key is that the BLS employment reports are released every month, using the same methodology, and they are just numbers, so any interference would be very obvious. (The same is true of regular reports by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.) There are many other government reports which are one-off and reflect judgment. It's the job of political staff to oversee and provide input on those, so it's less obvious when that oversight is inappropriate.

The second link is to a report by the Congressional Budget Office, which the President doesn't have control over; it's also nonpartisan.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:49 AM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


Bill Maher is a Democrat?

Always has been. Don't count me surprised until someone calls him a "progressive."
posted by explosion at 10:54 AM on August 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


Rooting for a recession is the most callous, asinine position one could take. Aside from the immediate, disastrous effects it would have on the non-rich, it would allow the wealthy to amass even more resources and concentrate it in even fewer hands. The option to say "see, Trump sucks at business" isn't even remotely worth it. That's psychopathic kind of thinking.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:05 AM on August 21, 2019 [14 favorites]


Is anyone actually cheering for a recession other than Bill Maher? That article offers zero examples of such a thing other that that one asshat comedian.
posted by octothorpe at 11:12 AM on August 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


Other than Maher (who is such an asshat) is anyone actually rooting for a recession? I mean I've seen a pile of right wing blogs and news sites claim that the "Dems and other Trump-haters" are being super disloyal and rooting for it, and I've seen a few reporters and talking heads talking about how dangerous it is to root for one... but is anyone actually (again other then Maher the asshat) doing so?

Every article I've read has been fairly frank about how bad it would be but how it's looking more and more likely. Reporting on reality is a fair bit different than hoping for it to turn out that way.
posted by cirhosis at 11:18 AM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


I thought Maher claimed to be a libertarian at one point.
posted by Selena777 at 11:18 AM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm not cheering for a recession but I think one is inevitable, due to 1) recent unstable actions, especially concerning trade policy and 2) the very nature of capitalism and the boom-and-bust cycle that is intrinsic to the capitalist system.

There will be terrible pain coming, and the only hope is that Americans get wise and change to a better system of allocating resources. We have a chance to socialize housing, health care, and the workforce, forever putting them beyond the reach of stock-traders and venture capitalists. If we must have a recession, we might as well make all this suffering worth something.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:19 AM on August 21, 2019 [15 favorites]


I’m sad this arrived too late to make it into the FPP: Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Is an Economic Indicator: “The social media frenzy over the new chicken sandwich at Popeyes shows the success of one classic play: introduce an iconic new menu item, and charge more for it. . . . two iconic burgers in the fast-food industry -- Burger King's Whopper and the McDonald's Big Mac -- were both introduced during times of low unemployment like we have today.“
posted by sallybrown at 11:27 AM on August 21, 2019 [11 favorites]


I'm not cheering for it -- with current economic leadership it would be a giant black hole -- but a recession would be the only reason the rich won't vote the Dumpster Fire right back into office.

The oligarchs are already raiding the country and the rest of us (and I suspect in ways we won't even find out for years yet). The only hope is to oust their enabler.
posted by Dashy at 11:31 AM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yeah... the dichotomy isn't a recession happening versus trade wars actually being easy to win and all of Trump &co.'s incompetent fumbling being consequence-free, it's a recession now versus a recession later.

If we didn't escape from systemic financial woes in the 90s when people were breathlessly saying, "maybe the economic growth will never stop!" we sure as hell haven't escaped from all that now.

I don't have to wish for a recession itself to wish that the pendulum swings might line up in opposition to plutocracy and fascism—rather than lining up to reinforce them—while we still have some measure of democracy for it to matter.
posted by XMLicious at 11:33 AM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


for the love of FUCK I am just finally now in the home stretch of recovering from the LAST recession and you're telling me that there are people who are hoping we have ANOTHER one????

It's not like I'm happy at the idea, but without one, the odds are that Trump's going to be reelected. A recession, so the thinking goes, is the one thing at this point that might cut into his approval rating in the crucial states.

Of course most likely we're going to have a recession AND a reelected Trump, but at this point people are grasping for straws.
posted by happyroach at 11:36 AM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


a recession would be the only reason the rich won't vote the Dumpster Fire right back into office.

Reminder: support for Trump isn't limited to "the rich." In the 2016 election, he got about 42% of the vote of people with income below $50,000, and between 48% and 50% for the various income groups above $50,000.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:38 AM on August 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


~for the love of FUCK I am just finally now in the home stretch of recovering from the LAST recession and you're telling me that there are people who are hoping we have ANOTHER one????

~It's not like I'm happy at the idea, but without one, the odds are that Trump's going to be reelected. A recession, so the thinking goes, is the one thing at this point that might cut into his approval rating in the crucial states.

~Of course most likely we're going to have a recession AND a reelected Trump, but at this point people are grasping for straws.


My theory is we won't get a recession unless it's crystal clear that Trump isn't going to be re-elected. Trashing the economy and putting it on the back of an incoming Democratic administration to fix (and be blamed for 24-7 by republicans) is kind of a traditional part of the conservative playbook.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:55 AM on August 21, 2019 [23 favorites]


Bill Maher is a Democrat?

Always has been. Don't count me surprised until someone calls him a "progressive."


Nope. He considers himself an independent libertarian progressive. He will openly support Democratic politicians and has donated to Democratic PACs but he doesn't consider himself a Democrat.
posted by srboisvert at 12:00 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Who even cares if some powerless people want or don't want a recession? It's not like they have any control over it. Tell me what the powerful people are doing and whether they want or are causing a recession.
posted by srboisvert at 12:05 PM on August 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


a crash is inevitable; it is neither our job to cheer for it or pretend it's not coming.

our job is to turn the crash into the revolution. if in 2020-2021 we get a replay of 2008-2009 we must militate for the state to not just bail out the failed private institutions, but actually seize and the nationalize them. we must become so unruly and unmanageable that the powers that be start to think of democratic socialism as actually more palatable than the alternatives we will set for them.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:12 PM on August 21, 2019 [40 favorites]


jeez all I ask is that the recession hold off until I either get a different job or I pay off my debt completely PLEASE GOD THAT IS ALL I ASK
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:16 PM on August 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


The Google Trends graph for "recession" is interesting. There's a sharp bump at the beginning of 2008, just three months after the Dow hit an all-time high. Also, it seems people don't Google recession-related stuff in the summertime.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:17 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


I got laid off because of the last recession. The bank pulled the credit that the start-up that I worked for used for payroll with zero notice. They had to sack 1/2 of the 200 person company in two days. That was the day before the '08 election and I had taken the day off to campaign for Obama and got a call from my boss saying that I need to come in and clean out by office.
posted by octothorpe at 12:33 PM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


Other than Maher (who is such an asshat) is anyone actually rooting for a recession? I mean I've seen a pile of right wing blogs and news sites claim that the "Dems and other Trump-haters" are being super disloyal and rooting for it, and I've seen a few reporters and talking heads talking about how dangerous it is to root for one... but is anyone actually (again other then Maher the asshat) doing so?

To a large extent I think that, yet again, it's the right wing media projecting. Republicans made the recovery from the financial crisis as difficult as possible, purely for political reasons because they didn't want Obama to succeed (while it was obvious back then, I believe Tim Alberta's new book has some new material on this). So of course right wingers would think the left would do the same -- total projection.
posted by odin53 at 12:42 PM on August 21, 2019 [13 favorites]


It's not like I'm happy at the idea, but without one, the odds are that Trump's going to be reelected. A recession, so the thinking goes, is the one thing at this point that might cut into his approval rating in the crucial states.

I think a recession would bode very poorly for Trump's reelection chances... but Trump is doing poorly enough that he's not the favored candidate even if we don't have a recession. His net approval is currently at -12, which is lower than any other modern president at this point in his term except Carter. He does poorly in head-to-head matchups against most Dem front-runners. I'm not sure where people get the idea that he's probably going to win.
posted by Jpfed at 1:11 PM on August 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


I'm not sure where people get the idea that he's probably going to win.

Because his campaign is raising a lot of money. And because he cheats.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:16 PM on August 21, 2019 [39 favorites]


Because it shouldn't have happened the first time, and now we live in a twilight zone.
posted by Dashy at 1:18 PM on August 21, 2019 [48 favorites]



I'm not sure where people get the idea that he's probably going to win.
Because his campaign is raising a lot of money. And because he cheats.


And because the people his policies hurt aren't the people who vote, historically.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:22 PM on August 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


Bill Maher is a high status idiot who likes attention and thinks he is way smarter than he is.

I am wondering if the people who are really worried about the next recession have lived through many of them or are just really anchored around the financial crisis of 2008-2009. God knows that there are scary storm clouds on the horizon but a fall in GDP for 2 quarters does not necessarily mean financial disaster on the order of 2008-9 and following years.
posted by Pembquist at 1:24 PM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


The thing that worries me most is the team of clowns - Kudlow, and Powell, who has seemed to follow public demand for low interest rates, leaving the Fed no room to lower them substantially.

This is concerning: Fed rates
posted by Dashy at 1:34 PM on August 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


One of my favorite books in high school was How to Lie With Statistics, a thin volume that humorously explained statistical manipulation and I never trusted an economic statistic since. It was clear to me that the government started working to minimize the unemployment numbers in the Reagan years and once they redefined categories to put a few million people in "not employed but not unemployed", I started multiplying the unemployment rate by 1.5, adding another fraction with each new President. Trump has brought my "reality multiplier" well over 3.

As for "hoping for a recession", I have my doubts as to the veracity of all reports that there has been a true recovery from 2008-2009, except for the Stock Market. A 2008-style collapse of the Markets would be preferable in the next few months when it would be easier to put in place elected officials who can make real fixes to the economy than later when the Trumpist-Republicans could use it to regain power the way they mostly undid Obama's halfway efforts in 2010.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:44 PM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


Someone I'm close to is a long-time employee of a smallish federal agency and they've said that no one from the administration has ever checked in with them.

The federal agency I was doing some temp work for at the time didn't get a call from the Trump transition team until mid-December. You've probably heard of the Department of Defense.
posted by Etrigan at 1:46 PM on August 21, 2019 [35 favorites]


...or are just really anchored around the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

Why so flip? 2008-09 hurt a lot of people. A lot of retirement plans were handed a setback, which was even more painful if you were close to the usual retirement years. To say people are “anchored” to the crisis really demeans some very legitimate fears. God knows, with this asshat in the White House, there’s really no telling how badly he could torpedo the economy. He certainly seems hell-bent on doing as much damage to it as possible.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:49 PM on August 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


I am wondering if the people who are really worried about the next recession have lived through many of them or are just really anchored around the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

The previous, milder recession was 2000, ~20 years ago. I'll argue that the people who truly experience recessions are the money-earning, self/family-supporting, rent/mortgage-paying set, 25 or older. So, roughly and lumpily, people younger than 45 or 50 really only experienced 2008 as a recession in their adult lifetimes.

Every recession is different, but if 2008 is your main basis for comparison .... yeah, it's pretty rational to worry pretty hard.
posted by Dashy at 2:04 PM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


I'm not sure where people get the idea that he's probably going to win.
Because his campaign is raising a lot of money. And because he cheats.


And because there's a good chance Biden will be the Democratic candidate.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 2:07 PM on August 21, 2019 [11 favorites]


The thing that worries me most is the team of clowns - Kudlow, and Powell, who has seemed to follow public demand for low interest rates, leaving the Fed no room to lower them substantially.

Jacking up interest rates (upon what this revision would put as a middling to decent economy) to help during a future recession seems crazy, considering that higher interest rates constrain the economy and can cause a recession if they go too high too fast. Not only that, very few people are helped by high interest rates and many many more are helped by low interest rates.

The Fed also has tools other than messing with interest rates, and they should learn to make use of them.
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:10 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Not only that, the Fed basically uses high interest rates to constrain middle American wages, and since they haven't risen (the businessman also has many tools to constrain middle American wages and does use them) there is no reason for the Fed to raise interest rates.
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:14 PM on August 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


Every elected Republican president going back to Lincoln has had a recession/depression begin during his term of office. (Ford didn't, but he wasn't elected. The results on Trump are pending).
Four out of the last five Democratic presidents have not had no recession begin during their term of office. (Of course, Obama inherited one).

Republicans fundamentally suck at the economy. Their methods of high military spending, no oversight on financial matters, tax breaks for the wealthy, and raising the deficit, do not stimulate the economy. They have failed over and over at this.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:58 PM on August 21, 2019 [31 favorites]


I'm not cheering for a recession, but I am planning for one. If only because every indicator that one is long overdue has been buzzing and hooting and flashing so loudly it is a wonder anyone can get any sleep.

The fact that Kudlow drunkenly slurs that there is no sign a recession is approaching means absolute metaphysical certitude that there will be one. I mean, look at his track record.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 3:36 PM on August 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


Ok, but specifically how does one prepare? Pile up cash? Put everything in carrot futures?
posted by aramaic at 3:55 PM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Ok, but specifically how does one prepare? Pile up cash? Put everything in carrot futures?

Build and bulk out your Mutual Aid support networks now
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:57 PM on August 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


...which means what, exactly? Presumably there’s something written that doesn’t just repeat itself on the topic?
posted by aramaic at 4:17 PM on August 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


I am wondering if the people who are really worried about the next recession have lived through many of them or are just really anchored around the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

I spent THREE YEARS in either un- or under-employment, racking up credit card debt in the five figures to supplement unemployment insurance. And then that left a subsequent ding on my employment record, leaving me less likely to maintain a job for the next seven years afterward; which made it all the harder to pay down that debt.

Two years ago I finally was in a place where i could start making headway against that, and I am spending 40 hours a week of my life in a job I absolutely LOATHE, simply because it will bring me to complete debt freedom in less than a year. It is costing me the mental energy to keep up with the things I actually want to do with my life. I am actively looking for another job, but it is hard to pitch ones' self for a job with a resume like mine and being at the age I am at. I am nearing the age of fifty and feel like I am running out of time and wasting my life and my talents.

I am in this place COMPLETLEY AND ENTIRELY because the thing that sent me into that three year span of unemployment in the first place was the 2008 recession.

YOU BET YOUR ASS I am scarred by the 2008 recession and worried about that happening again, because this past decade has nearly KILLED ME, and the only reason it hasn't is sheer force of will and the fervent desire that my suffering has GOT to one day be lifted. Another recession will only teach me that no, it won't, I am just going to get knocked down yet again.

One of these days I am afraid I will get knocked down and lose the will to get back up.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:36 PM on August 21, 2019 [50 favorites]


Another recession is inevitable, but the timing is still unknown. It could be this year or next year or after that. Historically the country is overdue—this is the longest expansion on record.

The Great Recession of 2008 was a particularly bad downturn (several of my friends lost their homes), second only to the the Great Depression in the modern era (last 120 years). So the severity of the next recession is likely to be *not* nearly as bad as the last one. We can only hope.
posted by haiku warrior at 6:35 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


FYI: If you don't include the keyword #potus45 to your post it doesn't appear in the right column under US Politics links.
posted by xammerboy at 6:46 PM on August 21, 2019


I mean, it costs about $800,000 here to buy a house that's 35km away from the city, and the people equate "house prices going down" with "recession" and that's what it may take to get more affordable housing, honestly... prices can't keep rising at this crazy rapid pace forever, something has got to give.

You cold probably hedge your bets against a recession occurring within the next 1-2 years (read up about the inverted yield curve and how it's happening now). What can you do? Probably deleverage, hold a bit more cash - no point holding stocks or property for the extra 3% yield per year when a recession could wipe 50% of it away, and then pick up stocks and property during the downturn for cheap.
posted by xdvesper at 7:32 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Why so flip? 2008-09 hurt a lot of people. A lot of retirement plans were handed a setback, which was even more painful if you were close to the usual retirement years. To say people are “anchored” to the crisis really demeans some very legitimate fears.

I am not being flip, I am using anchoring as a term of cognitive bias, it should not be considered demeaning or judgmental. The 2008 crisis was as bad as 1929. All though the recession was not as bad as the depression it clearly has left financial and emotional scars on many people. I ask because the level of fear that some express suggests that the meaning of recession for many is synonymous with a credit crisis and banking system failure which is not what the word means. I have been aware of 6 recessions since 1973 and there particular kinds of malaise have shaped how I imagine the next one will be and I don't have a strong fear of it, (nor really any sense of its particular severity,) and I wondered if that is down to having experienced a variety of them.

On the other hand while the financial impact of another inevitable recession isn't by itself too frightening what is frightening is what the political impact of it will be given how fucked up and fragile our country is right now.
posted by Pembquist at 10:16 PM on August 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


I absolutely know Trump haters who hope a recession starts well before the election. For people who believe we're above trend growth and that the business cycle still exists, this is roughly the same as believing we're due a recession in the next 2-3 years and if it's going to hit, they rather see it hit now when Trump will take the blame.
posted by mark k at 10:20 PM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


...which means what, exactly? Presumably there’s something written that doesn’t just repeat itself on the topic?

Do More Than Vote

Solidarity Not Charity

Everyone is going to have to be responsible for everyone else, if that means offering to drive people, or doing food donation or cooking nights, or offering childcare or checking up on people, that’s what it means. My husband has put up his services as an electrical engineer to anyone in the building who needs something repaired rather then buy new - I keep the building’s free book shelf running and the message board tidy and updated with notices on the free senior food program, locations of greengrocer markets and donation sites, and the free ESL programs the library runs. A lot of what my comrades have been doing in mutual aid work recently has revolved around ICE, but we’re also trying to make sure people know their rights with the new tenant laws.

Similarly, a lot of people work with incarcerated people, via bail bond funds or Books Through Bars, since these are typically the most mistreated and exploited people in our system. Another person I know just ..gives food away. She has a small allotment for easy vegetables and works it as a hobby, she doesn’t need the food to live so she gives it all away. One of our Syracuse chapters does this in a more formal way with a pay what you want farmer’s market stall. For some people what mutual aid work looks like is through their church or union organization. One exciting development is free medical clinics or debt clinics to help people navigate the confusing and deliberately misleading paperwork involved. For some people it’s being available to show up in court so they don’t have to do that alone. Things are going to get very bad very soon so now is when you start talking to people and forming a support network.

The only way out of this is together.
posted by The Whelk at 1:43 AM on August 22, 2019 [15 favorites]


(1) Interest rates are going to be low indefinitely. The 2nd half of the 20th century was a historical aberration.
(2) The next recession will take the middle part of the income distribution that's mostly heavily leveraged and convert them into the bottom quarter that is mostly already in debt peonage.
(3) Climate originating risk events will start to overtake business cycles in terms of market movers.
(4) Stop believing in polling data, unless you own some Russians too.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 5:51 AM on August 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


Ok, but specifically how does one prepare? Pile up cash? Put everything in carrot futures?

The very best thing one can do is make sure your emergency fund is full. The EF should be able to pay your basic expenses (rent/mort, food, health ins, car, etc) for 6-12 months. It should be in cash, not invested. It is not the fund you use for daily expenses, and it is not the fund you buy a new car or vacation with. It is the set-aside fund that protects you from much worse losses and bigger expenses (foreclosure, repossession, having to move) if you lose your job. It might sound like a lot of money just sitting there ... but work on that. Yes, pile up cash. Cash is king.

Next-best, make sure you secure/get access to credit while the getting is good. This might mean a HELOC, or just enough space on credit cards. Because if you lose your job or if the house value goes down, you won't qualify to get that credit, and that's right when you might actually need it.

Further down, understand the behavioral risks of recession. If you have investments, get straight on your asset allocation (ratio of stocks to bonds), and know that part of your AA choice is that when values go down, don't touch it. Think through how it will feel when balances go down, and rehearse your reactions: this was expected, this will pass, don't change it now.

More on thinking through: pencil out what will happen if your income disappears. You'll need health insurance (or have to pay for COBRA). You'll need a network, or an idea of where the next job might be. Line up references. Check out training opportunities or certificates now. Know your monthly nut, and know where you can cut back quickly.

I apologize if I'm just repeating what's written down already.
posted by Dashy at 10:12 AM on August 22, 2019 [12 favorites]


Who the crap has the income to -save- 6-12 months of expenses WITH those things? I have a good job, a house, investments and some disposable income and no way I can manage that. Too much shit I'm paying off from the last goddamn recession.
posted by FritoKAL at 12:24 PM on August 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


for the love of FUCK I am just finally now in the home stretch of recovering from the LAST recession

me too. i am incredibly fearful of losing my job again and piling on another mountain of debt that will take me 10+ years to pay off. PTSD isn't the right word, but i have sooooooooo much PTSD from that recession and everything that happened to us because of it. and we didn't even lose our home!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:59 PM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Creating a cash reserve is good advice - a lot of middle class people who could easily create one don't.

A lot of people find it impossible to create a cash reserve because we've set up the economy to squeeze the hell out of low income earners, which keeps them too busy scrabbling to unionize or sharpen guillotines.
posted by benzenedream at 2:55 PM on August 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


“Here’s Some Actually Useful Information To Help You Prepare For A Recession,” Venessa Wong, BuzzFeed News, 22 August 2019
posted by ob1quixote at 3:36 PM on August 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


no one roots for a recession. this is just some "anti-fascists are the real fascists" level of bullshit to paint dissent as disloyal when the government trips over its own feet
posted by eustatic at 7:03 PM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]




Vanity Fair: Trump Has Told Friends That Gutting Medicare Could Be a Fun “Second-Term Project”
On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office said that the federal deficit will reach $960 billion for the 2019 fiscal year, which ends September 30, and breach the $1 trillion mark in 2020. Previously those figures were expected to come in at $896 billion and $892 billion, respectively, but the damage from the president’s tariffs, along with a sharp falloff in revenue thanks to the 2017 tax cuts, have caused deficit projections to rise faster than expected.[…]

But while the nonpartisan CBO has placed the blame squarely on things like the trade war and tax cuts, Republicans—the ones who spent eight years under Obama screaming about fiscal responsibility and bankrupting our grandchildren—have an idea for how to deal with the situation that doesn’t involve taking tax cuts away from the wealthy or reeling in Tariff Man:
Conservative groups—which largely supported Mr. Trump’s tax cuts—have pushed Congress to cut future deficits by reducing benefits for federal health care and retirement programs, like Medicare and Social Security. “Something must be done soon,” the conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks said in a news release on Wednesday, “and that means taking a hard look at mandatory spending, the root cause of the United States’ fiscal woes.”
While Republicans do not expect Trump to push for cuts while campaigning for reelection, they’ve apparently encouraged him to do so should he win a second term—a proposition to which President “I’m not going to cut Social Security, I’m not going to cut Medicare” has reportedly been receptive. “We’ve got to fix that,” Senator John Thune, the number two Republican in the Senate, told the Times. “It’s going to take presidential leadership to do that, and it’s going to take courage by the Congress to make some hard votes. We can’t keep kicking the can down the road. I hope in a second term, he is interested,” Thune said of Trump. “With his leadership, I think we could start dealing with that crisis. And it is a crisis.” Republicans, said Senator John Barrasso, who seems to regularly chat with the president, have “brought it up with President Trump, who has talked about it being a second-term project.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:29 PM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


I had posted above about a recession starting during every elected Republican presidency going back to Lincoln, the not-quite exception being Ford, who wasn't elected. Thinking about this some more, I wondered if I remembered correctly. (This was from numbers I had personally run.) Specifically, I thought, Garfield was in office six months. Did a recession start during those six months.

So I redid the analysis. The dates for the recessions are from the National Bureau for Economic Research. The dates for presidencies can be found on a lot of sites.

Whether recession started during their term of office.

D. Trump (R). Pending.
B. Obama (D)
Inherited a recession, then 7 years 7 months recession free.
G. W. Bush (R)
Mar 2001–Nov 2001
Dec 2007–June 2009
W. Clinton (D)
8 years no recession.
G. Bush (R)
July 1990–Mar 1991
R. Reagan (R)
July 1981–Nov 1982
J. Carter (D)
Jan 1980–July 1980
G. Ford (R)
Inherited a recession then 22 months recession free.
R. Nixon (R)
Dec 1969–Nov 1970
Nov 1973–Mar 1975
L. B. Johnson (D)
5 years, 2 months - no recession.
J. F. Kennedy (D)
Inherited a recession, then 32 months recession free.
D. Eisenhower (R)
July 1953–May 1954
Aug 1957–April 1958
Apr 1960–Feb 1961
H. Truman (D)
Nov 1948–Oct 1949
F. D. Roosevelt (D)
May 1937–June 1938
Feb 1945–Oct 1945
H. Hoover (R)
Aug 1929–Mar 1933
C. Coolidge (R)
(Inherited a recession, then, later:)
Oct 1926 – Nov 1927
W. Harding (R)
(Inherited a recession, then, later:)
May 1923 – June 1924
W. Wilson (D)
(Inherited a recession, then, later:)
Aug 1918 – March 1919
Jan 1920 – July 1921
W. Taft (R)
Jan 1910 – Jan 1912
Jan 1913–Dec 1914
(Two recessions starting but only one term)
T. Roosevelt (R)
Sep 1902 –Aug 1904
May 1907 – June 1908
W. McKinley (R)
(Inherited a recession and then, later:)
June 1899 – Dec 1900
G. Cleveland (D) (second of two non-contiguous terms)
(Inherited a recession and then, later:)
Dec 1895 – June 1897
W. A. Harrison (R)
July 1890 – May 1891
Jan 1893 – June 1894
(Two recessions but only one term)
G. Cleveland (D) (first of two non-contiguous terms)
(Inherited a recession and then, later:)
Mar 1887 – April 1888
C. Arthur (R)
Mar 1882 – May 1885
J. Garfield (R)
(Six months, recession free)
R. Hayes (R)
(Inherited a depression and then two years depression-free)
U.S. Grant (R)
June 1869–Dec 1870
Oct 1873–Mar 1879 (Sometimes called the long depression)
A. Johnson
(Inherited a recession and then spent fifteen months recession free.)
A. Lincoln (R)
(Inherited a recession and then:)
April 1865–Dec 1867
J. Buchanan (D)
June 1857–Dec 1858
October 1860–June 1861

So, those without recessions beginning during their terms of office:

B. Obama
W. Clinton
G. Ford
L. B. Johnson
J. F. Kennedy
J. Garfield
R. Hayes
A. Johnson

But:
Ford began with a recession and had only fifteen months recession free.
Garfield had only six months in office.
Hayes began with a depression and had only twenty-four months depression/recession free.
A. Johnson began with a recession and had only fifteen months recession free.

All Republican presidents who have had more than two years to start a recession, have had a recession. (Sorry for the previous incorrect statement)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:13 PM on August 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


CNBC, with another economic correction: US Second-quarter GDP Growth Revised to 2.0%
The U.S. economy slowed a bit more than initially thought in the second quarter as the strongest growth in consumer spending in 4-1/2 years was offset by declining exports and a smaller inventory build.

Gross domestic product increased at a 2.0% annualized rate, the Commerce Department said in its second reading of second-quarter GDP on Thursday. That was revised down from the 2.1% pace estimated last month. The economy grew at a 3.1% rate in the January-March quarter. It expanded 2.6% in the first half of the year.

The downward revision was in line with ecconomists’ expectations.

The economic expansion, now in its 11th year, is under threat from the Trump administration’s year-long trade war with China, which has undercut business investment and manufacturing.
A loss of .1% is still a loss, and Republicans are growing anxious about the Trump economy, Politico reports.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:52 AM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


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