There is a lot of concern about our faltering economy. Job loss, the shifting of jobs overseas, stagnant consumer demand and loss of production; these and more have been cited as evidence of our poor economy. Many feel that, given the past four years of the Obama administration, these problems should have been overcome and our economy ought to be comfortably sailing into this decade. But just how long does it take to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression?
During the Great Depression unemployment topped 25 percent, about double what it was a couple of years ago. Elected in 1932, the Roosevelt administration immediately took strong measures to reverse the effects. However, unemployment was still in double digits through the late 1930s. Slow economic growth and unemployment plagued the nation for all of the late 1930s well into FDR’s second term. It wasn’t until the beginning of the Second World War that the draft and World War II really ended unemployment and the U.S. economy recovered. That was about 12 years after the 1929 crash and ten years after the deepest depths of the Depression and the efforts of FDR.
Deep recessions, such as we have just experienced, appear to be difficult to recover from. Consumer confidence and a return of demand seem to remain stagnant, but there currently are strong signs of recovery.
The auto industry, which Mitt Romney would have let go bankrupt, appears to be well on its way to recovery. According to the figures recently released, new housing construction is coming back.
Last night at the Democratic Convention, former President Bill Clinton asked why we would want to fire President Obama and elect a president who would return us to the same lack of financial enforcement and loose regulation that got us into this mess?
Historically, deep recession recovery appears to take time. There are no quick fixes. The question is one of growing consumer demand, not trickle down economics that during the Bush administration appears to have been no trickle at all. We need to let President Obama continue to direct those policies that help us recover and restore the strength of the middle class.