The Almighty Ben hath spoken. And he bringeth glad tidings to fill all hearts with great joy!
Ben Bernanke, that is, chairman of the Federal Reserve. As America's banker-in-chief, Bernanke periodically reads the economic tea leaves and announces his findings. On Sept. 15, the guru offered this pronouncement: "From a technical perspective, the recession is very likely over at this point."
There. Feel better?
Statistical indicators, we're told, show an upward turn in everything from stock prices to bank profits. So, they exult, the bluebird of happiness is back in America!
Really? Try these indicators: my income is down and my job is being outsourced; my health insurance company has canceled my policy because I got sick and tried to use it; the value of my house has plummeted, but the interest rate on my mortgage just went through the roof; my kid can't find a job, can't afford college, and is moving back into our house; and I just heard some goober who's a Merrill Lynch economist saying that working families must be patient because, "Eventually a rising tide lifts all boats." Hey, how about he and I switch boats!
Economists, bankers, CEOs, the rich — these are the same goofballs who always preach that "economic growth" benefits all, yet the only bank accounts that actually grow are theirs. Last year, for example, the median income in America — i.e., the income of the middle class — shrank by $2,000.
Meanwhile, a recent study shows that the benefits of growth are shoved to the top — for the last several years, for example, two-thirds of all income gains in America went to the richest one percent of families, which are those hauling in more than $400,000 a year.
Forget Ben Bernanke and official indicators. We'll know there's a recovery when every American is doing better, not just 1 percent of us.
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.