Wall Street pundits have been declaring that the recession is "over" and that it's "safe" to buy stocks again.
Corporate CEOs are claiming that their revenues are growing and their bonds are as good as gold.
Moody's, S&P and Fitch, who failed miserably to lower their ratings on Freddie and Fannie, AIG, Lehman, Bear Stearns or any of the other companies that subsequently crashed and burned . . would have you believe that NOW their sugar-coated ratings, still bought and paid for by the companies they rate, are "for real."
Unfortunately the facts paint a very different, and much darker, picture:
* Unemployment is still sky-high: Nearly one in five American workers is still struggling to get by with a much-reduced paycheck -- or without any income at all! Worse, nearly half of the unemployed are out of work for more than six months -- twice as long as in any previous downturn.
As long as we as a nation continue to allow the outsourcing of our jobs to low-wage, low-cost countries, without imposing some kind of penalty for these kinds of corporate decisions, we will NEVER get back on the road to a true economic recovery -" not for anybody except the financial and economic elite (who have already more than recovered). By allowing our corporations to export ever more of our jobs overseas, we of course lose our ability to produce our own goods and continue to relegate our domestic economy to that of a servicing class. Yes, SOME of the services we provide are high-end and high-tech and even something we can sell overseas, but the vast majority are not.
Specifically, without real protections for American workers, through properly sized tariffs and proper immigrant-worker management, we will remain on a never ending economic death spiral, in which ever more of the world's work will be done in those remaining parts of the world where wages, working conditions, and environmental standards are well below those in the US.
This is an extremely important point which Thom Hartmann, MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan, Ralph Nader and Senator Bernie Sanders mention all the time, but that you will read or hear nowhere (except for Hartmann and Ratigan) in the corporate-owned mainstream media. And why won't you read or hear about it elsewhere? The answer is that US-based corporations (who own the mainstream media) are making way too much money off of the existing rock-bottom, low-tariff policy that allows them to manufacture dirt-cheap goods elsewhere, ship them to the US, virtually tariff free, and then sell them here, with a huge price mark-up, thereby completely sidetracking and bypassing millions of American workers.
* The housing slump has returned with a vengeance: Housing starts are down three-fourths from their peak. New home sales recently cratered to the lowest level in 47 years. And now, a new wave of mortgage defaults is sweeping the country -- this time, by Americans who actually can afford to make the payments, but choose not to, because to do so would be to lose money, i.e. for less money they can now rent a better and bigger house than the one they're making mortgage payments on -- or for that matter, they can buy a new one, for less money than they're shelling out right now. No wonder foreclosures have been rising dramatically even during the so-called "recovery!"
* Despite the Fed's efforts to keep interest rates low, it's actually getting harder to borrow money: Fed chief Ben Bernanke recently pledged to spend hundreds of billions of newly created dollars to buy bonds. His goal: To drive interest rates down. Instead, interest rates have gone straight UP -- making everything from mortgages to corporate loans more expensive. Plus, many consumers and small businesses are finding it virtually impossible to get the loans they need to survive -- at ANY price.
* City and state governments all over the country are bankrupt: They're shutting down libraries ... closing schools ... laying off teachers, fire fighters and police. And it's still not enough to close massive deficits!
* The sovereign debt crisis has global investors scared silly: More and more investors are viewing Europe's sovereign debt crisis as a sneak preview of our own future here in the United States. Reason: Our debts are far greater than those of Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain, or any of the other "PIGS" countries!
If they're right, we could see interest rates soar even higher here just like they've already done in Europe. But in a shaky economy like ours, that would be pure poison.
So WHY is there such a glaring discrepancy between what you see with your own eyes and what everyone is telling you? The answer should not surprise you:
Washington and Wall Street are lying through their teeth.
The fact is, nearly everyone you trust to lead the economy or manage your money now has powerful incentives to make sure you do not know the truth: