Finally, an economist willing to say it! Paul Krugman, winner of the Nobel price in Economics in 2008, just published a book End This Depression Now! He dares to stand against the minions of other economists who say our economy had a brief recession, which quckly ended.
Most economists define recession as two consecutive quarters of decline in GDP, or gross domestic product, which basically measures the size of the economy.
GDP has practically no relevance to common citizens. Decade after decade, GDP consistently rises, with few interruptions. Very few citizens, on the other hand, can describe their income or wealth in the same way. A plot of GDP over the last two or three decades does nothing to describe what our economy is like for common citizens.
Indeed, the original inventor of GDP, Simon Kuznets, sternly and repeatedly warned against using GDP as a measure of how well the economy was serving common citizens. His warnings have been consistently ignored by fellow economists.
The alternative measure of economic health is unemployment. But this measure, provided by our Bureau of Labor Statistics and its economists, is fundamentally flawed as well. It ignores people who are not looking for work because they are disillusioned with the prospects of finding interesting, fulfilling, and meaningful work that pays well. It also ignores people who are underpaid, unsatisfied, underutilized, or unfulfilled with their current work. (See Deep Economics, Part 3, Chapter 16)
Numerous surveys of US citizens make it totally clear: our economy is doing an incredibly poor job of meeting our needs. But the BLS and their economists disregard the true nature of the common citizen's plight in today's economy. Instead, they stick their heads in the sand and deny the full measure of the problem.
Economists have a moral obligation to listen to the people. We are very unhappy with the economy. There aren't enough jobs, there are even fewer good jobs, and the impact on our nation is extreme and will linger for generations.
So, economists: Stop being so stupid. Listen to us!