Is the US economy in a recession? No, of course not. It’s just a progress recession – or so says CNN. What’s the difference? Now that the country has entered into a technical recession – two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth – the White House and its acolytes in the Fourth Estate are working frantically to redefine the word. In some cases, this means making up new terms to mask the plethora of challenges facing the United States today. It’s that or admit the interventionist schemes and big government orthodoxy have failed.
Meet the Progress Recession
CNN believes the US is going through a progress recession right now. It is not so much that the economy is contracting; rather, progressive ideals are receding into the night. As a result, The Most Trusted Name in News asserts that “the US has actually been in a form of recession for decades.” The cable news network spoke with Jon Erickson, a professor at the University of Vermont. He presented the case that the United States should adopt a different metric for growth: genuine progress indicator, or GPI. This method, they say, accounts for the benefits and costs of economic growth.
“You won’t see that in any textbook on economic growth, where the benefits of the growing economy are surpassed by the cost of the growing economy,” Erickson stated. “By that metric, if you really take an honest accounting of all the benefits of the economy and all the costs of the economy, we’ve been in what you might call a ‘progress recession’ since the late 1970s.”
In other words, the US has been “moving backward.” The GDP cannot measure human well-being, be it environmental or social. This means that policymakers need to push the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to adopt different indicators to assess economic conditions accurately. Of course, the best metrics, Erickson avers, are ones that examine the economy with a leftist lens. As an example, places like North Dakota are not ideal, despite low unemployment rates and impressive income growth, because the state relies on crude oil production and other natural resources. Vermont would be a good model because it does not possess a fossil fuel industry, although he conceded that “we benefit from importing oil and gas into our state.”
When asked if there was a “golden age for American progress from the GPI perspective,” the professor cited the period between the 1950s and the 1970s. Since then, however, the economy has expanded “on a very inequitable growth path” he said, arguing that deregulation, privatization, and public spending cuts (education and infrastructure) have contributed to this progress recession.
How so? There are 200 volumes of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), containing thousands of pages that cover everything from public lands to shipping to welfare. In addition to the creation of the Department of Education, nationwide public K-12 spending per pupil has increased nearly every year, hitting close to $14,000 in 2018-2019. It is estimated that $500 billion is spent annually on infrastructure, according to the Bipartisan Policy Institute.
A Silly Conversation?
Since the White House and the mainstream press have failed to influence the public opinion about a recession, the activist media is left to redefine words, invent new terms, or dismiss the public discourse as silly. Will this work? Unlikely. A recent Liberty Nation poll found that 91% of readers think the US is in a recession, while a July Morning Consult survey revealed that two-thirds of voters believe the US is experiencing an economic downturn.
The only one to see the debate over what defines recession on their 2022 Bingo Card was media personality Carol Roth, who warned last year this would happen. The administration was in damage control before the GDP report, and now the cable news networks, print newspapers, and online web portals are on defense. But will the Red Guard cartel’s strategy be as ineffective as the Boston Red Sox’s 2022 outfield and infield or as successful as the Seattle Mariners’ squad this season?
After a year of the ruling class assuring everyone that inflation is transitory and “this is the best economy in history,” the common sense crowd will sing, “We won’t get fooled again.”