There are lots of ways to define a recession – three quarters of negative economic growth, three quarters in which growth is below the rate needed to meet an expanding population, or, as Ronald Reagan said, “when your neighbor loses his job.” A depression, Reagan said, was when “you lose your job.”
For political purposes, recession is when most voters believe the economy is getting worse. So regardless of what the academics say, for Power Play’s uses, recession is already a reality. Its length and severity will likely determine the next chapter of American history.
If the trauma is brief and even modest recovery follows, President Obama may yet be re-elected and cement gains that American Democrats have sought for 70 years. If the hardship deepens or extends to the end of the year, the president will come to yearn for the days of 39 percent job approval ratings...