Robert Samuelson penned a great opinion piece in today's Washington Post. While I'm not a big reader of the opinion page, oftentimes I find myself agreeing with the things he has to say. The target of his article is the popular opinion the U.S. economy is in or near a depression, which is reflected in abysmal readings from many consumer and business confidence surveys. Indeed, one would really have to stretch the facts to equate the current situation to that of the Great Depression. Even equating the current economic environment to that of the early 1980s would strain credibility since numerous metrics are nowhere near the depths observed during that period.
Some might view it as "pollyannish" to think so, but in reality, how strong the economy is at this time despite all the roadblocks should be the real story. True, the housing market is a wreck, the auto industry has seen better days, inflation is percolating and massive uncertainty faces the banking sector. Still, the broader economy continues to expand. Of course things could take a turn for the worse; however, to approach the dark days of the Great Depression or even the back-to-back recessions of the early 1980s, conditions "would have to get much, much, much worse" before reaching those depths.