Yes, Virginia, a Double-Dip Recession is Possible

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Karl Smith says his internal models strongly suggest a double-dip recession, but he just can’t bring himself to believe it:

I look at a lot of fundamentals but at the end of the day the money markets drive my forecasts. The money markets are telling me in every possible way that recession is coming. Liquidity demand is rising, inflation expectations are falling, nominal interests rates are collapsing.

However, like Leamer in 2007, I am hard pressed to see what is left to recess? At the time Leamer doubted a recession because he didn’t think there were enough manufacturing jobs left to lose.

This time, I look at construction and local government and think the same thing. The cyclical employment sectors are already so far down. Are we going to start losing jobs in Health Care and Education at this point?

I don’t know that I can bring myself to believe it either. Then again, in 1931, guess what? It hardly seemed possible, but things got worse! The truth is that as long as insane conservatives continue to drive our national economic policy, a double-dip recession is not only possible, it’s likely. They simply show no signs of stopping their madness, and most of the mainstream press and punditocracy aren’t numerate enough to recognize what’s really going on. We are trapped in a cycle of insanity that’s truly Kafkaesque.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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