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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press What's a "Financial Recession?"

What's a "Financial Recession?"

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Sunday, 20 May 2012 08:01

I hate to be picky, but this seems like a rather bizarre term to include in this Washington Post piece on the G-8 meeting on Saturday. The full sentence is:

"Obama, who has pushed for additional fiscal stimulus in the United States, said the new agreement affirmed the course his administration pursued during the financial recession at home."

It is difficult to see what is added by including the word "financial." The point is that we are still suffering from the effects of the recession that officially began in December 2007. If the concern is that the recession officially ended in June of 2009 so that it is improper to refer to the current period as a "recession," then the word "downturn" should do the trick.

It is hard to see what including "financial" in the description does except confuse people. We have a downturn in the real economy, not just a few problems in the financial sector.

Comments (2)Add Comment
So few words, so many problems
written by Robert Salzberg, May 20, 2012 1:38
The sentence Dr. Baker highlights is a teachable moment on what passes as financial reporting in America.

   First and foremost, there was no formal agreement, there was, as usual, a joint statement. 

    President Obama never stated the agreement affirmed anything. (A link to a full text of President Obama's remarks is below.)

    The word stimulus has been thoroughly demonized and was not spoken by President Obama in his remarks.  The word 'stimulus' has replaced 'liberal' as the new go-to term of derision by right-wing pundits and should be avoided by respectable journalists when describing spending programs.

   President Obama did speak about the financial crisis in his remarks and perhaps the authors just made a typo.  At best, they created a new shorthand for a recession caused by a financial crisis.

   There was some news about verbal agreements made that were totally left out of the article. Specifically:

President Obama:

"Leaders agreed to join a new U.S.-led coalition to address climate change, in part by reducing short-lived pollutants"

"We also announced a new alliance on food security with African leaders and the private sector as part of an effort to lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next decade."

  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-...-g8-summit
mulberry bags
written by mulberry bags, May 25, 2012 1:01

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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