Obama is on the road this week to make a series of speeches across the country about the state of the economy and the American middle class. As Gigi Douban for Marketplace reports, many people have doubts that the President can do much of anything about the economy, due in part to the opposition he faces from Congressional Republicans.
Even if Congress and the President were working together in perfect harmony on this issue, the reality is that the economy is in a pretty bad way. As Heidi Shierholz with the Economic Policy Institute explains, we're technically four years post-Recession, but only "a fifth of the way out of the hole left by the Great Recession" when one compares the share of the working-age population who has a job today compared with pre-recession. My colleague Rachel Black was quoted in yesterday's Atlanta Journal-Constituion in a similar vein: “The recession made a big hole and it’s going to take a long time to fill it."
While I think the "hole" analogy is perfectly capable of encapsulating the severity of the Recession, Colin Gordon (a professor of history at the University of Iowa) has an effective and illustrative analogy about the Great Recession that I think adds a little something extra. As Gordon writes in a recent Dissent Magazine piece, "If the recession were a bout of the flu, we would be at about that point where the fever has broken—but we still feel like throwing up most of the time."