Commentary: If the recession is over, is this a 'crapconomy'?

The Kansas City StarSeptember 25, 2010 

The recession has been over since June 2009? Really?

Hey, if this is what good times feel like, then someone pop a fresh bottle of champagne, because I'm not catching a buzz from this swill.

The recession's end is also news to folks who've been calling since my column Saturday about foreclosure scams.

"It's just a nightmare," said the sobbing woman who left a message on my voice mail.

Michelle wasn't a victim of a scam, but she said her family lost everything in Katrina, relocated from New Orleans to the Kansas City area, and now they've lost everything all over again.

Her husband's job, their house to foreclosure — all gone thanks to yet another man-made disaster.

Yes, man-made. I blame Wall Street and its enablers in Washington over the past generation at least, Republicans and Democrats.

But we can argue that one till the creditors come to repossess the furniture. The issue at hand concerns terminology.

What to call that which we are going through at this moment?

If it's not a recession, then what is this thing that feels like A) a depression to the poor and jobless, B) stagnation to those of us in the middle and C) another day in paradise to the CEOs and hedge fund managers raking in millions?

"Jobless recovery" isn't nearly punchy enough. Plus, it’s utterly devoid of the angst, frustration and anger that so many of us feel about our reduced circumstances.

Problem for me is that most of the possibilities that immediately come to mind feature some variation of my favorite four-letter words.

Even calling it the "crapconomy" might be too crass for some.

So my wife suggests we call it "the worst vacation ever" or "the Great Flattener, Killer of Hopes and Dreams."

There's that dark sense of humor of hers, though I'm not sure she was joking.

I asked my Facebook friends for nominations and got some equally snarky responses.

Among them: "repossession," "repression" and "me-cession," owing to the fact that everyone weathers the downturn differently.

Someone suggested "regurgitation," which isn’t bad, as so many middle-age Americans, especially, feel as if they've been used up and spit out by this economy.

My favorite for now, though, is showing up here and there on the Internet and could gain some traction:

The Big Suck.

After all, things certainly do suck right now. And nothing the economists and politicians say will make things any better until they are.

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