"...[this economic condition] has been brought about by policies which the majority of economists recommended and even urged governments to pursue. We have indeed at the moment little cause for pride: as a profession we have made a mess of things."
—Friedrich August von Hayek, Nobel Speech
Those of us who have taken young children on long road trips to somewhere they wanted to go are familiar with the plaintive question "Are We There Yet?" As a nation and indeed the developed world, it is not unreasonable to be asking "Are We There Yet?" about the road to recovery. The NBER, those self-appointed economists who are the official keepers of the score sheet of recessions and recoveries, have yet to tell us we are out of recession. Yet the economy is growing. Kind of. Today we look at the most recent data on second-quarter US GDPÊ (which came out this morning), and even though it is backward-looking data, we'll see what we can discern that might help us chart the direction of the future. And then, if there is time, I'll highlight what is a very serious and growing problem for our state and local governments. There is a lot to cover and so, with no "but firsts," let's dive in.