I have seen the graph this HuffingtonPost article features often over the last few months. It shows an historical comparison of the current recession and all previous post WWII recessions. Two things about it struck me. First--the depth and extended time. The depth of the unemployment this time is about 20% greater than any of the previous recessions. And we are still bumping along the bottom almost 3 years in. If you extrapolate the curve and assume (which is a dangerous thing to do) that it will follow the earlier patterns this pattern could last not the 4 or five more years people like Ben Bernanke are suggesting but a decade or more. Not a comforting thought especially with some of those in the Republican Choir telling us that the only reason the lazy, unemployed bums are not out getting jobs is that the unemployment benefits are far too generous for far too long. But the other thing I noticed was a definite shift in the pattern of recessions. The recessions before 1981 were short and recovered to pre-recession employment from even steep job losses very quickly. The 1980 recession unemployment rate reached pre-recession levels in just about 22 months. But the last four recessions (1981, 1991, 2001, and the current recession) took much longer: about 30 months for the first two, four years for the 2001, and the current recession at three years and counting. Once can be a fluke. Twice could still be coincidence. But four times?? That just may be a pattern and one that isn't very pleasant to contemplate.
Here is another piece of obscenity aided and abetted by the U.S. State Department which, until last year, kept no statistics on complaints (or anything else related to misconduct) on this program.
HuffingtPost has a poll today which shows a large part of the Afghans they questioned think that insurgent attacks against U.S. and NATO forces are justified (a bit below 30%). Another indication that they are losing confidence that the U.S. led forces can achieve safety and stability for Afghanistan. Just last night ABC news announced a week long (I think they said a week) series on 'Can We Win?' My thought was 'Depends on how you define 'win.' After all we simply declared victory in Viet Nam and left. I wonder what the definition will be this time?