Grandma, What Was the Depression?

We find this article kind of disturbing. People are resorting to powdered milk now?

Grocery sales probably won’t go downhill any time soon, but consumers are sure getting hit. How much more can costs increase? And how long will this continue?

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25 Responses to “Grandma, What Was the Depression?”


  1. 1 James August 27, 2008 at 8:47 am

    When is someone, hopefully a powerful politician, going to have the courage to tell the truth? Paychecks are not keeping pace with costs and we have forfeited control of our economy to the Petro Dictators. The American dream is unaffordable and unattainable for the average family, and now we are no longer in control of our own destiny.
    We need someone in Washington to tell the truth and start providing real numbers. I Democracy cannot thrive on self-serving lies. Turn off the spin, tell the truth, and then trust Democracy and American innovation to workout a solution. There is great danger in having an ill informed ( translate: lied too) populace in a Democracy.
    There is tremendous upward pressure on all prices across the board and I predict this will continue. There will be a heavy price to pay for the artificial supression of inflation.
    The housing crisis is just the tip of the iceberg, it arose from a desperate attempt to feed the illusion that Americans could actually afford a home when the cost of that home had far outstripped wages. Think of all the economic activity that is going down the drain and the incalculable loss in human spirit that has occurred because of that lie.

  2. 2 E August 27, 2008 at 9:51 am

    It’s interesting. Food prices are rising, and as the linked story suggests, people are in “survival” mode and more than open to suggestions as to how to stretch their inflation-addled food dollar.

    Hillbilly Housewife and other sites like it are nice, helpful contingency fixes, but the larger issue of food price stabilzation needs to be addressed, and nobody’s doing it. It seems like we’re in a rut of perpetual contingency thinking, temporary solutions, nothing long-term.

  3. 3 What was the Depression? August 27, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    The depression in the 1930’s caused 25% unemployment in the US. Millions were thrown out of work and stood in bread lines in the cities. The fortunate ones left for the country where they could at least subsist off the land. Problem today? The country, mostly, has corporate owned farms. So, the populace is at the mercy of owners, not families. What happens if a number of the banks start having runs, circa “It’s a Wonderful Life”, people’s 401k’s drop by 75%, and we all hit the skids??

  4. 4 Nancy H August 27, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    All I ever hear is “things are expected to turn around by next year,” but “next year” comes and the same tired statement is repeated. For the past three years, “next year” has been the magic turn-around time. How much longer this really continues depends a lot on the upcoming election. If we put McCain/Bush back in office, things will continue on their downward spiral. I am literally terrified of this man. Why can’t the American people see that running the country the way Bush has been running it IS NOT WORKING. Haven’t we been hurt enough?

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Both the number of unemployed persons (8.8 million) and the unemployment rate
    (5.7 percent) rose in July. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 1.6 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 1.0 percentage point.” With the number of companies that are just barely hanging on, hoping to “ride” this out, those unemployement figures could rise a lot faster as more and more businesses close their doors.

    Here’s another statistic for you – suicide rates in America are the highest they’ve been since 1999. So maybe you aren’t watching bankers jump off high-rises, but the death toll of this economic disaster is definitely on the rise. Bring on the powdered milk.

  5. 5 Les Minkus August 27, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Has everyone forgetten that this is an election year!Everything that can look bad is going to have mirrors around it to emphasize and manipulate it to make it look even worse. Wall street is having a field day with volatility and most public companies are projecting 6 to 9 months of reasonable earnings growth. The feds have stopped many banks from making loans on residential and commercial real estate until they can get the banks liquidity in motion again and get the lending decision makers back to basics. The smart money people that have cash are getting richer by buying up the low hanging real estate from those that are in trouble and have to sell for pennies on the dollar. That’s driving values down further, but allowing the rich to get richer.

    Which ever political candidate wins the White House the economy will recover within 6 to 12 months. And everyone will be running around looking for the next disaster that will bring the world to an end.

    Our freedoms must be protected, our state, local and federal taxes must be cleaned up and the people must keep their own money to save and spend on their own medical services and necessities and not have the governments waste it on pork and lobbyists. Trial lawyers, judgements and the legal system need to be capped and if energy is the greatest transfer of wealth, then everyone should be required to get a small car that doesn’t consume more just because they can afford it and a cap on the number of flights one can take in a year should be mandated until we get an energy policy that makes sense.

  6. 6 You want the Truth? August 27, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Bring on the Kool-aid.

  7. 7 You want the Truth? August 27, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    If you’re lucky enough to be employed, stop with the childish question “Are we there yet?”

    You’ll know the answer, soon enough.

    P.S. And the answer, is NOT Barack (or is it Barry) Obama.

    If he’s the answer, then the question must be ridiculous.

    By the way, don’t you find it odd that a nobody, from nowhere, falls off a spoon with all of that financial backing, to run, and possibly become PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES????? Just WHO is FUNDING THIS GUY?????
    EVER ASK YOURSELF THAT QUESTION.

  8. 8 Chris T August 27, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Ok I usually read this blog but never reply. Sorry Nancy H but this is not a political venue to lobby your views on who you think should or should not be elected as president. There are plenty of other sites for that type of commentary.

    As a business owner forced to close up shop this year I share your concerns about unemployment. And yes there are many small businesses just hanging on “hoping” things turn around quick enough for their businesses to survive. When you look at unemployment in the context of “parties” occupying the white house though you should get your facts straight. According to the same source you quoted in your post in the eight years the Democrats occupied the white house in the 1990’s the median annual unemployment rate was 5.75%. During the eight years the republicans have occupied the white house in the 2000’s the median annual unemployment rate has been 5.03%. Being a liberal republican, if their is such a thing, I too have many economic and social concerns, but hitching your horse to one candidate and blaming the other side is not the answer to solving our problems.

    An awful lot of our problems stem from both the democratic and republican camps. On one side there is social irresponsibility in pushing forward societal agendas which are tax payer supported where their is no consideration for ROI (exceptions for the essential need to support and protect children, the handicapped, and the elderly) and on the other side runaway corporate greed. However, both are supported on each side of the isle. We need leaders to remove themselves from party lines, unlike the inference in your post, and do what is fiscally and socially responsible and be held accountable to their constituencies for their results.

    I happen to support McCain, oh and by the way Bush isn’t on his ticket, and expect the candidate I support to do what is honorable which is to make decisions to help each one of us live a more peaceful and prosperous life.

  9. 9 James August 27, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Both China, who we owe zillions of dollars to, and Russia, are making multi-bazillion dollar international bets that America is in decline and has gone soft. And so we have, see the story about the little leaguer who pitches “too fast”. Then read about how Russia says it doesn’t fear another cold war. Watch the Olympics, the Chinese are not exactly poor peasants on black bicycles anymore. They will be THE super world power in our life time and we better recognize that.
    Meanwhile, US Diplomacy has been comprised of speaking loudly and offensively to everyone and caring a big over-extended stick, and then hammering democracy ala-Bush-Cheney down peoples throat whether they want it, or understand it, or not.
    Lets give these fear mongering cowboys the boot and get saavy people with both wit, grit and an enlightened world view to represent America.

  10. 10 Susan August 28, 2008 at 8:41 am

    You want the truth?
    I asked myself 8 years ago who would be conned into voting for the rich kid from Texas with no brain. Thank God this is the USA and a “nobody” from “nowhere” (where have you been?) can take the reins of the country with intelligent guidance to start the climb out of the hole that the current administration dug us into.

  11. 11 Realist as well... August 28, 2008 at 9:12 am

    GDP was 3.3% in the 2Q. This is above-trend growth for the economy.

    Exports are cranking and this will help us absorb the real estate correction and liquidity squeeze.

    Housing has already rebounded in my neighborhood in the northeast. Don’t look for rampant appreciation like the old days, but stability will breed confidence.

    And best of all, the commodity bubble is only partially popped. Still a long way to go. Now that energy production is clicking on all cylinders, look for the bottom to fall out of oil.

  12. 12 Realist as well... August 28, 2008 at 9:14 am

    A depression is a 10% drop in GDP. So far, we had one quarter at -.2% (Q4 2007), but everything else has been positive, including above trend growth in the 2Q at 3.3%. Anyone using the word “depression” today is really dishonest or has absolutely no idea what they are talking about.

    We have a dishonest media trying to help Barrack Obama. Can’t wait for election year to end so we can all start looking at data again.

  13. 13 Oh Jammmmessss! August 28, 2008 at 10:29 am

    To James: In my lifetime, the United States is THE ONLY Superpower left standing.

  14. 14 PG August 28, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Except for possibly the second and third posts, none of these responses have anything to do with the topic. The fact is, there are many ways in which people can reduce spending and many consumer goods that we can do without. Too much money has been spent on things that add no value to our everyday lives-a new cell phone every six months; leasing a car every 2 years when even the cheapest car will last 10; eating practically every meal out…and the list goes on. Many things described in the Hillbilly Housewife and similar sites are things that were commonly done in the 1950’s and 1960’s as a matter of course, not as a means of economizing. In many ways, this has become a lost art. If people ever rediscover these things, look for the last 20 years or so of rampant consumer spending to come to an abrupt halt. But, that may not be all bad. Less suburban sprawl, a greater appreciation of resources, and so on.

    Now for the political posturing: The problem is not the Republicans; the problem is not the Democrats. The problem is the Republicans AND Democrats. Most of these people have not worked a day in their life! (Feeding at the trough of public money does NOT constitute working!)

  15. 15 Dana S August 28, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Interesting. This subject is like a Rorschach in the replies it’s generating.

    The economy runs cycles. Don’t relax, don’t lose your political focus or involvement, and don’t stop thinking about your financial and life-style choices and what they mean to our collective quality of life. But don’t lose perspective, either. We’ve been here before (pretty much every ten years since the 1880’s, to a greater or lesser degree), we’ll be here again, and in between, we’ll be somewhere we like better with a firmly held belief that this time is different.

  16. 16 Recession not Depression, yet August 28, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Costs will continue to increase with the price of oil. If oil falls, the other prices, particularly food, will fall, too. Expect volatility to continue. Peak Oil (the days of cheaply produced oil are coming to an end). Don’t expect $40 per barrel oil anytime soon (never).

    One danger of a capitalist society, is that being a good citizen can often come in line after being a good consumer. Let’s get informed, turn off the TV, put down the celebrity magazines and build our critical thinking and minds: read a book. Question your purchases, try frugal living, but live a little, too. Life is too short to be a slave to economizing and pettiness. However, I don’t think that is the danger of most Americans, being overly frugal, unless they live in Massachussets, or are Menonites, or something.

    Seek wisdom, Ben Franklin had a lot of wisdom regarding money. Be Positive. Be Happy. It beats the alternative (negative & sad).

  17. 17 Just a game of Monopoly, afterall August 28, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    For all the hang wringing, and worrying, remember that Texas built the majority of its skyscrapers in Austin, Dallas, and Houston on the Savings & Loan Debacle. Think about it, the beauty of a capitalist system IS the excesses. After all, just because the economy nearly collapsed there, didn’t mean that in the long term, they weren’t better off: ie the economic loss didn’t result in their collectively going out and BURNING the money. The skyscrapers are still there, the ASSETS are still there. Mind you, it’s just a giant game of Monopoly, stop being so serious about it. You came into this world naked, and that’s how you’ll leave it. You can’t take it with you. ENJOY IT!

  18. 18 Take Back Your Mind September 2, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    You better bet the growing popularity of powdered milk is disturbing and IS an indication that we are headed for “Hard Times in America.” Anyone who didn’t live through the Great Depression, should pick up that book by Studs Terkel, to have an idea of what it was like.

    However, it is always difficulties and trials that bring about metamorphosis. For too long, Our society has wasted resources, technology, productive processes, and human labor and potential on consumerism, marketing, innumerable brands, gadgets and products which in the last analysis, are always the same.

    Sociologically, we are left with an “Empty Prosperity” which leads individuals to frustration and a feeling of dissatisfaction. It is almost as if the society, itself, has an illness that needs to be cured.

  19. 19 Realist as well... September 3, 2008 at 9:12 am

    The price of Oil is sinking like a stone – currently $108. It will be $80 by the time John Mccain is sworn in to office. Food prices are right behind that stone. Consumption of oil has been on the decline since last November, yet our GDP has been rising – really unprecedented that our economy is this diverse and resilient.

    I will say it again, those using the word “depression” today are either the dumbest people on the planet or they are working to get Barrack Obama in the White House. We didn’t need FDR’s socialism to bail us out of the real Great Depression (have you liberals taken one economics class…?) and we don’t need Barrack Obama’s socialism to help us through the current economic slowdown – which doesn’t even qualify as a textbook recession.

  20. 20 Dumbest Person on the Planet September 3, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Oh, I feel so much better, now. To think, oil at $80 per barrel. Now I can call the last company up that layed me off and tell them how much better the economy is…. oil is only twice what it was back in early 2007 (Q1 at $40 per barrel).

  21. 21 Realist as well... September 3, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    When Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats who do nothing in Congress get serious about a real energy plan, you will see $40 oil again. As soon as we put an end to this ethanol subsidy non-sense and create real energy, there will be a total collapse in energy and food prices. It is starting to happen now, but with an energy plan the bottom falls out.

    The next President should be focussed on fixing FDR’s mistake in Social Security, not focussed on creating more dependency mistakes such as Nationalized Healthcare. We didn’t need FDR’s New Deal and we don’t need Obama’s version of the communist manifesto.

  22. 22 Dumbest Person on the Planet September 4, 2008 at 10:38 am

    CREATING REAL ENERGY DOES NOT HAPPEN OVERNIGHT AND SOME EXPERTS EXPECT IT WILL TAKE AT LEAST A DECADE TO SEE THE FRUIT OF THE LABOR, EVEN IF WE ACT NOW. $40 PER BARREL IS A FANTASY.

  23. 23 Realist as well... September 4, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    …and other experts say it will take a fraction of that time. Regardless, why is that Nancy Pelosi’s excuse to do NOTHING…? Doing nothing is certainly not a solution.

    Our democrats got absolutely humiliated last night, and it is going to continue right through November.

    “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.”

    “…this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or even a reform, not even in the State Senate.”

    “There are some candidates who use “change” to promote their careers, and then there are those, like John Mccain, who use their careers to promote change. They are the ones whose names appear on laws and landmark reforms, not just on buttons and banners or on self-designed presidential seals.”

    “My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery.”

    “…we don’t know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they’re listening and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t around.”

  24. 24 Politics Aside September 5, 2008 at 10:25 am

    The increase in our GDP is due to the increase in exports, which may not hold up, as Europe is starting to falter, as well. McCain is a more responsible person than what I’m hearing you say. During his speech, he even made mention that Republicans were also complicit and have not been serving the people. McCain steps up instead of merely blaming the Democrats. History has shown us that it is the $20 billion that FDR spent after Pearl Harbor in military buildup that was the first step to bring us out of the Depression (the New Deal did reduce some unemployment, however, but was not primarily responsible for lifting us out of the Depression). I agree with you, it is not an option, nor an excuse, to do nothing about energy. We must drill, and we must become self-sufficient regarding energy. In 1950, the United States was the largest producer of oil in the world. Let’s move forward with drilling, technology, and alternative energy. We must work together, and get past the name calling in politics to see our country through, that is why this campaign is Country First. Enough of the easy blaming and shaming, let’s take care of one another.

  25. 25 Who's Behind the Front Man September 9, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    To Susan: “Take the reins of the country with intelligent guidance”…. intelligent guidance? So who really is behind the Great and Powerful Oz? A little man pulling knobs and levers behind the curtain? Please, sir or mam, do step forward and show yourself.


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