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October 1st, 2011
03:27 PM ET

Letters to the President: #985 'The Coming Recession'

Reporter's Note: Economists say the indicators point toward another recession. They are such Debbie Downers. Here is my daily letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

I’m sure it is as depressing to you as it is to me to hear that we either are already, or rapidly will be, in another recession. As they say in the top economic schools, bummer.

Can’t say I’m surprised. As I’ve watched the numbers pile up month after month; bad figures on unemployment, housing, trade, the stock market; it has just looked like another freight train was headed our way, and now we can hear the whistle on the horizon.

Of course there is still a chance that it won’t happen, but the odds don’t look good. I’ve been predicting this for quite a few weeks. “Mark my word,” I’ve been telling friends, “this really feels like we are sinking back into a full on recession, despite our best efforts.”

That said, here is the good news: I don’t think it is going to be a whole lot worse than what we’re already experiencing. I mean, yes, it will mean a prolonging of the misery and for folks who have lost a job, or are barely making the house payments, that will be terrible. But truth be told, I don’t think any of us have expected the economy to come bouncing back from the bad times anyway. We’ve known all along that it is going to be a long, difficult slog.

What does this mean for you? Well, I have to say, I don’t see how it can help you.

It is one of the sad truths of presidencies, as I have noted many times before, that the person who sits in the Oval Office can benefit and/or suffer greatly because of the economy, whether or not he deserves to. It’s just the way it goes.

So maybe you ought to be thinking about how you are going to handle this news, and whether you should be preparing the public for it. Because it almost certainly is on the way. And though people don’t like bad news, I think they like it even less when it is a surprise.

Sorry to bring up such a downer on a weekend. Hope you Saturday is going well anyway.

Regards,
Tom