The Bush Recession

News flash: The United States economy has been in a recession since last December. For those not living from paycheck to paycheck or not numbered among the growing ranks of the unemployed, the official word came down on Monday from the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research. A recession, according to the economists that comprise the committee, "is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally vi

News flash: The United States economy has been in a recession since last December. For those not living from paycheck to paycheck or not numbered among the growing ranks of the unemployed, the official word came down on Monday from the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research. A recession, according to the economists that comprise the committee, "is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in production, employment, real income, and other indicators. A recession begins when the economy reaches a peak of activity." All of that happened in December, 2007, closing the books on an expansion that had lasted 73 months. Not everyone needed the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research to tell them that times were tough.

Hundreds of you wrote to Senator Sanders last spring in personal and poignant detail. A Vermont mother wrote, "We have at times had to choose between baby food and heating fuel." A 55-year-old man from rural Pennsylvania said, "I am just tired, the harder that I work the harder it gets." A retired couple in Vermont asked, "Does anybody in Washington care?"

Sanders read from the e-mails on the Senate floor, and later compiled the stories in a booklet The Collapse of the Middle Class, Letters from Vermont and America. "It is one thing to read dry economic statistics which describe the collapse of the American middle class," Sanders said at the time. "It is another thing to understand, in flesh and blood terms, what that means in the lives of ordinary Americans."

To read and download the booklet, click here.