Is the Recession Really Over?

[Recently], Gallup reported that the total number of new business startups and business closures per year, known as “the birth and death rates,” […] just crossed to the bad for the first time since [its] measurement began—[a]nnually, 400,000 new businesses are being born nationwide, while 470,000 are dying. […] [Until] the recession, startups outpaced business failures by 100,000 per year. If small businesses continue to die at this pace, disastrous consequences for our economy and way of life are right around the corner.

Our “Main Street” American businesses still find it difficult to borrow the funds they need to expand. […] If you read the news, it says bank loans are easier to come by, but I haven’t talked to even one of our customers who tells me banks are happy to help them.

Not only have small businesses not bounced back from the recession, but, as reported in USA Today, many households have not yet rebounded from the downturn. According to the federal government’s report on the economic well-being of U.S. households:

  • 34% of families are worse off or much more worse off financially than they [were] five years [ago].
  • Educational debt [is] held by 24% of the population, averaging $25,750 per person.
  • 43% of households [cannot] cover a major out-of-pocket cost for a medical expense.
  • 25% [of households have] not visited a dentist in the last 12 months because they [can’t] afford one.
  • 31% of Americans have no retirement savings.

On top of this, The Washington Post just reported 77 million Americans have debt in collections. […] These […] debts are non-mortgage-related, like credit card bills, child-support payments and medical bills. […]

Ask your favorite charity if the recession is over for them. […] Last year, total giving to charity organizations […] was $335 billion, down from the pre-recession level of $350 billion. [I]n America, 610,042 people [were homeless nightly in 2013], [and] 20 states saw an increase in homelessness. According to Newsweek, 42.5 million American adults […] suffer from some mental illness, enduring conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. That hit home for me when my favorite actor, Robin Williams, […] died. Close to one in five of us are feeling like Robin, and is America built to have the support system to help?

Feeding America reports that 15.9 million children under the age of 18 (one in five) live in a household without enough food to eat and are unable to consistently access nutritious and adequate amounts of food. […] We are struggling to help our homeless, to help those suffering from mental disorders, and to help our children. This recession is not over for them. […]

Where is the good news to get us out of this funk of no-growth and the pain of the recession still lingering for businesses and individuals? It is not coming from the Middle East or from Europe or from our own government, [which] has confused our economy with sequestration, shutting itself down, and continual battles over healthcare, [the] debt ceiling and budgets.

[A]ll of us [need] to buy local, help those in need and donate more than we normally would to support this economy. Our economy is the basis for our society. When our economy is stable, our society will take care of our businesses and the individuals in need. At that point is when we can declare that the recession is over.

Original article here:

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