I don't know about you, but I've been waiting for a sign. A sign that says my wife and I should feel comfortable putting real money aside for my daughter's education. A sign that says that a home mortgage once again makes sense.
The signs I've seen since the economy first went south have been confusing, inaccurate and occasionally horrifying.
I've lived through a couple of economic downturns, and somehow there always seemed to be an upswing not long after. Not this time.
So, now I ask: Where is the recovery?
This week, in a special series titled (what else?), "Show Me the Recovery," Tell Me More is focused on how to get the U.S. economy to show real and accurate signs of moving forcefully ahead, even as eyes turn this week to that bipartisan commission tasked with reducing the deficits and, in turn, the $14 trillion national debt. The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform could very well recommend some painful long-term fixes to Medicare, Social Security and maybe even an end to your mortgage interest tax deduction.
One of our guests today, economist and syndicated columnist Julianne Malveaux, says it's not the time to knock the economy with such deficit-reducing measures. The presidential commission, though, is expected to say we can't keep putting off these necessary moves against a debt that could hurt the U.S. economy's long-term health.
In the series' second installment tomorrow, Michel Martin speaks with the woman who helped fashion President Obama's nearly $800 million economic stimulus package. The former chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer, talks about whether the stimulus was effective, where she thinks we should be going next, and what to do about that nagging national debt thing.
On Wednesday, Tell Me More listeners will hear from a man once known as the "nation's auditor." David Walker continues to crusade against the debt even though he no longer heads up the Government Accountability Office.
In the final segment Thursday, we'll bring it all home to your wallet or pocketbook with Tell Me More's personal finance contributors, Alvin Hall and Louis Barajas, plus NPR's senior business editor, Marilyn Geewax.
How and when will things start looking up. And what should I do while I wait?
Good thing my daughter has a good 17 years and 10 months before her freshman year in college.
Kyle McKinnon is a senior editor for Tell Me More.