The Depression is Here -- It's Just Invisible By Al LewisPublished August 01, 2012Dow Jones Newswires http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/2012/08/01/depression-is-here-it-just-invisible/ The Great Depression that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke claims to have averted has been part of the background radiation of our economy since at least 2008. It's just that, like radiation, it's invisible. We've called it the recovery, the jobless recovery, the slogging recovery and more recently the fading recovery. We've measured modest growth in our nation's gross domestic product to record that our so-called Great Recession ended in June 2009. And now we are saying that if this disappointing growth suddenly disappears, as currently feared, we will be in a new recession. There is nothing more depressing than hearing about a new recession when you haven't fully recovered from the last one. I take heart in suspecting that in a still-distant future, historians will look back with clarity and call this whole rotten period a depression. <snip> Nearly one out of seven Americans receives food stamps, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That's more than 44 million people. If they all stood in a line and someone photographed them using black-and-white film, they easily could be mistaken for people from the 1930s. Instead, they go to a grocery store and spend their credits like money. There isn't even a social stigma to make them stand out as any more glum or destitute than anybody else. Last week, the Associated Press reported that America's official poverty rate likely has hit levels not seen since the 1960s. Surveying several economists and academicians, the wire service predicted the poverty rate would come in as high as 15.7% when the Census Bureau releases it in September. That would wipe out all the gains of President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty. Poverty is another word for joblessness, and our economy hasn't been generating enough decent-paying jobs for many years. Globalization, technology, outsourcing, immigration and the schemes of financiers have taken their toll. No one is certain when jobs will come back, and many of the jobs that remain don't pay anywhere near what, say, your average failing CEO gets paid.