The Recovery Paradox

Photograph by Peter Hapak for TIME

The old joke among economists is that a recession is when your neighbor loses his job, but a depression is when you lose yours. In the 1980 presidential campaign, Ronald Reagan made the line political by adding, "A recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his." This year, quite a few Republicans are substituting President Obama's name for Carter's. But the real question is, When do people feel that we're in a recovery? Is it when your neighbor gets a job and you get a raise? If so, we're not there yet. The unemployment rate is still high. The housing market is...

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