Over the last several months, there’s been some question about the direction of the economy. Was the economy going up, down or nowhere? The economic numbers were grim.

From Robert Reich:

It’s nonsense to think of the economy heading downward again into a double dip when most Americans never emerged from the first dip. We’re still in one long Big Dipper.

More people are out of work today than they were last year, counting everyone too discouraged even to look for work. The number of workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week to highest level since February. Not counting temporary census workers, a total of only 12,000 net new private and public jobs were created in July — when 125,000 are needed each month just to keep up with growth in the population of people who want and need to work.

Not since the government began to measure the ups and downs of the busines cycle has such a deep recession been followed by such anemic job growth. Jobs came back at a faster pace even in March 1933 after the economy started to “recover” from the depths of the Great Depression. Of course, that job growth didn’t last long. That recovery wasn’t really a recovery at all. The Great Depression continued. And that’s exactly my point. The Great Recession continues.

Even investors are beginning to see reality. Starting in February the stock market rallied because corporate profits were rising briskly. Investors didn’t mind that profits were coming from payroll cuts, foreign sales, and gimmicks like share buy-backs — none of which could be sustained over the long term. But the rally died in April when investors began to see how paper-thin these profits actually were. And now the stock market is back to where it was at the start of the year.

Yet, in spite of all this evidence, there are no major initiatives coming out of Congress. Every time you turn on the TV, the talking heads are telling you that they don’t want to spend any more money. They’re talking to you about cutting the deficit. It is as if cutting the deficit somehow magically creates jobs. It doesn’t. Cutting the deficit will not spur economic growth in the short term. What we need is jobs, now. We need elected officials to stop working on getting reelected and start working on fixing the economy.