The generally accepted definition of a recession has been two successive quarters of negative GDP growth. At this point, the Oxford dictionary still reflects this commonly known definition. Why the word “still” in the last sentence? Wikipedia has changed its definition, and so has Mirriam-Webster.
This is all about an inconvenient truth. No, not the Al Gore one; this is the Joe Biden one.
Recent polling data reflects Joe Biden as having the lowest approval rating of any elected president at this point in his presidency. With mid-term elections around the corner, a recession is very inconvenient.
In a recent White House media briefing on the 27th of July 2022, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre argued with a media representative about the definition of a recession. Her words were, “the textbook definition of a recession is not, is not, (yes, she repeated “is not”) two negative quarters of GDP”. Technically she is correct because she left the word “growth” off the end of her sentence. But that is semantics; this is a case of obvious gaslighting.
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where you are manipulated into not believing your own experience and emotions. You are told that what is happening in front of your eyes is, in fact, not happening.
Ultimately this is an accountability problem. Governments all around the world are refusing to take responsibility for their actions. A major contributing factor to the recession in the US was the pandemic lockdown. Shutting down the economy in the interest of “saving lives” has arguably had unintended consequences far beyond what politicians could imagine. After all, politicians operate on short-term election cycles. The priority of getting re-elected far exceeds the need for long-term economic stability.
What are the implications of changing definitions of words based on the whim of politicians? One would argue that this is essential information if a major economy like the USA is “officially” in a recession. The problem is that in the US, the corporate media all have a left-leaning bias and toe the party line into deceiving their audiences that there is no recession.
What would the media say if Trump was in office under the same circumstances? The answer is obvious. The corporate media would be trumpeting the fact the US is in a recession. No one would be entertaining arguments about the definition of a recession.
Now more than ever, you need to trust yourself and have trusted sources that are not the corporate media or the government. We will likely see more gaslighting behaviour, especially when politicians are under pressure at the polls.