July 11th, 2008
06:01 PM ET

A “mental” recession vs. a real one?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

John McCain didn't need this. Former senator Phil Gramm, McCain's campaign co-chairman and one of his economic advisers said the U.S. is only going through a "mental recession." No problem.

Gramm also called the United States "a nation of whiners." McCain is actually quite capable of saying stupid things on his own… he really doesn't need Phil Gramm to help him. Gramm later said he was referring to U.S. leaders as "whiners," not ordinary Americans – but that's not what he said. Gramm also stood by his comments on a mental recession, saying we haven't measured negative growth – it's simply all in our minds.

McCain, he couldn't distance himself from the comments fast enough, saying he strongly disagreed and that Gramm didn't speak for him. But Phil Gramm is advising him on the economy and is co-chairing his run for the White House.

Phil Gramm has now made it much more difficult for McCain to prove to the average citizen that he feels their pain, and it reinforces the perception that wealthy Republicans are out of touch with what most Americans are dealing with. Gramm's remarks come after McCain himself said earlier this year that the economy isn't his strong suit and after he insisted the fundamentals of the economy remain strong.

Tell that to the millions of Americans who are grappling with record energy costs and gas prices, the housing and credit crises, a loss of jobs, increase in unemployment, a slumping stock market, inflation, a falling dollar, the drain from two wars and on and on.

It's Friday afternoon and we need your help here…

Here’s my question to you: What's the difference between a "mental" recession and a real one?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Thomas from Ohio writes:
A mental recession is having someone tell you the economy is really hell out here in the heartland, while your wife rakes in millions from her beer distributorship and you make your money off the taxpayer, the guy who’s having a real recession and drinking his troubles away.

Derrick writes:
A mental recession is something the rich experience when they’re out of Grey Poupon. The other is for everyday Americans.

Don from Temecula, California writes:
A mental recession is when you see your neighbor struggling financially. A real recession is when you are struggling financially. Enough said.

Dean writes:
It's a "mental" recession to the 1% of the U.S. population that has 95% of the money here in the United States.

Alison writes:
I guess a mental recession is when you have nightmare that your 401K is disappearing before your eyes. A real recession is when you wake up and you realize you were not dreaming at all, that your 401K rate of return since Jan is -7%.

Bill writes:
Jack, A mental recession is worrying about your stock in GM going down... a real recession is worrying about how you're going to pay for gas for that old GM of yours.

Dick writes:
Apparently, I only "think" I'm hungry.

Merinda writes:
Oh that's easy: in an economic recession, you lose your shirt (house, job savings). In a mental recession, you lose your mind (sanity, peace of mind, feelings of well being). Gramm is already there.

James writes:
A "mental" recession is what the Republicans are feeling. A real recession is what the rest of us are feeling.

John writes:
The difference? A couple hundred thousand dollars a year.

Filed under: Economy • Recession
soundoff (219 Responses)
  1. J.D. in NH

    A mental recession is a fabulously wealthy political consultant learning his dividend checks will be a little short this month. A real recession is an empty refrigerator on Wednesday when you get paid on Friday.

    July 11, 2008 at 1:47 pm |
  2. Terry, Dallas Texas

    Mental recession. GIVE ME A BREAK!!! Does this mean that we can suddenly "wish away" all the high gas and grocery pricies? It only it were that easy. McCain and his advisors are so OUT OF TOUCH. What a joke! It's very much real when our family has to decide what "not" to buy at the grocery store in order to eat for the week. It's real when I think about not having health insurance and praying to God that I don't get sick or need to be hospitalized. It's real when I ride the rail system to look for work instead of driving for fear of not being able to afford gas. Naturally this is so far from reality for a nominee whose wife has MILLIONS to rely upon.

    July 11, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  3. Redfoot, Hazlet, NJ.

    Jack.....I can't believe the BS I read,hear and see on TV.Where are these People From ????? This country is INSANE and Keeps going MORE and MORE. Are You as FRUSTATED as I AM ???

    I've given UP on OUR Government and this Administration. What were they Thinking and STILL thinking.

    We Really NEED TO CHANGE THIS WHOLE CONGRESS AND SENATE. Get these FOOLS out and put some NEW IDEAS to work.

    The republicans want to DRILL us out of the OIL Problem. That's NOT the PROBLEM ! we New Renewable Energy. Wind, Solar, Bio Fuels whatever Not MORE OIL domestic or imported. Why can't They Understand we're spending TRILLIONS for Foriegn OIL.

    They'll NEVER LEARN !!

    July 11, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  4. Michael Smith, New Orleans

    A mental recession is what the aristocrats think the little people are going through these days. A real recession is what President Bush's policies created for our children and grandchildren to pay for while he sits in his rocking chair in Crawford, Texas.

    July 11, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  5. Bill (FL)


    A mental recession is what the administration wants us to believe. A real recession is what the majority of Americans are currently experiencing on a daily basis.

    July 11, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  6. Michelle- Washington, DC

    Maybe John McCain can answer that one since his energy plan would provide for "psychological" relief. I, however, think the term "mental" recession is an offensive term to suffering average Americans that is being thrown out there by Republicans so they don't look quite as bad. All I know is the economy right now is TERRIBLE and us young people with mountains of loans to repay (for the education we're supposed to get to make enough money to pay them back) are looking for real answers; not a bald assertion that the pinch we are all feeling is only "mental".

    July 11, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
  7. Ed Reed

    A "mental recession" is when a politician, who has enriched himself through government service, says "Let them eat cake." A "real recession" is when the people bring back the guillotine and lop his head off.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    July 11, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
  8. Shannon Wadding, St. Paul, MN

    To the rich and powerful such as McCain and his envoy, the recession is a mental recession, but to the 80% of the American poor the recession is a reality leading to depression.

    July 11, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
  9. Corinne, Stockton, CA

    I really think it depends on if you are a Republican or Democrat. Republicans have always seen themselves as the party of small government and pull yourself up by your boot straps. We have seen what happens when you have a Pres. that lowers standards to help big business, we are paying for it now.

    Democrats believe the government should protect the public from all the things we see happening to us now.

    Republicans- mental recessing
    Democrats- a very real one

    July 11, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  10. Karen-Phoenix

    McCain, his wife and his whole bunch are sooooo fare out of touch with America!!!! I live in AZ and would NEVER think of voting for McCain and I'm a registered republican!!!!

    July 11, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  11. Bert, Iowa City, IA

    A mental recession is when very rich people who make millions every year do not really care that gas is four bucks as long as there is enough jet fuel for them to fly first class whenever and whereever they disire. They cant quite comprehend that most of us have reduced our standard of living and our consumption of all kinds of goods and services we formerly took for granted so that we can put gas in the clunker to get to work. It is a mental condition of the wealthy whom have no concept of how real people all over this nation are struggling to get by.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  12. Michael In Maine

    Every economic indicator says America is in an economic recession. The only "Mental Recession" that’s happening is with the GOP! (Grand Old Poops!)

    July 11, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  13. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    A mental recession is what fat cats such as the McCain's and his ilk THINK we're going through because they aren't suffering at all. It must be in OUR heads because THEY'RE doing fine. They can just start putting Prozac in our water supply and everything will be just dandy.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  14. Helena

    I would like for the republican nominee and his heiress wife to trade places with a family living at or below the poverty level for 1 week and then answer your question.

    Clearwater, FL

    July 11, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  15. Allen L Wenger

    A mental recession is one that only effects the poor and middle class. It doesn't become a real recession until it effects some people who know senators and lobbyists. Until the elite start to hurt, it's only mental.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  16. Warren - Detroit, MI

    "Mental Recession" is fancy lawyer talk for "Recession".

    July 11, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  17. Dave in Astoria

    Jack...These people are completely out of touch, and they seem to be from the GOP. IF they are re-installed in the White House this fall, then we will truly experience the complete and total destruction of the American way of life. This isn't a "mental" thing people are feeling; this is real and getting worse. McCain and Gram are the "ELITE" and the ones "OUT OF TOUCH"....don't you think?

    July 11, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  18. Caryn, Washington DC

    It's a mental recession to John McCain who admitted that he doesn't even know what the price of gas is. His favorite phrase is," But that's not really important". Well listen up buddy...it's important to a lot of us.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  19. Dave in Dallas

    A mental recession is a luxury I can't afford due to the real costs of gas, food, and other basic necessities. But what would I know, I'm just a whiner.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  20. Josh in Sylvania, Ohio

    An mental recession, Jack it goes to show you that McCain and Gramm are idiots. I hope they don't say that in Ohio because they would get run out of this state for saying that nonsense. The GOP are definitely in a mental recession because they are failing to see the real "recession" the average American has to deal with as a result of the GOP and George W Bush's reckless politicies and constant catering to BIg Business. We definitely need Democrats to win this year and have them fix the damage Bush has done to this country as well as the world.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  21. Frank from Peterborough

    The only thing mental about this recession is the Republican Party and their elitist members. Gramm just said what the rest of these money grabbers believe and that is what's mental while the general public get to experience the hardships real recession foists upon them.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  22. James from Virginia

    i think the mental recession is in John McCains mind. He actually thinks there is no issue here and that he will win come November.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  23. Linda in Florida

    None of our elected officials live in the real world. Do you think any of them have to pay to fill the tanks of their gas guzzlers, worry about where money for groceries is coming from, or whether there will be social security, medicare, etc., available when their time comes?

    July 11, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  24. Jenny Rome Ga

    Maybe Mr Gramm and John Mccain have a mental recession. I know for a fact, we are having some kind of problem economically. Recession, Depression I do not know nor do I care what it is called. We as a country are in big time eeconomic trouble. We are luck. We own our home and all of our cars. My husband and I have jobs that are reasonalby secure. We arae in the growing minority. I work for the Labor Dept and Every day I get more and more scared because of the people coming in filing for unemployment and looking for work. It is terrorfying.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  25. Gramma Faye /Idaho

    I never have figured out why there is such a long time element and strange way to figure out recessions. I would say we have been in one for yrs. And it is not in my mind but it sure can screw over your mind. Then to have someone say that it's all in your mind means that they are the ones that are out of touch with reality and are over due for a mental evaluation.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  26. Ben, Chicago IL

    A 'mental' recession is when your personal situation is a real recession.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  27. Frank North Bay

    "Mental recession" is a term used by those in power to keep their constituents or subordinates at bay during a crisis in order to maintain their control. It puts the onus for the problem and responsibility for changing it on the public. Those in power can therefore wash their hands of the problem and imagine themselves blameless.

    "Real recession" is the pain and suffering experienced by the body politic because of the arrogance and greedy economic policies of the powerful and their lackies.

    "Real change" is the process by which "real recession" is recognized by all and they all take responsibility for correcting it to the point that fairness and equality is perceived.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  28. Uche

    What do you think would have happened if Obama's top economic adviser called America "a nation of whinners"? By now the entire news media would have been calling for Obama to "cut him loose". I honestly think there is a double standards in the coverage of controversial comments coming both presidential hopefuls. Macain's blunders are conveniently ignored especially in the cable news programs while Obama's are often blown out of proportion.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  29. James D. Cary NC

    Jack, a real recession is when the price of commuting to work doubles, but your wage stays the same. A "Mental recession" is the modern equivalent of saying "Let them eat cake".

    July 11, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  30. John in Atlanta

    HUH?!!! I wish I could write a comment, but I'm still stuck on the phrase "Mental Recession." And the fact that they meant it! Let's all just start saying our prayers, because we have finally gone over the edge.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  31. mike from tx

    lies and politics, they like identical twins. democrats are the crips and the republicans are the bloods and they are ruining the neighborhood. mental recession i don't know, if you are mentally sound you have to love the prices going up. I know i do i am anxious to know how much i can take before i can live on the streets. Happy days ahead....

    July 11, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  32. Mike Nunn - Hot Springs, Ar.

    When you are a rich person who loses a few bucks that do not matter it is a mental recession. When you are a poor person who is living in his car if he has one, it is a real recession. Take away a rich man's wealth and see what he says then.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  33. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    The only thing "mental" here is the John & Phil economic show. The only good economic move McCain has made in his lifetime is when he married into big bucks. Unfortunately, not all of us have that opportunity.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  34. Paul, Brooklyn NY

    As an economic scholar (I graduated from the School Of Hard Knocks) I can say with certainty that a mental recession is what you get when the electorate votes for the candidate with whom they want to have a beer. A real recession is what you get when you vote against your own interests and for him a second time because of fear. A great depression, (the likes of which this country has not seen in 80 years,) is what you get when you vote for his clone because of fear and/or prejudice. That would be strike three for sure.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  35. Ray Kinserlow

    I personally want to thank Phil Gramm for being the idiot he's always been. A few more goofs like that and Osama Bin Laden could beat McCain in the Fall.

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    July 11, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  36. Terry from North Carolina

    Did they drag Alan Greenspan out of the old folks home to come up with this phrase ? This recession is reality, no food on the table, no gas in the car and a stack of unpaid bills on the table, and yet we have been accused of being " whining Americans".

    July 11, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  37. Da Captain

    A real recession would be people on this site saving their 40 dollar per month internet access fee for food and fuel... it must not be that bad yet.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  38. Mickie in Philadelphia, PA

    Jack, the difference is whether you don't have to worry because your spouse has set up enough trust funds to last you a lifetime or you are one of us poor working stiffs that McCain keeps trying to convince he relates to our "pain". Of course if you are part of the republican give away you are not in a recession, unless you get caught trying to pick up men in the men's room, then you're in a mental recession. Give me a break.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  39. Shirley-Ohio

    A mental recession is when you walk around wondering how you are going to pay your bills. The real ressession is when you actually get the bill in you hand and can't pay it.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  40. Major Michael Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: A simple answer;

    Congress---–mental recession
    Current Economy of the Nation---–a real one

    July 11, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  41. Jill

    While I'm sure the media plays a large part in making things seem worse than they really are (no offense), there's no way to argue with the fact that more and more people are unemployed, gas prices are going up every other day, and the stock market is lower than it has been in ages. Maybe the economy has 80 year cycles...

    July 11, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  42. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx


    July 11, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  43. Nick - Cary, North Carolina

    A mental recession is when you have it good and others are hurting. A real recession is when you are hurting.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  44. Kristen- Philadelphia, PA

    Mental recession is what rich republicans go through when the rest of America is going through a real recession. I have news for them though people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Yes they might be feeling comfortable now but only God knows what will happen tomorrow. Instead of throwing insults at folks hurting how about they get off their fat wallets and help out. But no that would be too much like right.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  45. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    Phil Gramm and John McCain are having a mental recession.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  46. Take America Barack

    A mental recession is what American have been dealing with in the White House for the last eight years that now continues with McLame.

    A real one? My life. Five years ago my income was close to $200,000 a year. I owned two houses worth $1.8 millon and a assisted living home and no credit card debt. Today, the houses are gone, the business is gone, my income is now $60,000 a year (working at the same job) I've had to take $25,000 out of an IRA and I'm $20,000 in credit card debt and I live in a 900 sq ft apartment.

    Maybe it's just mental and I'm hallucinating.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  47. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    The rich and powerful have the "mental recessions". The rest of us get the real ones.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  48. Chuck in Eugene Oregon


    A mental recession is what the fat cats call a rotten economy when they are unable to face reality of the accumulation of their screw up. A real recession is what we are all going through as a direct result of the political powers inablility to one face the reality of the economic situation as well as take action to resolve it.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  49. Larry, Ohio

    Jack,I was thinking this morning watching as the news reporting on the country's recession,wow!(there really isn"t one yet),And then the very next story was about people lining up to waste 200 dollars a pop on the new I-Phone and 70 dollars a month for a basic service.It occurs to me that people have forgotten what is want and what is need.Maybe Phil Gramm was right and we just can't or don't want hear him!!!!!

    July 11, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  50. Jim Tx.

    A mental recession is for the Republicans an a real one is what all the rest of us are in.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  51. John in San Diego

    Jacck, a "mental recession" would be defined as replacing Bush with McCain.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  52. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    I live in what used to be Gramm's district in Texas. I can tell you one thing for sure. It ain't the recession that's mental.
    It's Phil Gramm that's mental.

    Pablo in Arlington, Texas

    July 11, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  53. Gigi in Alabama

    Phil Gramm is a mental case period! He and the rest of the Bush administration are so far removed from the average American that they can't (or won't) see that people are hurting for just the necessities of life. You know, things such as food, health care, a roof over their head or a job that pays enough to care for their families.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  54. Dave from Mission Viejo,California

    A "mental recession" is when someone else has fallen on hard times. An "actual recession" is when you have fallen on hard times. By the way, the ghost of Herbert Hoover was recently seen meeting with Administration and Congressional leaders to map out an economic strategy.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  55. Jerry Roselle, Illinois

    Being the first one or the last one in the Buffet line.
    Oh, I thought you were talking about Meal recession!

    July 11, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  56. Susan from Greenfield, Wi.

    A mental recession is loss of all hope for the American dream, and the future of the nation.
    A real recession is the cause and effect of the mental recession which is well on it's way to a real depression.
    " Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what can you do for your country". That was a great concept, and even greater words. The mental recession will lift from the people of this nation when we witness this concept honered by our corporations, and our elected officials. Those words were not uttered for just the minions to follow.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  57. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    I thought when people aged they grew in wisdom. But it just never seems to work with Republicans. They just get whiney.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  58. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Senator Graham or Phil needs to go see someone like the TV doctor with the same name or as McCain said early on go back to school to get new training as obviously neither of them understand anything about the economy or the issues that we are facing today. But what can we expect from people that are rich, very rich.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  59. don in Naples, Florida

    the people that are saying we are not in a recession are those that have received the lion's share of all the tax breaks. Jack, you and I both know who this is. look among the common folk, you see increased costs of living across the board, whether it be energy, housing, property taxes, housing insurances, etc. Maybe Bush hasn't raised front door taxation (income taxes) but all the backdoor means of taxation has skyrocketed. The national debt has only gone up under MR. BUSH, even with the largest tax revenues in u.s. history. The unfortunate thing is that we are only seeing the beginning.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  60. Linda in Virginia

    A real recession allows me to be unemployed for over six months because there are no jobs and when interviewers are asked how many applicants they have had it's in the 100's. Congress extends unemployment benefits because people can't find jobs. Restaurants don't have patrons, motels don't have visitors, seats are empty in movie theaters, truckers give up and park their trucks, auto makers and airlines are in trouble, people are losing their homes, and the only people that are making money is the repo-man and politians. A mental recession does not exist.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  61. BillD

    Let's see, Jack. A real recession is when you have an contracting economy like ours where businesses are laying off, closing down, and cutting back. A real recession is when inflation is approaching double digits – of course inflation figures put out by this administration don't include food and energy (which are up by over 25%). A real recession is where our dollar is plummeting, people aren't spending money, and thousands of us lose our jobs every month.

    A mental recession is one where people who are so well off they don't notice the suffering of others. A few such people are John McCain who advocates several 'psychological" approaches to our problems and Phil Graham who advises McCain, helped create the mess we're in, and accuses the rest of us of "whining".

    July 11, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  62. Vivian Fauntleroy, Largo MD

    Jack - A mental recession is one where the architects thereof would prefer to disassociate themselfves from their "prized" creation. An actual rececession is when one knows one can no longer keep the wolf from his/her door and notices that all of their friends and neighbors are in the same leaky boat singing "there's a hole in the bucket."

    July 11, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  63. John

    I think this was a lame attempt to borrow from FDR's famous speech when he said "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself".

    Fort Collins, CO

    July 11, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  64. Vivian Fauntleroy, Largo MD

    Jack - A mental recession is one where the architects thereof would prefer to disassociate themselves from their "prized" creation. An actual recession is when one knows one can no longer keep the wolf from his/her door and notices that all of their friends and neighbors are in the same leaky boat singing "there's a hole in the bucket."

    July 11, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  65. Pat,Lexington, Ky.

    I'll bet ol' Phil Gramm is doing some whining himself today! His remarks make it even clearer that he and McCain are so far removed from the majority of the American people that it is sickening! I've noticed that McCain says things like "Americans are hurting" and "they" need a change, etc. I don't hear him saying "WE" need a change – talk about an elitist!

    July 11, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  66. Bob in Boise

    I don't know what should be done in Iran, but I do know that Bush shouldn't do it. Besides the fact that Bush has failed at everything he has attempted, he easily gets his intelligence information straight. He hires old cronies instead of qualified officials, he refuses to change course of correct mistakes when they are obvious, and he kids himself into believing that he is protecting Americans when he is doing the opposite. He should call both Obama and McCain together and let them participate because one or the other of them is going to have to clean up his mess.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  67. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    Come on Jack you know darn well it is only a mental recession when John McCain's answer to the problems of Americans was to VETO Beer.

    You will know we are in a real recession if TV personalities like Ed McMahon have thier mansions' foreclosed upon by the banks.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  68. Lil from TN

    This is just another example of how out of touch "Grandpa Munster" (Bill Maher's expression) is with the real world. I don't know about you, but I want someone whose economic advisors read the economy for what it is: a really rough time for those of us earning a living. I'm not saying that 71 is a "geezer" - I'm 55 and I'm sure there are 71-year-old people who are still vital and on top of things, but surely we don't need someone who isn't computer savvy, who thinks that drilling off our coasts is an answer to our energy crisis, or who has advisors who think this recession isn't real to run the country.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  69. Jo

    I agree with the comment from Uche. There definitely seems to be quite a double standard in the tv cable news coverage when it comes to McCain & Obama. Maybe they make allowances for McCain due to his age. They sure are all over Obama for every little thing! I do think the GOP is 'receding mentally." I can't wait for November when they will be whining because they did not win.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  70. T. G. from the virgin islands

    A mental recession is when President Bush and the Republican party believe that the economy is stable and we are only going through an "economic slow-down". A real recession is when the rest us are struggling to pay for our homes, our gas, and our food, while we are hoping to keep our jobs.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  71. Jaime

    Mental recession is a euphamism for one man's disgust with people who aren't buying into the spin that everything is fine with the economy, when the rest of us are in the middle of a real one.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  72. Bruce in OR

    The people driving our "Bus of State" have their heads in the fully up and locked position about what is going on with the voters of America.

    This coming election is truely "vote with a vengeance" time or it's over!!

    July 11, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  73. Joe St Louis, MO


    The difference is the same as Mccains wife and My wife.

    Joe St Louis

    July 11, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  74. Dave in Saint Louis

    100% mental recession....Those in the media that want Obama to win so bad they try to scare everyone into believing the economy is worst than it really is and that hurts the Bush approval rating which in turn helps the Democrats win in November. The donkeys and the press are fear mongering with the economy. This is also called making a deal

    July 11, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  75. Annie, Atlanta

    These people are so wealthy it's impossible to relate to the average American citizen out here. Gramm is the man McCain has chosen to formulate his ECONOMIC PLAN! We're stomping right into Bush territory here: care for your rich friends and supporters, and the rest be damned.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  76. Cynthia

    Heck Jack, a mental ression – tell that to the person whose home has been forclosed on, the person who lost their job and can't find another one as fast as they need to in order to be able to feed their family, tell that to the person having trouble coming up with the money to put gas in their car to get to work. Gramm's comment about a mental recession just shows the he and McCain among others are out of touch with what your everday average citizen in America is facing.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  77. Herb -Texas

    A mental recession occurs when your neighbor loses his job. A real recession occurs when you lose yours.

    There would be a lot less talk of recession if there were a lot fewer cable news networks.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  78. Terrance in Hartville, MO

    Jack, there is no difference to the working men and women of this country, either way we all feel the weight of it on our backs and our pockets. Someone needs to slap the guy who made that coment and tell him to wake up, and stop living in a Republican dream world.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  79. Tom, Avon, Maine, The Heart of Democracy

    A mental recession is something Republicans can only imagine. With Bush's tax cuts for the rich, the largesse extended to Big Oil, the no bid contracts awarded to Halliburton, no Republican is going to experience the recession.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  80. Caycee

    A mental recession is an imaginary state where whiners congregate and moan about their delusional, and sorry state of affairs. A real recession is back to back u-turns in the measurement of GDP, as unemployment and inflation ramp up, while the dollar falls down. Both types are pretty grim futures.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  81. mike, ohio

    It’s the difference between the Republican party’s recession (the mental one) and the rest of us (the real one).

    July 11, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  82. chris gray

    It reminds me of the "let them eat cake" comment made a few centuries back. This is the motto of the Republican party. A party loaded with apathy for the poor and the different. They need a baptism of social consciousness. This is the only hope to open their eyes to the pains and suffering of the average Joe. No one wants a public beheading. Lets start the revolution American by marching our butts to the ballot boxes in November.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  83. Ade

    Jack, a mental recession is when the common man "whines" for losing his job, home, and meals and he cannot afford to buy gas and pay his bills. A real recession is when congressmen, weathy politicians and CEOs cannot afford lavish lifestyles they are used to.

    Columbus, Ohio

    July 11, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  84. Glen in Laurel, MD


    Economists talk in psychological terms–panic, consumer confidence, irrational exhuberance, etc.–for good reason. The numbers are driven by psychology, but that doesn't make them any less real. That was Gramm's mistake.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  85. Dan, Maryland

    A mental recession is when a politician like Graham or McCain isn't affected so they don't see the affects. A real recession is what the average person can testify to right now.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  86. Diane Glasser

    The definition of a mental recession is the imaginary one seen through magic glasses worn by Bush and McCain that project an outlook that the economy is perfect. While the real recession is the one we have been in since at least last year and that Obama's campaign and the American voters are trying to unmask from the eyes of die heart Republican Party members. Diane from PA

    July 11, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  87. Kerry Diehl

    It’s as simple as “Mind over Matter” …..If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!

    What especially Senator/Phd. Gramm along with the rest of “them” (elitists on both political sides) don’t realize is that our current economical downturn is very real and “touching” most of us Americans very deeply.

    We’ve been “touched” by these indifferent and corrupt politicians along with elitist CEO’s and special interest groups for way too long in a way that is no different than the actions of pedophiles!

    Yes we (average Americans) mind, and it does matter!!!

    kerry diehl
    grosse ile, mi

    July 11, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  88. Rosalynd Florida

    Phil Gramm's comment on Americans as whinners and a mental recession is the short definition of the GOP. These guys are so out of touch with reality it boggles the mind.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  89. Ray, Florida


    I don't think John McCain, and the word mental, should should be uttered in the same sentence. People might get idea's!

    July 11, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  90. bailey

    A mental recession is worse than an economic recession; just look at the life long damage on poor people from inner city blacks and Hispanics to eastern Europe and sub Sahara Africa. Ironically both recessions are real, even though politicians like Gramm would have us believe one is a figment of imaginations. We can make it out of an economic recession or depression but a mental one might last for generations. I too hope Mr. Gramm is wrong.


    July 11, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  91. Amarissa

    The real one, is going on right now with gas prices, loss of jobs, dollar downfall, etc. The mental one, is what Obama supporters show us every day!
    Amarissa, Florida

    July 11, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  92. Ryan, Champaign IL

    Perhaps he means that we are all going insane due to the economic catastrophy the GOP has brought to us.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  93. Teri in FL

    A 'mental recession' is what happens when you believe the Republicans – your mental facilities trend downwards, and you may or may not recover from it. A 'real recession' is a period of painful compromises that result in better days eventually. I'm sure we'll get out of the real recession eventually -if we elect Obama, starting in January 2009 the global economy will reward the US. If not, and the rest of the world sees us electing McCain, you can then start asking questions about real versus mental Depression.

    Palm Coast, FL

    July 11, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  94. Mikey P From L.A.

    Jack, Have Dr. Phil Wannabe give up his high paying job and his government comfort lifestyle and live like ordinary Americans, just for a month. Then he will see what is mental and what is not, sides himself!
    \Oh, Jack, stop taking days off. I don't watch if you're not there.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  95. Robert W. Brooks


    When President Roosevelt said "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." he was talking about the "mental" repercussions of the Great Depression. We are currently in a real recession, but we don't need to put our heads in the sand. It's time for strong, positive leadership from business leaders, the government and the American public to overcome this recession. The recession is real but so is a positive mental attitude.

    Forest, VA

    July 11, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  96. George

    It only pertains to the people who say that we are now in a "mental" recession. That statement shows that these are the people who are really in a "mental" recession. These are the people who tell us it is all in our minds. Who in their RIGHT minds would think that this is only in our minds? Guess they are not feeling the pinch, If you don't fell the pinch, then you definately are in a "Mental" recession..

    July 11, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  97. B.E.Lahmon Jackson MS

    well I guess most rich people don't have to face the reality of living in the real world I'm not implying that there's anything wrong with having money but I guess if you've got enough of it ,you could lose touch with thoes who don't have it made like you do maybe that's the case with that guy I don't know but an impending resession looks pretty real to me and I don't claim to be the expert that guy is.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  98. AndyZ Fairfax, VA

    A mental recession is wondering if you have enough float on your credit card to get a gasolinf fill up. A real one is finding out your credit card was turned down.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  99. Karen, Idaho Falls Idaho

    Hi Jack,

    The "mental" recession is the concept of the rich folks who have no idea what it feels like to worry about how to survive in this economy. The "real" recession belongs to the rest of us.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  100. Harry

    A "mental" recession is imaginary. So is the "mentally aloof" Gramm's "political astuteness".

    A real recession is a "pain in the rear" for a lot of Americans and Gramm thinks we are a bunch whiners. Gramm is just a "real pain", for McCain and the Republicans.

    So now, McCain is trying to distance himself from Gramm. Is this considered whining?


    July 11, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  101. Buster in Poughkeepsie, NY

    Finally, a question I can answer. An "actual" recession is when you have two consecutive quarters of negative growth. A "mental" recession is when you, uh, errr...what was the question again Jim?

    July 11, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  102. janet in oklahoma

    Maybe it is to a millionaire like Phil Gramm, but to the common folk it's real.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  103. Don in Buda, TX

    This is an easy one Jack:
    When one is in a "mental" recession you vote for McCain, stay in Iraq for a 100 yrs. keep W's tax cuts and balance the budget in your 1st term. In a "real" recession you vote for Obama, tighten your belt and say "what can I do to help fix this mess"

    July 11, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  104. Marie Ontario

    Gramm is right otherwise the U.S. wouldn't be spending billions of dollars in Iraq unless there weren't any serious problems in America. Only a certified lunatic would continue spending these amounts of monies on a foreign country if his own society was in recession.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  105. tom meyers

    i dont know. maybe we should ask opec!!!!!!!!!

    July 11, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  106. William Courtland, Waterford, ON

    These are all your problems and solutions can be presented to Congress. These problems are not the Presidents business unless it threatens the post or trade, or is found warranted within an amendment to the Constitution, as it is only The Presidents business when it is already or about to be in the Constitution.

    1.)A mental recession would be due to the low survival rate of geniuses.
    2.)The comparative level of conscience choice (after lesson and noted or related woes of mistake of sin(criminal activity) verse: where we are when in between a perfect world through time and anihiliation.

    A mental bond exists about the forbodding nature of oil limits which manifests as a discomfort, anxiety, and becomes fear with the pressure placed on current social capitalist system.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  107. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Pain is defined as the difference between the way we want it to be and the way that it really is. The way Gramm and McCain and their mentor GW want it to be is fantacy versus the reality of what is happening now and will continue to happen, fewer jobs with NAFTA, higher prices at the pump and grocery store. It's too bad the election isn't next Tuesday and the new president and Congress sworn in next Wednesday as I don't know how we will be able to last for another 6 plus months.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  108. Emma, San Jose, CA

    The difference is denial. Gramm is a man of means and does not share the burden of a failed economy. If McCain were not running for President, he would probably not object. We remember his stance on not wanting to help people who he sees as using bad financial judgement. Actually, it was the lenders who used poor judgement. How easy for the wealthy to criticize.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  109. Cindie

    mental recession vs a real recession?

    "mental recession" as in... a disorder existing in the mind: images of a happy economy abound you. Even though you are eating well, and in good health, and can afford fuel, you belong to the top 10 percent of the Nation and can afford it. Unfortunately you never lived in the bottom 30 to 50 percent of the population, So you have the mentality that... What you can not see, hear, or speak of to the failing economy "never happened". People suffering from a mental recession think a recession is all a pipe dream.

    "economic recession" as in... existing in the wallet. real economic eyeball images of happier times are no more than a dream. You are not eating well, health is fading or non existing you can not afford fuel. Because you can no longer afford them they are now called luxuries, and your politicians are all suffering from mental recession. See mental recession above for definition.

    South Georgia

    July 11, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  110. wally Ruehmann las Vegas nv

    i remember when my grandparents lost every dime they had in the bank in 1929.... i learned from that Ive emptied my bank accounts. its cash and carry for me..

    July 11, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  111. Aaron B.; Champaign, IL

    Aren't you supposed to have a "fun" question on Friday afternoons?

    July 11, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  112. Ed in East Canaan, CT

    Jack: Marx (Karl, not Groucho) prophesized that the rich would get rich and the poor would get poorer. Once again, he was only partly right. In addition to getting richer, Gramm's comments show they're getting more arrogant and callous as well. Then again, we are talking Republicans here.

    July 11, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  113. dan

    we need a real person as president. not more money grabbers.

    July 11, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  114. Raymond Duke/Gatesville,Tx.

    I sure don't agree with Phil Gramm. There is a recession in part of the United States. First thing to do is never listen to an economist. Get a good educated housewife in to run the budget. Throw out all the crooks in Washington D.C. and get fresh blood. Last , quite trying to save the world with foriegn aid, let the ones who will not correct their countrys perish as nature intended. and, instead of fighting a war with all this fancy technology and spending billions use them cheap , antiquated nuclear bombs to solve the problem.

    July 11, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  115. dennis hunter

    a mental recession is when we re-elect the same people time after time. a real recession is when you can not afford to buy food or medicine when we need them. we are in both recessions.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:00 pm |
  116. Jesse

    Hi Jack,

    I can barely keep a straight face while I type this... the only thing metal about this recession is the fact that we have imbeciles running the country who care more about bailing out Wall street then main street.

    I would just love to see the FBI arrest the boards of all these fraudulent banks and mortgage companies (Country Wide, Bear Sterns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Leman Brothers... etc)

    Can anyone explain why we are bailing out and giving 15 or 20 chances to companies who have created all the economic problems of this country??

    Seattle Wa.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:01 pm |
  117. Sean

    Ask someone who just lost their job if they REALLY lost it or if it's just an imagined condition. I can't believe the nerve of the GOP and it's spinmasters...nor the denial of unemployed people that vote for Sen McCain.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:02 pm |
  118. Ray { Chesapeake City }

    Jack this is so mental I don't think I can afford a good shrink any more, let along drive to his office. can you?

    July 11, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  119. Ron Feuer, Charlotte, NC

    The state of the union is what is meant by an actual recession. With Bush, we have seen the devaluation of the mental ability of a human being to function as president of this country. It is time to stimulate growth of a real brain that can get this country back to mental competence after eight years of being in the drink...literally.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:07 pm |
  120. Dean

    It's a "Mental" recession to the 1% of the US population that has 95% of the money here in the United States.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:14 pm |
  121. Dan (Santa Rosa, CA)

    It's simple, Jack. Them that's got don't "get it" and them that don't do "get it". Now I have to run down to the market for a bottle of cheap whine!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:14 pm |
  122. jeanne

    Jack, the difference is in a real recession most American's are choosing between gas and food or needed meds. A mental recession is what all of these rich old white men suffer from after too many years of having everything there way in Washington.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:14 pm |
  123. Jeri Samms


    July 11, 2008 at 6:14 pm |
  124. kay, tx

    Using Phil Gramm's annual income as a barometer, I'd say $500K.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  125. Debra Rich, Washington,DC

    The difference between a real recession and a mental on is easy; the difference is $150,000 a year income. If you make $250,000 or more, we're just having a slow period, mainly because you've only lost a few buck in the market that you'll recoup later. If you make less than $100,000 then is gas prices, food prices, mortgage difficulty, credit card debt with rising interest rates, health insurance worries, etc..... are very real; it's a way of life.

    But if I was Phil Gramm I'd say that too....it's called denial. This way he doesn't acknowledge the contributions that He made to this ecconomy. Starting with Gramm/Rugman which robs our Social Security, and then the bills passed to deregulate the mortgage industry that allowed preditory lending; these two bills alone put many people's future up in the air. But why should he care, he has his retirement from the government, his lobbyist fees and oh, that's right Phill Gramm gets Social Securty, he's set for life. We the people are just mental because we don't have those high paying jobs, but more importantly we voted this boob in office.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  126. Reg in Atlanta

    A mental recession is experienced by the rich. The real one is reserved for the rest of us.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  127. Matt Hicks - Columbus Ohio

    A Real Recession is what the average American is experiencing;
    A Mental Recession is one that only the Rich think about, they never really experience a Real Recession,
    nor do the Politicians!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  128. Marinda S.

    Oh that's easy, in a economic recession, you lose your shirt (house, job savings)

    In a mental recession, you lose your mind (sanity, peace of mind, feelings of well being)

    Gramm is already there.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  129. Shaw Darwish

    A real recession is one created by Bush, McCain and his allies; a mental one is where American voters go back and elect another economically uninformed Republican whose sole qualification is wanting to wage more wars.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  130. Julie

    Only someone with too much money could make a comment like that. Obviously this recession will have virtually no impact on him!! I know for a fact that the majority of americans (those without unlimited resources like the Bushies) are suffering. Pull your rich head out of the oil barrel!!!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  131. Dick Zeeman

    Apparently, I only "think" I'm hungry !!!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  132. Frannie

    It's mental if you are a wealthy Republican or any Washington politician. It's real for the rest of us.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  133. Lee ( in London )

    Hi Jack

    A Mental Recession is the state one is in when you can't admit either the obvious or the truth about the current situation.

    Barack Obama is the best hope of getting the USA out of this appalling mess.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  134. Whit R$ussell

    A 'mental recession' is when your next door neighbor is out of work and you're worried when the 'real recession' hits you'll be out of work.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  135. Tony Olivieri

    It's a matter of perspective. If your head is on your shoulders and you look at the economy, recession is real. If your head is somewhere dark and unpleasent like Mr. Gramms, then it's mental.

    Sidney, OH

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  136. Dan Shanahan

    A mental recession is one where financial leaders brainwash our minds and blame it on the media:) Go long and strong until all is gone:(

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  137. Travis

    Over two thirds of your economy is based on consumer spending. If consumers are not feeling good about the economy they may be less likely to spend and if people are not spending the same kind of money as when they think times are good the economy suffers.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  138. Jeff Crocket

    Gramm is right – listen to yourself complaining at every turn -Whine baby Whine.

    A recession is two quarters of negative (-) growth of which we have had
    None Yet!! And the market is down NOT CRASHED!!

    Whine on!!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  139. mark malidore

    Jack, a real recession is what we american workers are dealing with.. a "mental recession" is what Phil Gramm's mental status is.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  140. Azuma Kalu

    Phil Gramm's comment only goes to show that the wealthy Republicans are out of touch with the realities facing millions of Americans.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  141. W T McLennan

    That's a easy one, Jack. The answer is "around $200,000.00"!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  142. william

    Phil Gram is from Texas as well as George Bush may be they drink the same whine. Unbelivable

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  143. Greg Sprouse

    Jack, That's easy...a recession is two quarters of declining economic growth. A mental recession is more than two decades of failed leadership in Congress.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  144. Jack W. in Sebastian, FL

    Jack, I can't believe you have to ask for an answer to the obvious! A mental recession is one caused by the mental defectives in the current regime!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  145. D Mills Garland, Tx

    Jack, a mental recession is when your CPA forgets to pay one of your bills and a real recession is when I don't have enough money to pay mine, btw which is getting tougher and tougher every pay day, some of our politicians need to get with the real world which is the majority of us.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  146. henri lee

    a mental recession is waking up monday morning with a hang over! a real recession is a pack of chicken wings costing $12.00!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  147. James

    A mental recession............ = John McCain

    A real one ............................. =: George W. Bush

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  148. Dan DeArmond Texas!

    The difference between a mental recession and a real one is only in the minds of government officials who have their insurance, pensions, limo drivers and food.... all paid for by those of us experiencing this "Mental" recession. This sort of language shows the REAL feelings of our elected...and "Wannabe" elected officials.

    Bad! Thats what it is. I have to wonder how much more our country and those of us in the "Real" America can take. There damn sure is no help from uncle sam! Thanks Jack! Dan.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  149. Merlin, Port Richey, FL


    A mental recession is all in your head, a real recession is all in your wallet.

    The is why the wealthy Republican greedmongers can only envision a recession mentally.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  150. George Stone

    Only a mental case like Gramm would make that statement. If he thinks it is a mental problem, all I can say is it takes one to know one.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  151. Bob Morrow, Everett WA

    I think the real 'mental recession' occurs in wealthy politicos having little in common with most Americans. Once they take up residence in Washington they seem to enter another dimension, one where happy little people believe in fairy tales and meekly accept their place in life, leaving all those tough decisions to their betters they return to office year after year.

    Too bad they don't really live happily ever after, reality has a nasty habit of intruding.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  152. Fofie Viban

    Hi Jack,
    This tells me one thing, if our politicians are looking for advisers like phil gramm then we desperately need a change.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  153. Fred... Spring hill, Florida

    The difference between a "mental recession" and a "real one" is a mentally retarded, elitist, greedy former republican senator. It's not just him though, all of the Bush types are exactly like that.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  154. Matt Gravens

    Jack, from what I understand an economic recession is two consecutive quarters of negative growth. We haven't had this yet. So we're not having a "real" recession. But the economy is bad. Energy is a nightmare, and there seems to be little hope in sight. Our only hope is that American innovation will soon kick in, and find a solution to the problems because no one in Washington is going to fix it for us.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  155. Bill Richardson

    Jack, a mental recession is worrying about your stock in GM going down... a real recession is worrying about how you're going to pay for that gas for that old GM of yours.

    And by the way... Phil's got it all wrong. After seeing this sort of stuff coming from the Republicans over the past 8 years – I'm in a full-on mental DEPRESSION!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  156. gareth

    according to the mccain team and all republicans, "whiners" are usually poor non-whites who don't have economic
    privileges like being married to centi-millionaires. You see, it's all in the heads of us regular folk. If we had millions we'd be
    more calm and reasonable like Bush and McSame, I mean McCain.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  157. Roy Franklin

    If you have money there is never a reccession.
    or depression.
    Roy Franklin
    Odessa, Tx

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  158. Mary Ann Miller

    A "mental recession" is what John McCain, Phil Gramm and all the other republicans are suffering from and a "fiscal recession is what all the rest of us are suffering from. Freddy Mac / Fannie Mae, the financial situation of our banks, etc sounds like the tolling of the bell for a "Depression". Anybody agree?

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  159. SN NY

    A mental recession differs from real just like reality it's in their feeble minds

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  160. Joell

    In a mental recession you think that somehow you're going to be able to make your mortgage payment; in a real one you get foreclosed on.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  161. Tim Green

    A mental recession is between THEIR ears and a real recession is between OURS

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  162. Melissa Bohon


    The difference between a mental and real recession is paralell to the wealthy politician calling it mental to the actual families experiencing financial hardships due to high gas, food and medical cost. And let's not forget salaries that don't rise with the cost of living! In other words; the difference remains to be politicians out of touch with Main Street and tax payers who suffer the reality of our declining economy.

    Melissa Bohon
    Centreville, VA

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  163. erik in albuquerque

    It means "Let the whiners eat mental cake!"

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  164. ramesh

    i thought our senators are smart people but i guess not all of them
    he who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool...shun him

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  165. VBarnes (Tampa, Fl)

    A mental recession: one where by definition McCain must disvow his own economic strategy since he disavowed the man, Gramm, who crafted it for him. A real recession: one where McCain admits tthat his man, Gramm, really does speak for him since McCain will be keeping the strategy Gramm crafted for him.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  166. Dan Lentz

    What Phil Gramm and John Mccain need in the words of one of Jimmy Buffetts songs is some "mental floss".That should clear up all their problems.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  167. jeff a

    A mental reccession would be to leave these elitist republican clowns in office. A real recession strikes me as what we are now living, i do not think that the 4 bags of groceries averaging 90.00 per bag was my imagination, nor do I think that the 42.00 dollars in fuel to fill a HONDA CIVIC was a figment of my imagination. It is time for a change.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  168. Richard Groot

    The difference between a mental recession and a real one is quite easy to define. A real recession means me being downsized (along with 24 other people) because my previous employer went through 6 consecutive soft financial quarters. A mental recession means I no longer trust corporate America to provide any kind of job security to their employees because we are simply overhead in the minds of share holders.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  169. Henry Pennymon

    Hopefully, the difference between a "mental" recession and a "real" one is a "former" US Senator named Phil Gram!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |

    in this case it seems to me that one causes the other. the many different depression drugs we see adds for on tv should tell you something. the economic ressession we are in is bumming us all out!!!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  171. Chris, Cincinnati

    The politically incorrect truth is that we ARE a nation of whiners. And the whining obscures the legitimate political and economic debates that need to take place. The mental recession is a legitimate characterization because no matter how tough things seem to be, it's not a recession unless the economy is contracting. Ur just jumping on this story because it's highly politically incorrect to talk about these truths. Hey, facts don't matter! Symbolism!!!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  172. Deborah Miles

    What planet is Grahm from?
    There is no difference between a "real recession" and a "mental recession". If the majority of working Americans are struggling to pay their bills, mortgage, and put food on the table, and fill their gas tanks, we are in a recession that is felt both mentally and financially.
    Thank you!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  173. Mike

    The difference between a real recession and a "mental" one? Easy. One is solved by strong leadership, tough policies, and serious sacrifice, and the other is solved by spin. You have to give Phil Gramm credit, though; at least he's focusing the campaign on solving the only one that McCain, the Republicans, and their PR teams know how.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  174. Jeanie Williamson

    A real recession is what the Bush want to happen. Lack of money causes fear and fear is a way to get what they want. It seems to work, we are now focusing on giving the US oil companies more land to drill that will damage delicate environmental areas. They already have so much land. But many Americans are pushed by fear. We need alternative energy and not ethonal that will add more fertilizers and pestisides to the earth. A mental recession is really what McCain is hoping for since he hasn't a clue how to solve a real one.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  175. Sara Volk

    A mental recession is something conjured up by some old geezer insulated from any inkling of what it is to worry about having to make a payment, or what they are going to feed the kids, or how they are going to live on the street, versus, while an actual recession is what we are experiencing when regular Americans have to worry about all of the above.

    It reminds me of Babs Bush's comments about how well the displaced people of New Orleans were doing in the stadium full of cots in Texas because they weren't used to anything better, and the people discussing starvation over an 8-course dinner. They have no link with reality.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  176. Joyce A. in Jacksonville, FL

    A mental recession is the uninventive, repetitive thoughts of republican party members. But then again, rich republican politicians, like John McCain and Phil Gramm, keep wearing those rose wine-colored glasses when it comes to all of the economic woes our country now faces just so they can keep thinking they can keep lining their pockets with kick backs.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  177. Alvis From Dodgetown NC

    Actual is what is happening in the USA right now, Mental is what the republican leaders believe is happening as they are out of touch,

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  178. Jane

    The difference in "mental" recession and a real one---oh, I'd say about a million dollars!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  179. Dave

    The difference is the same as a "mental enemma" vs an intrusive enemma. One is a brain f__t and the other has very real potential of hurting; physically, emotionally, and monetarily.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  180. scott, duluth, GA

    It amazes me that everyone on radio believing that we are in a "mental recession" is "rich" compared to the average U.S. citizen. Members of congress are not being personally affected by rising health care, food, and energy prices; they are not going to find themselves in need as long as they are on the taxpayer payroll.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  181. Barry

    I would not be surprised if this was in fact a "mental" recession. After all, the last 8 years have been real life "nightmare" for a majority of the American people.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  182. bob Gainesville Fl.

    A mental recession is a medical condition, politicians are particularly vulnerable. especially Republicans.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  183. Angela Taylor

    A "mental recession" is what you get when you put the GOP's best minds together and they plot to put an oil man in the White House, then mentally they form a plan to rob Americans of what little wealth we have left!
    Angela Taylor Michigan City, IN

    July 11, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  184. Bob Dant

    Jack OH Jack!
    Ask old man Gramm what kind of cheese & crackers he wants with his Whine we he loses his free medical ride for life for himself and immediate family! what a gutless wonder! In Nam I had to take out a couple human beings so killin' is easier than livin' w/ your actions! Being in a WAR doesn't make you a leader like IKE!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  185. Neil Puntenney


    A real recession involves out of control Inflation, massive job layoffs and rising inflation along with loss of gross national product.

    A “mental recession” involves out of control Inflation, massive job layoffs and rising inflation but with growing gross national product due to out of control Inflation masking everything else but showing massive profits for the rich.

    Land O Lakes, FL

    July 11, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  186. robert fox

    I find it very hard to belive we report on anything Mr. Mcaine has to say. This is a person who has never been poor, so to hear of a mental reccession by him or antone one his staff is laughable at best, I guess for him It would be wakeing up and comming to the understanding he made my annual income. Too little to say in this e-mail.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  187. Mitch Ballard

    We all know what a real recesion is...however, a mental recession is when the two political parties force us to vote for somebody other than you, or Lou Dobbs, for President. It's time for a third party.
    Mitch Ballard
    Tulsa, OK

    July 11, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  188. The Mooche

    Gramm is talking like a true republican, so why is McCain running?
    Real republicans don't recognize pain unless it is linked to a 500-pound bomb being dropped on some target. Even poor lower-class republicans have an unwritten rule about not complaining about the economy during a republican presidency. McCain knows this rule better than anyone, so what does he do? He decides to diss his buddy Phil and play the whore for Michigan voter.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  189. Theresa from Minnesota

    A real recession everyone is careful where they choose to spend their money wisely. A mental recession is Michelle Obama saying we should use the stimmulus money to buy earrings.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  190. Faustin

    Hi Jack,

    The mental recession is when you listen to people like Phil Gramm

    The real one is when you stop by the near gas station to fill up your tank or by the corner grocery store to shop.

    Americans are feeling the real one


    July 11, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  191. Alfred

    If your wallet is empty ,it is for real....
    If your head is empty, it is all in your head Phil!!!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  192. Kenyi Yasin Abdallah

    The difference between mental recession and real one is that:
    Mental recession means relating to the mind which is not functioning due to the cause of something such as sickness and there is no treatment for that while the real one the mind is functioning due to availability of resources.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  193. Jake Kerr

    A mental recession is when fools don't know the definition of recession. You need to go back to school and take an economics class. A Recession is 3 Quaters of negative growth. So far we have not had even one quater of negative growth. And you blame McCain! Get your facts straight, and stop cheerleading for Obama.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  194. mary

    I believe were in a “mental” recession!!! i also believe in the easter bunny,Santa clause,and the tooth fairy

    July 11, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  195. Sakas

    In some since I think that Americans are in a Mental Rescission. A nation that elects Bush as a Persistent for more that one time, has a mental rescission, a nation that after such 8 horrible years that just have 8 points difference between Obama and McCain is in a mental rescission

    July 11, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  196. Obi

    A mental recession is what is going on in the frontal lobes of Phil Gramm's brain. A real recession is what the average American is currently experiencing economically.

    Houston, TX

    July 11, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  197. Pascal - Austin, TX

    Only rich old people beyond the retirement age with old brains and outdated ideas will attribute the current day struggles of ordinary Americans to a mental recession. $4 gas at the pump is clear indication of a real recession. About time these old folks take a real retirement for we need fresh ideas.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  198. Kimberly M.

    I suppose that would depend on the bottom line in your checkbook, and after Phil Gramm’s ridiculous comment, your political orientation. Talk about the blind leading the blind.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  199. Mike Antonucci

    It's a mental recession when you lose your equity and it is a real one when I lose MINE.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  200. mary

    I believe were in a “mental” recession!!! i also believe in the easter bunny,Santa clause,and the tooth fairy! ; )

    July 11, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  201. Whitney

    Jack You are a man of wisdom figure this out.

    A mental ression is when I go to the bank to get money.
    A real ression is I get there to find out I dont have any.

    Republican = Rich
    Democrat tic = Everybody else


    July 11, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  202. Quentin

    If this recession is mental, why can't we pay our bills with imaginary money? And the inflated gas prices being made worse by speculators should be ignored at the gas pump like a bad dream. Tell the speculators that the high gas prices are a figment of their imagination, and thus unnecessary. Maybe they are whining instead of us

    July 11, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  203. Ed

    "Whiner" a person given to excessive complaints and crying . . .

    Actually, look who is doing the whining. A rich person working for the Swiss Banking industry. I am guessing that he is losing big money in the current market down turn.

    To the question:

    A "mental recession" must be when consumers lose confidence for no good reason.

    An actual "recession" is when they lose confidence and act on it for good and real reasons. That is happening now. It may not be real to Grahm, but it to people on the street.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  204. Ron Brockman

    A mental recession is when poeple who can think can't find work and loose everything.
    A real recession is when a Politician can't find a job or Gramm can't find an Armoni suit that fit's.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  205. Wanda, Arlee, MT

    Happy Friday, Jack.

    A mental recession is what McCain's been experiencing lately. Like saying "exploit" instead of "explore."

    A real recession is what the American people have been experiencing. Like when you can't afford to drive to work. If you had a job. And if you get to your job, you can't afford to drive home. If you had a home.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  206. Beth Oliver

    The difference is whether you are a wealthy, who could care less Republican, which allows you to call this a mental recession. Namely, it doesn't affect you or your desires for new homes, cars, boats or such minor things as health care and college costs.

    It's real if you are a Democrat or Independent who has just lost a job, had a home foreclosed on, trying to decide between buying gas for your car or prescriptions you can't afford. It may also be the farmer who is plowing his tomatoes back into the ground because this administration can't find out a cause for salmonella.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  207. Kerry

    Jack, Phil Gramm is right. A ressesion has not occurrred unless there are two quarters of negitive growth. But, people are hurt by all thats going on so they "feel" the mental ressesion that you talked about!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  208. Randall wolgamot

    Mental ? All of these people Graham,McCain,all of them are not affected the price of gas,food,heath care or anything else,its just "mental' that they show how out of touch they are,the burning pitchforks are not far behind,Oh,sorry, i guess i was whinning here,Where is my lighter fluid??

    July 11, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  209. Sandy

    Mental Recession is what the wealthy think is going on and that it is not real... GET REAL come to the country and ask people if we are in a recession or not. And YES I am a whiner!
    We are Jersey Dairy Famers in MO and just this last week our feed bill went up 3.00 more a hundread weight!
    In Jan. of 2008 our feed bill was only 9.50 a hundred pounds, now it is a whopping 14.50!
    Our hay cost are going up, 35% more than last year and we are now wondering where it will all end.
    One of these days and it might be sooner than we think, people are going to wake up and wonder where all the food is! All the farmers will be gone.
    It is so sad that small dairy farmers are going to be a thing of the past.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  210. Frank from Gilroy

    Phil Gramm is exactly correct if you are in the top 5% of income earners.
    The top 5% see anyone who is not thrilled with the Bush Economy as whiners. The only people who can classify this as a "mental recession" are the likes of McCain and Gramm, The top 5% that are suppose to trickle down the "economic love" on the other 90-95% of us who are trying to figure out how to cover all the debt we've been blessed with from the top 5%. Obama win's by a landslide in November!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  211. Jonee

    Hi Jack
    Phil needs to understand just why i am whining. I am a divorced/disabled mother of five and having to determine what my kids will eat, if we will have somewhere to sleep, and how can we get to where we are going with the price of gas that we Americans have no control of. America needs to start taking care of Americans who have devoted their time and energies to this country. It was not my choice to become ill and have to rely on the Social Security that I worked for. But with the way the Republicans are thinking, how is my family going to survive, unless I whine enough to be heard. Sure enough Americans are entitled to whine whether Phil likes it or not.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  212. vince

    A mental recession is what the news channels and the press is trying to sell to us. Have you been to any mall in the USA, they are all full and the stores selling plenty of goods. We as Americans for the most part are lazy and wanting someone to take care of us. I work two jobs and belive there is NO recession for the people who are hard working and do not spend above their means.

    We should be thankful for what we have compared to other Countries and how well our economy is going. If your fat, dumb and lazy then you need to get off your butt and gt to work !!!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  213. Jan in SC

    These people with the all of the money live in a world so removed from ours! They think if all is well for them to hell the rest of the peons.
    But what I would like to know is more about the 286 page bill that
    Graham slipped through in the late 90's that opened the loopholes
    for the banking industry . Loopholes which allowed them to create
    the current mortgage mess with something called swaps. I would like to see CNN investigate these facts and do an expose' on this issue. There is talk that McCain is considering this despicable man as Treasury secretary. How scary is that!!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  214. Marie

    Two Old Fools talking about America's future in a high tech world, armed with outdated tools. The only thing mental about this recession is their proposed solutions. Sad, truely sad.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:31 pm |
  215. Bill Berg

    A mental recession is a psychological condition suffered by someone with an after-tax income in excess of one million dollars who has an off-setting portfolio in the oil industry.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:31 pm |
  216. Tim

    It's simple & sombody beat me to it;

    A REAL recession is two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth as measured by the GDP. The last one was in 2001.

    A mental recession is one invoked by the news media, ususally during election years.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:31 pm |
  217. Paxton

    Jack, this so-called "mental recession" is nothing new. America's educational standards have been going downhill for years, as we ride high on our military and economic superiority. While this is frustrating, I don't feel it's related to the economic recession; the business cycle which our economy is subject to calls for economic downturns such as this.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  218. Kerry

    Jack I feel a mental ression now that I know that Al Gore made 100 million on his movie!

    July 11, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  219. Lauren

    about $3.00/gallon in gas

    July 11, 2008 at 6:32 pm |