That's the verdict of Jeffrey Tucker's new Mises.org article, "Did the Recession Ever Really Go Away?".
As Tucker points out, the massive stimulus programs and bailouts of the past three years (under Bush and Obama) haven't amounted to a hill of beans in terms of actual economic improvement.
Has the average American's lot in life been improved due to these measures? No, but they have helped save some politically-connected institutions (banks, unions, insurers) and given the appearance of government doing something to "help" matters.
Here's an excerpt from that piece:
"The screaming pleas from the political class in 2008 weren't really about finding a cure. They were about saving the top players (banks, unions, insurers) in a system that was built on illusion.
Do have a look at the full piece. You'll find some skillfully woven intro paragraphs, thoughts on why the stimulus simply won't work, and a list of suggested reading material on Austrian economic principles and freedom. Pass it on.According to official dating, the recession lasted only 18 months, and then recovery began. The belief that we are recovered then became the new illusion, mostly fostered by the injection of phony money and massive spending built on debt. As college grads faced a hostile labor market, as retailers dramatically shrunk inventories, as businesses have closed and closed, as income has shrunk, and as prices have pushed higher and higher, the feeling on the part of most people has been: something is not right...".