Recovery for the Rich

Welcome to the recovery!

That’s what Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wrote in the New York Times this week. And such good news! We’ve all been waiting to be told that the economy was improving, after all.

Consider: Conan O’Brien, surely one of the nation’s most famous unemployed folks, just made $25 million, one of the highest prices paid for a Manhattan apartment this year. Someone’s buying — even if they got a bit of a break. The apartment was originally listed for $29.5 million!

Geithner noted, “We all understand and appreciate that these signs of strength in parts of the economy are cold comfort to those Americans still looking for work.”

Indeed, Geithner doesn’t want his declaration of Mission Accomplished over the economy to go the way of that other one.

It’s a confusing clutch of contrasting news coming to us courtesy of the NYT. Geithner on the Op-Ed page, Conan in the real estate section – and on the front page Michael Luo reporting on the “99ers,” those unemployed people who have “exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits.”

There are about 1.4 million of them, including Alexandra Jarrin, who’s profiled in the piece. She’s living in a motel off borrowed money, applying for jobs to pay off her student loans and unfinished M.B.A.

She’s had her first job interview in over a year this past week.

But hey, someone tell her that the economy’s recovering! Conan sold his condo! Surely it won’t be long now…

LAURA FLANDERS is the host of GRITv.




Laura Flanders interviews forward-thinking people about the key questions of our time on The Laura Flanders Show, a nationally syndicated radio and television program also available as a podcast. A contributing writer to The Nation, Flanders is also the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species.  She is the recipient of a 2019 Izzy Award for excellence in independent journalism, the Pat Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award for advancing women’s and girls’ visibility in media and a 2020 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship for her reporting and advocacy for public media.