Great Recession

Across the country, state budgets are back in the black after years of belt-tightening and spending cuts. From California to Florida, in nearly every state, the economic recovery has produced a surge in tax revenue.

For governors and state legislators, that's produced a new question: how to spend the money.

The past three years have not been easy ones for elected officials. Nearly every state requires them to produce a balanced budget. And with declining revenue from sales, property and income taxes, that has meant big spending cuts.

EcoFlight / ecoflight.org

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has launched a new national program to retain mineral rights on lands it has taken back as a result of foreclosures and bank failures.

Some 93 percent of Americans saw their mean net worth fall in the first two years of the post-recession recovery, while the remaining 7 percent increased net worth by nearly a third, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data.

It's a visual no parent wants to picture: a child describing what it's like to live in a house with no power for lights, heat or cooking. For many middle-class American parents, it's hard to imagine their family ever facing a situation like that. But a new HBO documentary suggests that many seemingly prosperous parents are only a few misfortunes away from dark houses and empty refrigerators.

One of the defining graphs of our time (yes, there are defining graphs of our time) comes from the blog Calculated Risk. It tracks the job market in every U.S. recession and recovery since WWII — and it shows just how brutal the the past few years have been.

Business Insider calls this the Scariest Jobs Chart Ever. But the Scariest Jobs Chart Ever isn't quite scary enough.

The oldest of the baby boomers came of age in the 1960s and are beginning to retire. Their younger cohorts are still putting kids through college and building careers. Baby boomers are a giant portion of the population — 78 million people, by one estimate.

They grew up in an era of rising living standards, but the Great Recession destroyed any sense of financial security — and many nest eggs. Financial planner Tim Maurer outlines a variety of issues boomers face.

Who is a baby boomer, and what defines their financial situations?

The Great Recession touched a vast majority of Americans personally, a new study from Rutgers' Heldrich Center finds.

The most stunning number in the study: "Some 73 percent [of Americans] either lost a job themselves, or had a member of their household, a close relative, or a friend lose a job at some point in the past four years."

The report is pretty depressing. A few more findings:

One out of eight Americans moved this year, according to a report out this week from U.S. Census Bureau. That's up from last year's record low, but still much lower than it used to be. In the early '80s, roughly one in five Americans moved each year.

It's tempting to see the decline in the percentage of Americans who move each year as the product of the housing bust. After all, it's hard to move when your house is underwater.

A new report finds the U.S. birth rate has dropped to its lowest level on record, led by a dramatic decline in births among immigrant women. The trend has been visible at La Clinica del Pueblo, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., that holds a weekly neonatal clinic.

The figures are in for the federal government's fiscal 2012 and the deficit was $1.089 trillion, according to the Treasury Department and Office of Management and Budget.

That's less than the previous year's $1.297 trillion and is the third consecutive decline.

But it's also the fourth year in a row of a $1 trillion+ gap between spending and revenues.

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