Anyone can hold his breath for a minute when he's 10 feet underwater, but a man will drown in six inches of water if he's facedown long enough. The same can be said of our current economic climate: It's not the depth of the recession that matters, it's the length.
Our government has thrown upward of $13 trillion in stimulus at the financial crisis, yet we're seeing 1.9% annual growth, as per Thursday's GDP report. Perhaps more concerning is that risk hasn't disappeared; it simply transferred from private balance sheets to public liabilities - from one perception to another.
I'm on record championing a legitimate economic recovery that's ripe with Millennial-led human capital, but only after we navigate the sovereign sequel to the first phase of the financial crisis. Until we take our medicine - in the form of debt destruction, rather than drugs that mask the symptoms - we're prolonging an inevitable fate.
As a trader, I know that the path we take is entirely more important than where we arrive; as an investor - and a father - I continue to monitor the unintended consequences of our current course as they percolate through our socioeconomic sphere. As we're apt to say at Minyanville, social mood and risk appetites shape financial markets - and much more.
The Great Depression should serve as a framework for optimism; most of society worked, great discoveries were made and formidable franchises were established. In order to get through it, however, we needed to go through it, and the same will prove true once again.
As we get from here to there, I'm reminded of the wisdom of my grandfather who, when faced with adversity, assured me that "This too shall pass."
Todd Harrison is the author of "The Other Side of Wall Street" and the founder and CEO of Minyanville, an Emmy Award-winning financial media platform. Read him daily at www.minyanville.com.