FOR THREE years, under presidents of both parties, the federal government has pumped trillions of borrowed dollars into stimulus, bailout, and recovery spending. The results have been woeful: Two years after the recession formally ended, the country is mired in a bleak economic lassitude from which it seems unable to rouse itself. Now the wretched news of recent weeks — feeble GDP growth, painful foreclosure rates, slipping car sales, a drop in factory orders, ever more Americans on food stamps — has grown even worse.
First, Standard & Poor’s reported that home prices have fallen to their lowest level in more than two years, confirming a “double dip’’ in a housing collapse more severe than the one during the Great Depression. Then came the government’s latest employment numbers: only 54,000 jobs added in May, the fewest in eight months, and a rise in the unemployment rate to 9.1 percent. This has been the lousiest recovery in more than 60 years, and by a wide margin.