The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, declined today to say whether we are in a recession. The only reason to avoid doing so is that it would not be reassuring to admit the obvious. The National Bureau of Economic Research has yet to certify there is a recession, but otherwise there is no doubt.
In fact, just as he began his testimony, the Conference Board released its index of coincident indicators. That index not only confirmed a recession is under way, but it provided powerful evidence that it began in 2007, or in January 2008 at the latest.