Is the recession really over?

Photo by Chris O'Meara/AP

Photo by Chris O’Meara/AP

One of my goals in 2015 is to write more about poverty and class issues in America. My first story with this theme was published today.

Ask Joshua Thevenin — who since last month has been a newspaper salesman, fireworks vendor and tele-marketer — what he thinks about assertions the economy is roaring toward recovery and you’ll get a sigh and a shake of his head.

“I don’t see it. If it is, I don’t know where,” he said.

I met Joshua right before Christmas as he worked at the fireworks tent. His story is that of many people — struggling to find full time, meaningful work. While it might seem that the economy has bounded back in places like Washington, D.C., San Francisco and New York City, here in suburban Florida it’s a different story.

Joshua was so angry while listening to President Obama’s State of the Union speech that he turned it off. Politicians of both parties, he said, have abandoned the poor.

“I just got so upset. All I hear about is the middle class, the middle class. The people who need the help aren’t the middle class. It’s the lower class that needs help. What the President said wasn’t anything new.”