People who work with such statistics seem to agree things will likely worsen before they improve. Exactly how much worse is, of course, the source of much speculation. (Because nobody knows for sure.)
From what I've gathered (in talking and listening), most people are hoping for the best, but "preparing for the worst," which means they're buying nothing but essentials (.. further depressing the economy).
Might be worth noting that the worst year most Americans will ever see would still represent the best year for people living in many other parts of the world. So the terms 'worst' and 'best' are relative. (Important we maintain perspective.)
Interesting that (as someone recently noted) bin Laden's aim in targeting the World Trade Center towers was to criple the US economy .. (cuz that's how they defeated the mighty Soviet Red Army in Afganistan).
Another thing I find interesting is that everybody now claims to have seen it coming. Even at the coffee shop, I hear people saying things like, "Everybody knew this was coming. No big surprise."
••• today's entry continues here below •••
Well, if everybody could foresee the coming collapse of the housing market (which precipitated the banking crisis, which led to the credit crunch, which caused the economic meltdown...) uh, how come nobody did anything about it?
"The most gifted members of the human species are at their creative best when they cannot have their way, and must compensate for what they miss by realizing and cultivating their capacities and talents."
Of course, Hoffer also said (food for thought as we enter 2009):
"The poor on the borderline of starvation live purposeful lives. To be engaged in a desperate struggle for food and shelter is to be wholly free from a sense of futility."
The unspoken concern that everybody seems to have (an intuition?) is that this is more serious than a (normal) cyclical economic downturn, but rather more far-reaching & longer-lasting .. and something that may prove immune to efforts by (even) our government.