Economic pendulum swings lower

Published 12:22 am Saturday, October 11, 2008

It’s here. Can you feel it? The dreaded “R” word. Recession. Doomsday. Armageddon. Apocalypse Now.

Most economists now believe the United States – nay, the entire global economy – has entered into a recession, defined as a significant decline in economic activity for more than a few months that affects, well, just about everything.

Jobs. Industrial production. Retail sales. The stock market.

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As evidence to that fact, the market plummeted this week, falling below 9,000 points for the first time in five years.

This, after President Bush clamored for – and subsequently received – a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street, a bill footed by me, you, he, she, her, him, and all the unborn babies in the United States for the next hundred years.

The thing is: We all saw this coming. From the cesspool we called a housing market to energy prices as unpredictable as a Mexican jumping bean to watching global financial firms like Lehman Brothers Holdings go belly-up.

We should have known. We should have been prepared. No surprises.

It’s the law of gravity.

What goes up has just got to come down.

Credit – cheap and wide – was our intoxicant. America’s economy was a house of cards; one flinch of a wrist, one shallow breath, one nudge off the table, and down it comes.

Like it or not, we are part of the problem.

Yet, still, I’m sure the majority of the middle class – of which I am a part of – would not have the audacity shown by executives at American International Group (AIG, Inc.).

Just a few weeks after being bailed out by a government loan (i.e. my money, your money) to the tune of $123 billion, these suits spent an estimated $440,000 for a posh retreat at St. Regis Resort in California, including $150,000 for food and $23,000 for spa treatments.

They’re even paying one of their executives – who helped lead the insurance firm into its current mess – $1 million a month in consultation fees.

In situations like this, it’s too bad the guillotine was outlawed.