The unemployment rate has taken the biggest jump since the 2001 terrorist attacks, a key gauge of manufacturing activity has fallen to a five-year low, and now consumer spending, which had been a standout performer, is starting to sag.
The Commerce Department reported yesterday that retail sales fell a sharp 0.4 percent in December, handing retailers their worst Christmas in five years.
It seems that consumers, who account for two-thirds of total economic activity, have slowed their spending in the face of an array of problems. And the worry is that they may cut back further.
Already, consumer confidence has slipped significantly amid the spiral of oil prices, the sagging of home prices, the rising of mortgage defaults, and the increasing of unemployment.
Of course, this is what happens when the ruling party believes the wealth is an indiator of virtue and that selling the country to the highest bidder is wise public policy.