Friday, November 14, 2008

Bush Recession Gets Much Worse In October

As reported by Bloomberg News, retail sales in the US declined 2.8% in October, the largest one-month drop on record. Even worse, the decline in consumer buying was broad-based, cutting across virtually all segments of the economy.  Coming on the heels of the September collapse of the financial industry and the sharp rise in the unemployment rate in October, today's bleak economic news leaves little doubt that the Bush Recession is very bad and getting worse by the minute.

The current Republican Administration's reckless spending, irresponsible tax cuts for super-wealthy individuals and big corporations and its gross lack of regulatory oversight have finally yielded the inevitable -- and totally predictable -- results. The American economy is in shambles and sinking ever closer to depression-level territory with each passing day. Very tough times lie ahead.

President-elect Obama will no doubt be facing an even more dire economic situation when he takes the oath of office in the third week January next year. There is no real hope that the lame-duck Congress and the lame-duck President can, or will, take the tough measures necessary to begin a recovery. With only a one-seat Democratic majority in the Senate (and that's counting Mr. Unreliable, Joe Lieberman) and a disengaged, unresponsive Republican President, nothing of any real substance is likely to be enacted into law before February or March of 2009. It is going to be a long, slow crawl back from the edge of the economic abyss.

As progressives, it is important that we keep the mainstream media honest in their reporting about how we got into this mess and who is responsible for it. The chattering classes will, I fear, be all too willing to parrot the right wing wackos' efforts to blame the Democrats and President-elect Obama. Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have already started down that path. They will certainly soon be followed by other wingnuts. Many in the mainstream media will be sorely tempted to take the bait because it is easy (no work involved) and simplistic (requires no real understanding of the issues).  

We can't let that happen.

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