Last week, local gas prices jumped 20 cents in just 2 days. Given the steady declines in our economy–the prime mortgage mess, massive layoffs on Wall Street, low consumer spending, more retailer and airline bankruptcies announced every day–this wasn’t exactly surprising.
Unless you’re George Bush, that is.
No matter how much the current administration tries to deny it, this country is in deep trouble. The economic stimulus package is too little, too late. As much as Bush tries to deny that we’re in a recession (as he did at this news conference back in February), those of us who don’t have private jets and federally-subsidized health care and a huge ranch out in Texas funded by old-money oil profits know better.
It’s not just the national indicators that cause me concern. It’s the day-to-day proof that I’m faced with as I go about my usual routine. There’s been the sudden onslaught of coupons and “Big Blowout SALE!” coupons littering my mailbox from local merchants, desperately trying to drum up business. The ample parking spots at malls and shopping centers, even during their “busy” time. Last week, there were no lines in the children’s department at Macy’s–usually a notorious time-wasting vortex filled with noisy clusters of the stroller-set–even though it was their much-touted “Red Star Event.” The place was like a ghost town. I must admit, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been there myself, but I think it was before Christmas.
I’m at the point in my life where I’ve lived long enough to see the typical “economic slumps” and their subsequent rebounds. This is different, no matter what the Powers That Be would have us believe. The recession isn’t some spectre looming in the distance. It’s already here.