The Recession is Here, Is a Depression in the Offing?

The "D" Word, Depression, Now Looms.

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Is the "D" word in the offing?

I have been uncharacteristically plucky about the economy—until today. I have been looking at signs such as low oil (which has declined by $90 per barrel since the summer) lower-cost housing (as a result of the housing slump) and the marginal increase in the availability of credit this past month and thinking: "OK, when's the turnaround going to start?"

I earlier believed it would start in Q1 or Q2 of '09. Now I'm thinking it could be years.

The economic environment is morphing so quickly, it's difficult if not impossible to take in all the bad news. A month or more ago there was a looming U.S. recession, but not a worldwide recession. A month ago, many, many more Americans were employed. A month ago—OK, two months ago—consumers hadn't ground spending to a halt.

On the other hand, I've been waiting for the Bush recession to kick in ever since he drove up the federal deficit to record levels, launched a ridiculously expensive war for apparently no good reason, cut taxes and boosted domestic spending wantonly.

Now it's here. Since it came later than I anticipated, I guess I don't have to feel so poorly about it also being much bigger than expected.

Is the "D" word now looming—Depression? I fear so. One person might be feeling a bit relieved right now. I keep imagining Sen. John McCain may be feeling a bit better about his loss, knowing the economy won't be his to revive.

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