Call it a recession or not, the U.S. economy is headed south and with no end in sight.
While Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke refuses to call it a recession, some economists, from liberal to conservative, say we're there now.
Even President Bush admits something has to be done and quickly to stimulate the economy.
The housing market is mired in fewer sales and a big falloff in new construction. Of course, it was as recent as last summer that Bush regarded the housing industry woes as just a temporary blip. (If this breaks my New Year's resolution to cut down on Bush-bashing, so be it. He deserves it.)
The White House and the Democratic leaders in Congress should be able to come up with a semblance of a stimulus package. It would prove that the two warring parties on Capitol Hill can actually get something done in quick order.
Tax rebates for the middle class should be effective in the short term. Tax cuts for business should be minimal at best.
For investors, the stock market has lost all its 2007 gains in the first half-month of the new year. Bernanke's nod to more interest rate cuts did nothing to stop the huge losses.
As for the presidential candidates of both parties, the economy has taken center stage from Iraq. The Democrats have at least come up with some definite policies to help, but the Republicans just toss out hazy rhetoric.
Mitt Romney is the major offender. His criticism of John McCain for saying some jobs would not come back to the Michigan auto industry was ludicrous. Even auto workers know the loss has been permanent in some sectors.
While politicians sense that jobs and the economy have pushed Iraq aside for the moment, we should not forget the problems there or in Afghanistan. They aren't going away.