If there were any doubt before that the national economy is in rough shape, I think the news of the last week pretty much quelled it. Oil is over $146 a barrel, the Dow slipped below 11K for the first time in over two years, the housing market has gone to hell, and the Fed can't do much more with interest rates without triggering relatively massive inflation.
One quick thing--for a lot of us, the economy has been crap for a long time. If you're working class, you probably haven't seen much of an improvement in your situation for nearly a decade, if not longer in some sectors, so for us, the Bush economy was never strong. What I'm talking about here is impacting more than just us now.
What we're looking at now has been in the works for years, and I'd bet that it will get worse in the next year or two before we see any real recovery. How wide-ranging that recovery will be depends a lot on who winds up in power in both Congress and the White House next January. And that's why I'm glad it's happening now.
See, if this economy had limped along until next spring, then when the crash came, President Obama would take an undeserved hit for it. The President has only a limited effect on the economy to begin with, and those effects generally take 6-12 months to filter through. But since the crash is coming now, the person to take the hit is the one who deserves it--King George the Lesser. By the time President Obama takes over, the public will be looking for ways to help the economy recover, and they'll be amenable to policies that help the widest swathe of people possible, i.e. Democratic policies. And that's better in the long term. I'll trade some pain now for some prosperity later, if the pain is inevitable.