Wednesday, December 17, 2008


After generations of expecting more from life than those who came before them, Americans are entering uncharted economic territory--the landscape of less.

Every day, new numbers map the terrain. As the Fed cuts interest rates to near-zero to stimulate spending, two out of every three Americans now say they have been hurt by the downturn and that the country has slipped into long-term decline.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds 66 percent worried about maintaining their standard of living, with almost two in 10 families experiencing a job loss in recent months, more than a quarter seeing their pay or hours reduced, and 15 percent falling behind on rent or mortgage payments.

The Consumer Confidence Index has hit an all-time low in its 41 years of existence, reflected in slow holiday sales.

Even with falling prices, a federal agency is predicting the steepest drop in gasoline consumption this year and next since 1979-1980, some of it the result of fewer people driving to work amid record job losses and business bankruptcies.

Less is definitely more on the minds of Americans than ever before as they look ahead to an economic recovery with tightened belts.

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