This Christmas is a season for despair and disquiet for many Americans. Approximately 47.7 million of them, one in every six, are on food stamps. That is 16.1 million more than were being fed by government assistance in December 2008. More than 100 million working-age Americans do not have a job. The U.S. share of global wealth, as measured by GDP, has fallen from 31.8 percent to 21.6 percent in the last 10 years. A full 28 percent of Americans have no savings, not even for emergencies.
Most of us are having smaller and less luxurious Christmas celebrations this season. We are buying fewer and less expensive presents for each other. What has been a vague feeling of uncertainty has given way to the sober realization that we are facing more than an economic bump in the road; many are beginning to recognize that the decades-long party has ended, and the consequential hangover is just beginning.