Special Report: America's Run-Down Economy A Slump That Won't Go Away

Thanks to the borrow-and-spend binge of the '80s, the U.S. remains burdened with problems that will frustrate growth for years to come

In the afterglow of the allied victory in the gulf war last spring, the U.S. economy seemed ready to shake off its malaise. Consumer confidence rose sharply, and sales of cars and homes began to shift into high gear. But in the clear light of autumn, that hopeful moment seems long gone. Despite assertions from Washington and most economists that the recession ended last May, the recovery may be the weakest in postwar history, and many sectors could even be sliding backward. "The situation is far worse than the government would like us to believe, and things are going to remain...

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