Recession: Why We're So Gloomy

The longest recession since the 1930s may pass by summer, but it will take years to rid the economy of debt and rebuild America

"I haven't really been able to sort out exactly why there has been this degree of pessimism."

-- George Bush, Dec. 26, 1991

Well, why are Americans so gloomy, fearful and even panicked about the current economic slump?

At first glance the numbers don't seem so bad. The stock market went on a record-breaking rampage last month, finished 1991 at an all-time high, and kept setting new highs in the opening sessions of 1992. Inflation is at the lowest level in five years, and home mortgages are available at interest rates not seen since 1974. They may fall even further, thanks...

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