[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/16/art.blitzeriowa.cnn.jpg caption= "CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It’s amazing how quickly things can change. It wasn’t that long ago when the war in Iraq and terrorism were the number one issues on the minds of Americans. Now, according to the latest polls, it’s back to the economy.
I suppose that’s the result of serious recession fears and the reduction in casualties in Iraq in recent months. New government numbers show that inflation last year in the United States was at a 17-year high. That’s disturbing enough. But when coupled with the other recent economic woes – loss of jobs, mortgage failures and home foreclosures – the news is even worse.
Economists have a technical definition for a recession – two successive quarters showing negative economic growth. That definition has not been met, since there has not yet been even one three-month period showing negative economic growth.
But many economists believe we already are in a recession, even if the technical numbers have not yet caught up with it. And they say all this talk of a recession makes matters even worse: people begin to act as if the country already is in a recession – meaning they may limit their purchases. That, in turn, can further slow down the economy.
There is now plenty of talk here in Washington about the urgent need for a new economic stimulus package. President Bush is said to be considering some options to unveil during his State of the Union address to Congress on January 28. And House and Senate leaders from both parties are talking to each other about possible steps.
Let’s see if they can actually get their act together and do something constructive. There are many people out there who are having trouble paying for their energy needs, staying in their homes, and even putting food on the table.
- CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer