In truth, what used to be "the economy" is just one part of a global chess board, and the data we have is incomplete, misleading, and simultaneously right and wrong. It is right given what it measures, and wrong given what most people conclude on the basis of it.
The world is composed of hundreds of economies that interact with one another in unpredictable and unexpected ways. We cling to the notion of one economy because it creates an illusion of shared experiences. As comforting as that illusion is, it will not restore a simplicity that no longer exists, and clinging to it will not lead to viable solutions for pressing problems.
I know an op-ed piece is no consolation to friends and family we know who are struggling because they're out of work, or because of skyrocketing fuel and food prices, or because of homes that have lost value when the mortgages have not, or whatever the situation.
I remember vividly what it was like to be in financial ruin, which was right after I met Amy (and thank goodness she kept me around) – and that was even before being laid off from the dot.com company I worked for during the bust of 2000-2001. But those are stories for another time.
I'm fortunate that our firm is currently chugging along and that we can provide steady jobs for few folk. We've even increased the number of telecommuting days for staff to save money on fuel and help the environment a little bit more.
My heart goes out to those who are struggling. The world is shuffling and shapeshifting by the minute.
Hold on tight, B. Hold on tight.