I read financial news and listen to the talking heads on CNBC....and the deeper analysis on Bloomberg.....and I hear some talking about this "new normal" that we're going to see in our economy. Basically, a much slower rate of growth. Then there are those that simply see this is as a bad recession from which we'll emerge and go back to our happy spending and consuming ways. Well, I'm in the "new normal" camp. I just read two articles....back to back on MSNBC about people in massive credit card debt. And still, they don't seem to fully comprehend how much trouble they are in. One woman is 65K in CC debt. A full 2/3 of her net income goes to paying her minimums. She's 43 and a state worker in California.....not exactly a good employer to have these days. Her pension is about as safe as that of a GM retiree. Mary Uhazi seems almost baffled that she has nothing to show for the 60K in debt. Oh well, the good news is that the reporter tells us that Mary has cut back on eating out. I had to laugh out loud. The next couple is pictured sitting in their RV....62 years old and $87,000 in CC debt. The first line of that piece was this...."Julie Hamman knew she had too much credit card debt." Oh, do ya think??!!??? Geez, what exacty does Julie expect will happen? And I listen to Dave Ramsey and callers phone in with tales of incredible debt. For as much as some of us have been talking about this for years around here.....and waiting for "the day of reckoning" to come.....well, now that it's here, it's pretty darned sobering. I just think that there are so many Americans carrying so much debt and that many are still sort of walking through life in a fog thinking....."is this really happening?". They've been cut off in most cases, and their interest rates are climbing. They simply can't spend anymore. Sure, it seems like we've averted the complete market meltdown that we were facing in September and October of 2008. But the effects of those days and the massive credit contraction that is a direct result of that event....well, we're going to be feeling that for a long, long time.