Economist on the recession. Honestly, things seemed to be looking up right before the attacks. They look grim now, and this data really shows it. Economics is driven by mood, and the fact is that no amount of government tax XYZ is going to solve what is, in essence, a marketing problem. People need to feel hopeful and secure. IMHO the big mistake Japan is making is that they aren't attacking that perception problem at its root. Economic highs are not driven on fear, and Japan has proven that hard economic lows are not fixed by monkeying around with financial policy. We need to kick the investment community in the ass. Now is the time to buy, and a little buying would go along way toward loosening up the labor market, which will fill in safety net that has been pulled out from under workers.