May 15, 2008 | | 3 Comments For the last four months, we have been expecting the stock market to crash, unemployment to skyrocket, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to come riding into town. True, we got expensive groceries and gas and maybe a healthy dose of sanity pumped back into our real estate market. But, in some strange way, after all the gloom and doom, this all seems like a letdown. Where is the repeat of the recession that crippled the nation in the early eighties? Where are the unemployment lines stretching around the block? Have we really averted the Great Depression: the Sequel? I see three possibilities: 1) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The measures taken by the government took the bite out of the economic downturn, the worst-case scenarios were never fully realized, and we are largely out of the woods; 2) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The recent upturns are only a lull in our downward spiral; or 3) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â We are going down and picking up speed, but the powers that be are covering it up. It seems unlikely to me that one day every credible voice in America would be sure that we are plunging into the ninth level of recession hell and the next everything has suddenly reversed and things aren’t so bad after all. I think the news media and the government, in the interest of dispersing the bad juju that had pervaded the national outlook, would give precedence to voices and stories that give a rosy picture. In the old propaganda tradition, unfavorable opinions would be denied airtime. I mean, can’t you just picture a certain Texan public official getting on the phone with the editor-in-chief at CNN and saying something like, “All this bad news about the economy is killing the public morale and my approval ratings. Do you think you could just tone it down a bit?” What does this mean for average joes like you and me? We would do well to be skeptical and to be prepared for the worst. Improving your value at work is always a great way to avoid getting laid off. Putting some savings away for a rainy day and eliminating high-interest debt are always good ideas no matter what the economic forecast. Of course, as mentioned in previous posts, consider getting more education. Advanced degrees can be a great way to keep a step ahead of the jobless masses.