The Way We Live Now: sucking up to the populace. But only out of necessity. We don't make it a habit to smile in the face of people without money unless they have something else we want. (Votes).
Voters are fed up! With the economy! Which could bode poorly. Even in hippie marijuana-holding states like Colorado, counties that went for Obama may be leaning Republican now, proving that people will try anything when they are broke. We don't like the sound of that.
Recessions aren't really economically dangerous for the ruling class. They're only politically dangerous. A bit less money won't hurt us a bit, but when the voters go wacko jacko, well, who knows who might get stood up against the wall? Jobless claims just hit their highest level in months. Jobless people tend to act rashly, particularly once their unemployment benefits run out.
The masses must be placated. I mean, we certainly hope that it doesn't get serious to the point where we have to tax the rich, but there's no guaranteeing we can keep it from happening. Better to make a big show of adding a few points to our tax rate than to make a big show of us being carried off to the guillotine in the public square.
Priorities. Thinking ahead. And money. These are the things that will keep us in control. Nobody is walking out of this unscathed. Well; nobody except those who can somehow spin this whole "recession" angle into cheap, trashy entertainment for the masses. Need more tools, ruling class? I'm always available.