Help us out here, economists. Make yourselves useful. Is this what the second dip of a Double Dip Recession feels like? I mean, we do have that nauseating sinking feeling. But we've had that for a few years now.
The stock market has been doing its crazy roller coaster thing for months now, but this week's plunge felt somehow more definitive—coming, as it did, with widespread declarations that the smart money was giving up on the possibility of the European and American governments getting their shit together enough to solve this whole "we've indebted ourselves to the point of oblivion" thing.
Robert Reich is already declaring that "It's officially a 'double dip' recession." Obama is trying to browbeat Germany into bailing out the rest of Europe, for the sake of saving America. Everyone with money foresees a looming drop in global demand, thanks to everyone else not having money for the foreseeable future. Oil prices are falling. Gold prices are falling. (It's not too late to get out, gold bubble suckers!) And there's little hope for a holiday season bump to get us all through the hard times. The elites know enough to grab what they can while they can still get it; the only people doing well now are elected officials and the Harvard University Endowment.
So, is this what a double dip feels like? If so, this is just the beginning. You can expect it to dip much, much further. The best case scenario is an outpouring of government spending that staves off the recession's deepest craters in exchange for a much longer period of austerity. But all in all, it's hard to tell. Unless you're one of the lucky ones, you never got out of the first dip.