The Fat’s in the Fire

benjanow@gmail.com That's the only way to put it. In the last few weeks I heard the same expression voiced in the auto industry and ours: “Down 20 percent is the new good.” The industry has emerged from a disastrous season, though figures for 2008 are bearable because business didn't hit a wall until the last two months. But 2009 won't have that advantage. The recession is over a year old, and despite some claims that we'll emerge from the downturn after mid-year—a sort of pro forma recovery based on a belief in historical perspective—we are in highly precarious times. Some feel this is only a matter of confidence, which we'll eventually recover. True, but far too simplistic. Years of bingeing on cheap money and abusive credit policies have nearly flattened our financial system. As a result, we're probably in for a protracted and painful recovery. Suppliers and reta
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