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The Notebook: Depression

We are in a gloomy mood. A new Gallup poll shows one third of us now think our economy is in a depression – almost three times the number who thought that 10 months ago. It's important to point out economists don't call it a depression. They're still debating whether this is a recession. But it shows just how worried people are.

Banks simply aren't lending. So, if home buyers can't get mortgages, the already beaten down housing industry stalls further. If drivers can't get auto loans, carmakers sell fewer cars. If small businesses can't get the credit they need, they can't expand or may not be able to pay their bills. The ripple effects are enormous.

As Congress grapples with how to salvage a bailout deal, its clear lawmakers must do something. This isn't a depression, but as Americans grow more concerned, we run the risk of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.