There’s a small silver lining of good news in today’s atrocious GDP report: the New York Times has started linking to primary sources from its home page. And this isn’t one of those open-in-a-new-window links, either: it’s a proper link, which takes you away from nytimes.com and lands you at bea.gov.
This is a much more important step towards proper external links on the homepage than the silly Times Extra. And even if nytimes.com draws the line at primary sources and never links to other news sources’ stories, this is an important step towards truly embracing the web.
As for the GDP report itself, it might comes as little surprise — or even as a pleasant surprise to economists expecting a 5.5% drop — but it still underlines just how bad the economy is looking. Worse, I don’t see any sign of a recovery any time soon: America’s culture of competitive consumption has disappeared entirely, and it’s not coming back.
I walked past a brand-new high-end casual menswear store last night, and it struck home to me how much things have changed in the past few months. It was always a bit weird that anybody would pay hundreds of dollars for a flannel shirt, but somehow, such shops managed to survive during the boom years. I certainly wouldn’t want to be the owner today, though, or even in the years to come, should the store survive that long.