A few economic headlines caught my eye today:

Plunge in Existing-Home Sales Is Steepest Since ’89

Toyota Tops Auto Industry as Sales Surpass GM

Linking these is this:

GM's Lutz Says 'Mortgage Industry Meltdown' Hurting Auto Sales

A little disingenous to blame collapsing home equity for GM's woes, it seems. Toyota seem to be thriving in precisely the same marketplace. However, both headlines are symptomatic of the inexorable momentum that is pushing the United States from economic pre-eminence. Until there is a return to the concept that wealth is produced by generating products, and not just by shunting borrowed money around, the U.S. is essentially a house on stilts that has lost several crucial supports.

Personally, I believe that the collapse, when it occurs, is going to more like a bumpy and bruising slide down to earth rather than a catastrophic fall, but nonetheless unless the economy changes dramatically for the better, it's going to happen.