I am not a pessimist, for, as is taught by history, we will "muddle through" this crisis.
But I am a realist, and the former US economy and GDP was funded 71% by consumer spending. Much spending, was not of disposable income, but on credit cards,and from home refinancing or equity credit lines using their homes as ATMs. Saving rates were negative and retirements were not planned, as ever rising home equity was the expectation of all, including the banks and experts. Millions have lost their homes; millions have lost their jobs, and there will be more. This was a bubble economy, it was unsustainable, and will not return. The "days of fat" are over for most. Traditional defined benefit retirements are gone; 401K's have been savaged; and employers are reducing and eliminating health care benefits. Retired boomers dreams of secure retirement are shattered.
We will recover. To leaner, scarcer, more responsible, less affluent days...but never to the careless, affluent, easy former "bubble days". Those days are "gone with the wind". The youth face a grimmer and leaner future. Sorry, but this is reality.