News that the US economy has been in recession for a year will come as little surprise to millions of Americans facing job losses and home repossession.
Figures released at the start of this week showed US manufacturing had its biggest fall in 26 years triggering fears of a global economic slump. Unemployment has grown every month since December last year.
While ordinary people face crisis, bankers last week celebrated yet another handout.
The US government’s bill for the credit crunch soared to a staggering $1.5 trillion after the authorities unveiled an extra $800 billion in support scheme for the financial system.
President elect Barack Obama now faces pressure to intervene to save car makers Fords and General Motors and to halt home repossessions.
Announcing his new national security team – headed by Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state – Obama attempted to dampen expectations.
He said the public should not take some of the things said during “the heat of a campaign” too seriously, and pledged to maintain the US as the “strongest military power on the planet”.
Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq war and her appointment aims at uniting the pro and anti-war wings of the Democratic Party.