It's not just the obvious everyday stock market numbers that cause concern.
Some other ominous numbers include: one percent of the population has 40 percent of the wealth; 80 percent of the economy is driven by spending; current tax revenues at 14.9 percent of the national budget are the lowest since 1950.
This combination of factors does not suggest good times are a'coming. If 40 percent of wealth is pooled among the top one percent, where is the spending going to come from to drive, much less speed up, the economy? Not much money is left for the other 99 percent to spend.
No matter how well off the well-off are, if there is no increased demand for goods, moneyed folks will not invest in producing more goods, and there will be no new hires.
Increasing the amount in the top one percent's pockets has not produced new jobs. The Bush tax cuts obviously did not prevent the major market crash on his watch from which we have yet to recover.
In fact, our economy has done best when tax revenues were a little over 20 percent of the national budget. Now they are at one-third less than that. And some want to lower them even more, maybe down to nothing.
It does the economy little or no good that the top one percent has 40 percent of the wealth. There is precious little trickle down, as the theory goes, barely a slow drip drip drip.
Sales of luxury items are up, but this hasn't spurred job creation. Our economy is predicated upon many people buying stuff, everyday stuff, not just a few buying huge luxury items once in a while.
A significant faction of the powers-that-be, however, seems intent on dooming our economy. It favors steps that will further reduce the buying power of the lower 99 percent, steps such as public sector layoffs, cuts in retirement benefits, cuts in unemployment compensation, cuts in Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, cuts in almost all investments in people.
With the people forced to tighten their belts even more and purchase even less, manufacturers and retailers will layoff rather than hire workers. And layoffs will further decrease spending power, thus speeding up the negative downward spiral.
Yet we have outspoken advocates for the top one percent: they deserve every penny they have (however they acquired it) and they deserve to pay ever lower taxes.
In fact, most Republican Representatives and Senators have pledged more allegiance to Uncle Grover (Norquist) than to Uncle Sam. They have signed on to the Norquist campaign of no tax increases on the top one percent, no matter what.
They are not free to represent us, the 99 percent, we the people. They are sworn to represent Grover and the top one percent.
They even risked the unconstitutional act of defaulting on the nation's debt rather than listening to the vast majority of the public who said that balancing the budget requires not just program cuts but also tax increases on the least economically vulnerable.
By taking the Grover pledge, they aren't giving their full allegiance to the flag and the republic for which it stands. They aren't true Republicans.
If there were truth in labeling in politics, they would have to change their name to the Plutocratic Party, and GOP would stand for Grand Old Plutocrats.
(James Lein is a community columnist for The Minot Daily News)