The National Bureau of Economic Research released a statement that the United States has been in a recession that began in December 2007. Recessions are characterized by a decline in production, wages, and employment, among other factors. As we enter into the holiday shopping season, this news will likely serve as a shock to consumer confidence and slow spending, which as the NYT reports , is a "prime [fuel] of American economic growth." The Buzz is no economist, but here is what I suggest: Rather than spending more money that we don't have, though, Americans should be focused on getting and keeping jobs, rebulding savings and making mortgage payments. The economy has been on the downturn for a year, they say, with no glimpse of recovery. With the government on a bailout binge, why pour more money into these corporations? With better personal finance, we can at least begin to protect ourselves from the market, bad mortgages, and anything else that might get thrown at us. Maybe then, we'll be able to climb out of this mess.