Consumers drive 70% of the economy in the US. They are tapped out with all time low savings and all time high debt. The low interest rates and the housing boom inflated prices and allowed a lot of stupid people to run up the economy with home equity spending. Billy joe and Booby sue would see a $150K gain on their home sell it and move and buy a more expensive home, pull some equity and buy an Escalade and beamer and a 50" plasma. Or they would sit on their home and take out a heloc or a fixed HE loan and buy an RV and a baot etc. Now their homes have dropped $200k in value because no one wants to buy them and they sit on a 25 year payment plan for a depreciated asset and little to no home equity. They were pigs drunk at the trough and now they are staggering arround looking for a bail out.