The widening consensus that the U.S. economy has slowed to a crawl will be hammered home Friday with the government's expected announcement that the nation's second-quarter growth was far more anemic than previously estimated.
Many economists believe the Commerce Department will revise its estimate of growth in gross domestic product to 1.3 percent or lower, down from 2.4 percent -- a dismal performance, especially as the country struggles to rebound from recession.
A bad GDP number would cap a week's worth of troubling developments in the housing and financial markets, and ratchet up the pressure on President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats heading into November's midterm elections.
But just as there is widespread agreement that the economy is faltering, there is also a sense that the federal government is running out of options to rebuild momentum.
"Housing is in the tank. Confidence is going down. The stock market is going down."
The Democratic Party's counter arguments: "Glenn Beck is a racist", "Sarah Palin is stupid" and "They have the right to build the mosque".
Sorry, but that's not an effective campaign strategy.