2000-2007: The boom that left us feeling busted

Did you know that, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, consumer spending actually increased by 0.4% in March? That's right: statistics show that the United States' economy, as indicated by consumer spending, is actually growing!

Well, that's a little bit of an exaggeration. Actually, if you were to account for inflation, consumer spending has risen by an anemic 0.1%. The other 0.3% increase was due to rising prices, specifically the increased cost of food and energy.

Basically, people are buying the exact same things that they were buying a month ago, but are now paying more for those items. And, to be honest, there doesn't seem to be a light at the end of this tunnel. Energy costs are probably going to keep on rising, at least for the time being, and food prices will probably keep pace. Basically, as economists keep telling us, we are at the tail-end of a boom cycle and we can look forward to an economy that will now readjust to reflect its actual dimensions.