IS it any wonder that people get confused about the true financial state of the nation?
We have just spent the last six months being bombarded by the melt-down of European economies, the explosion of national debt, company closures and mass redundancies, rising levels of unemployment and the spectre of a looming depression but what was the headline news in the run-up to Christmas?
It was the fact that high street shops reported a downturn in retail sales.
A tearful spokesman for the Retail Federation of NSGB said that the total for this year’s Christmas takings would be the lowest since 1637 and that massive discounting might not be enough to save a number of high profile companies.
Cue pictures of closing down signs, boarded-up shop fronts and tumbleweed blowing down Oxford Street.
What on earth did these numbskulls expect? We’ve just lived through months of hand-wringing by government ministers, financial commentators predicting more doom and gloom by the hour, riots in the streets about budget cuts and creeping inflation.
Did the shopkeepers really think that Joe Public would ignore it all and go on a lavish spending spree?
The retailers have proved themselves as daft as the budget-cuts protesters and the strikers complaining about their publicly-funded pensions.
Not one of them has asked the fundamental question: Where is the money coming from?