Let's not sugarcoat what's going on. We are in a depression, not a recession. It continues to devastate industry after industry like a wild forest fire leaping across the clearings. First mortgages, then money market funds and commercial paper, then credit card debt came under assault. Layoffs and price collapses have spread from autos and auto parts to other industrial companies, metals and oil. GM, Ford and Chrysler have been problematic for years, but this is different. Easy credit has been the lifeblood of automakers, and today very few people can finance cars. Even Toyota (nyse: TM - news - people ), the master of kaizen (continuous improvement), posted an operating loss in 2008, its first in 70 years.
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