Guest hosting Bill Bennett's radio show, the always-good-for-a-laugh Michael Steele concurs with a caller who doubts we're in an economic crisis because "I look around and I don't see people spending any less money."

"I've heard a number of people say that, across the country," says Steele. Chuckling, he adds, "The malls are just as packed on Saturday."

 

In fact, as TPM notes, spiralling consumer demand has caused the vacancy rate in malls to increase 9.5 percent (or 8.7 million square feet) in just the first quarter of 2009--the largest jump on record--after increasing by 8.9 percent (8.6 million square feet) last year.

--Christopher Orr