The economy is spiraling down at an accelerating pace, threatening to undermine the Obama administration's spending plans, which anticipate vigorous rates of growth in years to come.
A sense of disconnect between the projections by the White House and the grim realities of everyday American life was enhanced on Friday, as the Commerce Department gave a harsher assessment for the last three months of 2008. In place of an initial estimate that the economy contracted at an annualized rate of 3.8 percent -- already abysmal -- the government said that the pace of decline was actually 6.2 percent, making it the worst quarter since 1982.
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