As expected, "it's the economy" is the rallying cry from racing.
The gross domestic product in the USA was 7.3 trillion in 1998. In 2007 it was almost double that. If we are to believe that the bad economy is a reason why we are down, then why did we not double handles since 1998 when the economy grew by almost 100%? Why aren't handles $28 billion this year? We have not grown anything if at all since 1998. Handle was around $14B then, as it is now.
They can't have it both ways.