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It may seem like there's little to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, but that depends on your perspective.



(TIF) - Get Tiffany & Co. Report

. The luxury retailer said today that

third-quarter sales

slipped only 1% and profit declined by about half. Yes, that's bad. But the jeweler is still profitable, right?

At the other end of the spectrum, farm equipment maker


(DE) - Get Deere & Company Report

reported a 21%

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jump in fourth-quarter sales

today, and its 18% drop in profit was due to costs for closing a facility in Canada. That sounds solid, doesn't it?

So you see, it could be worse. It could be a whole lot worse.

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We may be in a recession, but this is no depression.

The unemployment rate is rising, but it's only at 6.5%. Compare that to 7.5% in Germany, 8% in France and 11.3% in Spain. Or how about 23% in South Africa?

Inflation, meanwhile, is relatively tame at 3.7%. How about 4.7% in Britain, 6.4% in Singapore, 14.2% in Russia and 35.6% in Venezuela?

Combine those two indicators and you get the so-called misery index, which for the U.S. stands at 10.2%, up from 8.3% a year ago. That's just about the global average, with Thailand's 5% misery index at the low end and Venezuela's 42% marking the high.

So enough with the doom and gloom, already. This whole crummy stock market and economic slowdown is in large part a crisis of confidence. Consumers represent 70% of U.S. GDP, so it's no good if they get too spooked and stop spending. Lucky for us, consumers don't seem to fully realize how dire things could get. Some have

cut back on spending

, but so far not nearly at the level of the recession in the 1980s.

Ordinarily, I'd be outraged about the economic and political ignorance of the American populace, but this year I'm thankful for it. Please keep spending, folks.