There could be many metaphors for the current recession, but perhaps none better than recent styles in blue jeans: you know the ones bought off the rack already shot through with holes?
Pre-fatigued jeans best symbolize the mentality that has led us into this financial abyss.
Prior to this fashion trend clothes in disrepair became that way because their owners wore them out. In the last decade, though, the trend has been to buy expensive clothes designed to look distressed. (I know of one case in which a roofer was paid $20 by someone for his raggedy UNC ball cap.)