Let's hope there won't be a default to cope with on top of this. The Commerce Department announced that economic growth slowed in the first six months of 2011 to its weakest pace since the end of the recession, as high gas prices and paltry income gains forced Americans to cut back on spending. The new figures show the economy expanding at a 1.3 percent rate from April through June, and only 0.4 percent in the three months before that. Economic growth was shown to have contracted a full percentage point more than was previously thought. From the end of 2007 to June 2009, the economy shrank at a rate of 5.1 percent.