I discovered this accidentally while going over the stats on my blog. My traffic is three to four times higher during the week than on the weekends, with most of it coming before 8:00 P.M. Drilling down further, I saw that it varied geographically; most of the hits were coming before 5:00 P.M. in each time zone- clearly, most people web surf at work. No surprise there, just confirmation.
Normally, this is not a problem for employers. Outside of email, the internet is used for only four things: buying term papers, porn, music videos, and politics. If you're already working, you don't need to buy term papers; filters prevent porn and video access, and scanning your favorite political blogs usually takes only a few minutes. You've lost less time at work from that than you lose at the water cooler talking about sports or what was on TV last night, even during an election year.
The pattern would have remained the same this year if the Democrats had run the usual crop of candidates; people like Biden and Edwards and Lieberman, people so deadly dull that they confiscate belts and shoelaces at rallies to prevent suicides. But not this year. Nooooo, this year the Democrats just had to run Senators Clinton and Obama. Suddenly, everyone was interested in politics. The blogosphere expanded exponentially, with every entry on Huffington or Newsmax receiving hundreds of replies. Productivity plummeted as millions of people spent their day comparing her glass ceiling to his change, instead of paying attention to their jobs. Of course the economy tanked!
You want proof? Look at the timing. The economy actually recovered from the multiple hits of Enron, 9/11, Katrina, etc., and cruised comfortably for several years. Why? Because the only political story in those years was George Bush, and nobody was interested in anything he had to say. Then Obama and Clinton filed their formal declarations of candidacy, and the economy started to slide. During the hard-fought primaries, it slid into recession. Then governor Palin was selected, and Lehman Bros. and Merrill Lynch went bust. The timing checks up and down the line- remember that it's the Democrats' fault that Gov. Palin was selected; had it been a Dodd/Biden ticket, McCain would have picked Gov. Pawlenty. Had that happened, nobody would be reading Daily Kos or Drudge at work, they'd be working instead- increasing productivity and profits. They would be working overtime instead of leaving at 5:00 and spending their spare time working phone banks and registering voters.
It's all the Democrats' fault.