"Bad news for some is good news for others" department:
A downtown South Bend business has 18 months left on its lease, but the owner believes the current rent structure is too high for market conditions. While this company is willing to extend its lease in exchange for reduced rent, a deal needs to be made soon. Otherwise, the business plans to shop around for a new downtown location.
What office tenants like this are finding, not only in South Bend but in cities across the country, are landlord concessions and lots of them in what has become a highly competitive and aggressive market sector during the national recession.
You don't have to go very far in Google to see that the story is right that this is a widespread problem. Here's a story from Florida, and here's one from Kentucky. There is obviously a nationwide landlord crisis of epic proportions requiring the government to step in and stimulate activity in this soft part of the economy, as we all learned in Economics 101. Perhaps some of these commercial tenants could be given government checks so they can pay the lease amount the landlords have come to expect.
Oh, by the way, think you might want to buy a used car in the near future? Well, forget about it. All the used cars are being turned in for the government's Cash for Clunkers program, which will put more people into debt as they buy new cars they might not be able to afford and will increase the cost of new cars, at a cost of at least $3 billion, which the government must borrow or print, which will help get the deficit up so high there will probably have to be a tax increase, which will deepen and lengthen the recession.
There are always side effects, even to (maybe especially to) simple-sounding government solutions to complex problems. Economcs 201.