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Patience is a virtue, right? We've been waiting for the recovery to kick in and demand to pick up. But this spring has not been an upbeat time. What's happening is not subtle and should be particularly unsettling, especially on the international scene.

Let's start with Europe. Nothing good is going on there. Greece is headed down and possibly out of the euro zone, but the real worry is Spain—nearly 25% unemployment in the region's fourth-largest economy. The price tag is too high for a comfortable bailout and the country's banks have begun to teeter, with no way out from once-booming housing markets into an oblivion of unsustainable price run-ups and overbuilding (sound familiar?). France wants to do stimulus, but where is the money coming from? The Germans have no appetite to lend more—they understandably think any new infusions will go right down a sinkhole. And across the channel, the austerity-minded UK is already back in recession, essentially thanks to using too little stimulus.

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