President Obama hasn't quite ruined the U.S. economy, so the NY Post has to work with what its got: the tabloid of record rustled up some three-card monte con men in midtown yesterday to help make sweeping generalizations about NYC's downward de Blasio spiral:

Is this Christmas 2014 — or 1974?

A stark reminder of New York City’s bad old days appeared on the streets of Manhattan Thursday, as three-card monte dealers turned out in force on Fifth Avenue.

An army of the shady gamblers — offering both crooked card and shell games — set up between West 53rd and 56th streets, fleecing Christmas tourists like hapless rubes in an old-time movie.

Is this how the bad old days were back when a Squeegee man was spotted this past summer? Because Squeegee men came back in 2008, too, which was during the Glorious Reign Of Mayor Bloomberg.

One man reportedly lost $500 near Henri Bendel (his wife: "My husband is pissed!") and "was too sheepish to demand his money back from the dealers, whose associates stood watch over their box-top game boards." The Post says its reporter tried to get closer to one game, but then the scammer's "thuggish partner threw a hard elbow as a signal to get back. When asked about the game, none of the dealers would talk. One just said that 'business is good.'"

If you have a few minutes, please watch this extremely important episode of Everybody Hates Chris, where Chris Rock's mother explains how three-card monte scammers work their confidence game (there are shills; if you choose the "right" card, the scammer will raise the bet; etc.):