Chicken Smith View:
One year ago on January 31, 2007, the DOW closed at 12,621.69.
Today, on January 31, 2008, the DOW closed 12,650.36. This is growth? This is cause for celebration?
So what happened to all the records that the DOW broke over the course of 2007? What happened to that glorious bull market everybody was rushing to be a part of? Nothing. It was never really there. And now we’re back to January 2007 levels. What’s next 2006, 2005, 2004?
Oh, the numbers did get to 14,000, but it was all irrational exuberance. Not a true representation of a market economy. That got left behind along with the old century. Today, it is no longer supply based on demand, rather it is demand based on supply — if you’ve got the money (or credit) and it’s available, just buy it. Who cares if it’s any good, everything eventually goes up, doesn’t it? Besides, when stocks are down, isn’t that the best time to buy?
Have you purchased eggs lately? Inflation is going through the roof! I don’t have to remind you of the housing mess, but what about the dollar mess? Or the frivolous lawsuit mess? Or the credit crunch? Or the political mess? Or the health care mess? Live in Massachusetts and can’t afford health insurance? No problem, just pay an outrageous fine for every month you weren’t insured to the Department of Revenue and at least those who don’t even work will be able to get some sort of sub-standard subsidized health care while you get taxed to death (you can thank Mitt Romney for that one).
It seems every aspect of our modern, “first-world” civilized life is taking a turn for the worse. And remember that the stock market is a trailing indicator, so that means we’ve yet to feel that pain. And that talk of a recession? Too late, we’re already waist deep in it.
What to do? You’ve got me. I’ve recommended everything from getting solar panels and digging your own water well to learning another language and exiting our currently collapsing U.S. society. The truth is, nobody knows what’s going on, nor what the best course of action is. For all I know, the rest of the world will suffer right along with us.
My feeling is that the U.S. will be in a recession and/or depression for at least five years. I’ve heard numbers as high as 15 and 20 years, which lead me to believe it can easily get to 10 years of economic turmoil or more. If the Great Depression is any indicator, we may be in this for over 20 years! According to this chart of the stock market crash of 1929, I’d say we might be headed for a big drop, followed by a “Short Recovery” followed by never-ending drops.
Head for the hills? Fuggit about it, just charge up your credit cards and hope Visa & MasterCard collapse before you do.