Monday, March 02, 2009

Dow Jones: How Low will it Go!

Fear grips Wall Street as the Dow fell 300 points (299.64)today and fell below below 7,000 for first time since 1997! President Obama has done little to allay those fears with contradictory signals coming out of the White House and the reckless spending of the Democrats in Congress with the President's acquiescence. SELL... SELL...SELL is the word on Wall Street.

I wish I was a gold dealer, business must be great!


I am worried.I wish I didn't have to say this but we may be in the early stages of a full economic meltdown that will go on for much longer than is predicted and be studied for generations. In talking with people I see fear. No one wants to talk about it but they hint about it in their conversations with acquaintances."How is your business doing?" "Your business is recession proof isn't it?" "We aren't going on a vacation this year" "We didn't get season tickets this year" We aren't eating out as much as we used to" etc. I don't say this with any joy or attempt at political advantage but no one seems to know what to do. We are in uncharted waters. Those in power seem to be making all the wrong choices. The so called experts are no help at all and just as dumbfounded as we all are. As a student of history, people in the middle of such a a meltdown often will attempt to minimise it."Everything is normal... nothing has changed" Oh, the movies and the basketball games go on but things are not normal. Think of the Jews in Germany who minimised the threat posed by the Nazis and the ultimate solution.They didn't know where it was leading until the box cars arrived at the death camps. At each stage they rationalized what was happening. If you read newspapers in 1929, after the crash, they didn't seem to know where things were headed either. . It is easy with the benefit of hindsight to think everyone knew where things were going; but, when history is unfolding few know where things will end up.We all look back and think they were just dumb and we would have done it differently; but, 20/20 is always better in hindsight. Did the Romans and those who made up Western Civilization know that the world was slipping into the Dark Ages?

Abraham Lincoln in his Second Inaugural Address described this when speaking about the beginning of the Civil War:

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, urgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. 2
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding.

In the end, it is an interesting time to live and we should all prepare for the worst and hope for the best. History shows that "good times" do not last forever. We may get an economic form of Y2K 9 years late. I sincerely hope that when I read this in a year or so I will be embarrassed by my pessimism; but, I fear that will not be the case.I think there is reason for fear!