Wednesday, January 23, 2008

DOW Breaks 12000!

Wow, that’s pretty amazing. It was only back in October that the markets topped 14,000, leading me to conclude that even though there was a lot of nastiness in our forecasts, what with subprime loans and soaring energy costs, that we were finally moving the economy forward. It might not show up on YOUR bottom line, but somewhere, someone’s accountants would be smiling.

And then the markets tanked. Seriously, DOW 2000 points off its high, with massive drops on Friday and yesterday. Monday was a holiday, so everyone got to watch the rest of the world’s markets augur in in anticipation.

Our pro-business newspaper the Seattle Times, finally moved the economic news to front page, above the fold this morning, in the aftermath. Of course, it was with the subhead – “”But doing something can make things worse – so DON”T DO ANYTHING.” And they pared it with an article that, despite the drop of number of home sales and increase of housing inventory, homes are just as expensive (and presented this as good news). Mind you, yesterday, as the foreign markets were tanking, they ran a picture of a man biking across Puget Sound.

Our increasingly invisible president (he went to Israel for the first time in his administration – if you weren’t watching PBS, you would have missed it), has lobbed a recovery plan that looks suspiciously like the one George McGovern proposed back in 1972 – give people money. Of course, it won’t be real money, but rather a tax break or a rebate or an advance or somesuch strings-attached deal. And there is debate about whether the government should bail out the taxpayers as they bail out the corporations day in and out.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has tried to keep the debacle from getting worse by a sudden, emergency rate cut of three-quarters of a point, which resulted in a massive sudden drop in the markets. I often refer to rate cuts as giving the squalling child a cookie, but this is much more serious – this is flinging an entire box and the child in the hopes that diabetic shock will shut him up and let the adults drink themselves into oblivion before said child recovers.

Of course, such macro-economics doesn’t count for the Times admonition of "don’t mess with things”. And the faitht that this administration has engendered over the years with other crisis just fills me with dreadful anticipation.

So strap in, its going to be a bumpy ride.

More later,