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October 10, 2008

To Hell In A Handbasket

That's how it looks at the moment, my friends

LONDON (Reuters) - Europe joined Asia's panic selling in stocks on Friday, knocking the benchmark world equity index to a 5-year trough, while the low-yielding yen jumped as fears grew that efforts by policymakers are insufficient to contain the global financial crisis.

Equity trading in Russia, Iceland, Romania, Ukraine and Indonesia has been halted while nearly half of Milan stocks are suspended for excessive losses, just hours before finance chiefs from Group of Seven rich nations meet in Washington.

But one thing to keep in mind is that with specialized computer trading programs these market moves get over-done, selling markets lower than they really should be much as they also can lift them higher then they should be when moods are ebullient. Knowing things get exaggerated is not much of a comfort when it's your savings getting pummeled, for sure, but it may be indicative that, while things seem horrific for the future it might not get as bad as we fear. One thing that reassures me a little at the moment is that so far no commercial banks have failed, as far as I can tell. I find that reassuring, that banks that have worked in the traditional style, lending to businesses and individuals, are stronger than the flashier investment banks that needed to keep searching for ever greater returns to satisfy their investors..and are paying the price for their ill-considered risk taking. So hopefully the groundwork, the base, is there for us to recover and start anew once the bloodletting is done.

But we need to atone for our sins in this, our gorging on debt, our over-extending ourselves in the hedonistic orgy of easy credit. Has there been unchecked government spending? Hell yes. Has there been questionable lending by banks and financial companies? Hell yes. But we also all need to look at ourselves and accept the fact that we willingly spent money we did not have, well in excess of what we rationally could hope to pay back in a reasonable time. Sure, all the ads said "past results are not reflective of future returns" but that was because we would earn even more on the next go-round, right? How many decent companies that made a steady profit every year were punished by the people investing our money because they didn't make more money the next year and increase their profit margin? How greedy were we? We bought the latest fashions and ate at the trendiest places far too often, took too many trips to Cancun and rented limos for our 8th grade proms. Now the cold reality sets in. The grass may in fact be greener on the other side...but that doesn't mean the grass you have right now is bad. We have to re-learn what previous generations knew, to always hope and strive for better things of course but more importantly to make do with what we have, to not reach far beyond our grasp.

So instead of going out this weekend get some burgers or steaks and some cheap bottles of wine, invite your neighbors over and enjoy life.

Not things.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at October 10, 2008 06:15 AM


...invite your neighbors over and enjoy life.

Oddly enough, Mr. B, I've already planned to do just that. Indeed, I am taking today off to make suitable preparations.

Posted by: The_Real_JeffS at October 10, 2008 10:41 AM

Can't be much of a party if WE weren't invited...::sniff::

Posted by: tree hugging sister at October 10, 2008 11:13 AM

I'm taking small comfort (very small) that 1) my husband is covered up in work, so, Yay!, and 2) I paid $2.99 in gas yesterday.

Posted by: Lisa at October 10, 2008 11:30 AM

Well, POOH, Lisa! And here I was stoked at the $3.17.

Hope for the FUture...!

Posted by: tree hugging sister at October 10, 2008 11:36 AM

And that $2.99 on gas translates in to billions of dollars every month that are staying here and not going overseas.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at October 10, 2008 12:01 PM

Sorry, Sis, but it's an antenna party, and I figured you didn't want to be climbing on the roof and all.

But there will be pizza afterwards, if you're available. Just let me know if the Scotties are coming along, and I'll get an extra one for them.

Posted by: The_Real_JeffS at October 10, 2008 12:54 PM

Update: Make that $2.89 a gallon. It fell 10 cents in the time I got my nails done at lunch today.

Posted by: Lisa at October 10, 2008 03:17 PM

$2.95 on the way home from the campaign office!


Nothing for Beau, Jeff? Sheesh. And I'll have you know I'm a virtual Flying Wallenda on roof tops.

Posted by: tree hugging sister at October 10, 2008 05:28 PM

For Beau, I have steak in the freezer. All I need do is thaw and serve.

But you're a Flying Wallenda? I thought you were in a MAW!


Posted by: The_Real_JeffS at October 10, 2008 06:03 PM