And to follow on what butchie wrote ("And if you're in the market, low prices are a good thing."), allow me to paraphrase Shawshank: "Either get in the market, or get busy dying."
We're always in the market, every market, for everything and anything. Everyone has his or her price--see Terry Southern's "The Magic Christian." Holy Goddess, if I had a few bucks I'd be scooping up foreclosed homes by the bushel. My own home is underwater, but I'm only 57 and plan to keep working for another 15 years if I possibly can, so I don't give a hoot (I love work; if you don't, all the money in the world won't make you happy at your job.) Same goes for my 401K--does everybody realize how cheap stocks are?? I'm buying--every paycheck. Who cares if they'll go down more? They'll be even cheaper, which means I can afford more of them. I mean, this downturn is less than a couple years old and likely to last less than a couple more years. That's nothing in the grand scheme of things. A pittance. It's a shakeout. Momma's putting the leftovers in the fridge, and the cheapskates who only came for the free meal are hitting the road.
Of course publically traded corporations are moaning and groaning: they live by the quarter and die by the quarter. When their numbers suck they get beat up by shareholders in would/coulda/shoulda mode. Nobody likes to get beat up. Tough titty; it comes with the territory.
Mom and pops that have been around forever are going belly-up. To which I say, you had a great run; be grateful, 90% of small businesses fail in the first five years.
Businesses pimping consumer goods paid for by irrational home equity are dying; automakers who've been building dinosaurs for decades are on the edge. You're telling me this is a bad thing? And Wall Street? Throw the moneychangers out of the temple and fumigate the damn place, sez I, or learn to live with cockroaches, like most of the planet.
Yeah, we're in a downward spiral/doldrums at the moment. Some people are hurting; we can easily muster what's needed to help them out ("OMG! That means we'll run deficits for several more years!" Put a cork in it.). Then await the economy's return, which should be interesting given the opportunities that are popping up like the spring weeds that decorate the hills around my home. Speaking of which, the aquifer that feeds my well is plumb tuckered out. I don't want sunshine. I want rain.
And recall that the sum of the squares of the two sides adjacent to the right angle still equals the square of the hypotenuse. Which will be true long after the Sun has turned into a red giant and charbroiled the Earth, i.e., truth has little to do with current events. (That's what's REALLY bugging a lot of people: something is happening here, but they don't know what it is, do they? We're all Mr. Jones.) Stick to what we might discern as universal truths--e.g., compassion, honesty, patience, industry, thrift, generosity, humility, integrity, courtesy, courage, the Pythagorean theorum--and everything else will take care of itself.
And get a couple chickens. They basically eat bugs and a little grain, so their eggs are nearly free, then they die and you eat them, too. Put the savings in a fund indexed on the S&P 500--or Treasuries, if you're really paranoid. You'll thank me.
And use condoms.
And COPE, goddamn it.
And be of goddamn good cheer. A close family friend recently blew out his bowel, came down with a nasty infection, lost most of his marbles in the process and now doesn't recognize his wife. His prognosis is bad and getting worse. That's a crisis.
This financial downturn--a "crisis"? Please.
Somethings Happening Here, And We Don't Know What It Is
My favorite philosopher, williamyard: