I will say in advance that this may be a simplistic view of the financial mess much (not all) of the nation is in.
But, in the future, while we're celebrating future economic "booms", we might be well advised to remember that a simple law of gravity also applies to money.
What goes up, usually comes down.
There's no better example of this than where we were ten years ago, and where we are now.
Remember the red-hot economy of 1998-99? Much of that was brought on by what was called an "information explosion" or the growing number of "dot-com" companies, meaning companies which existed and sold merchandise on line. Many of the entrepreneurs of those companies told us the sky was the limit in terms of what money they could rake in. Economists were even talking about a "recession-proof" economy of the future. Adding to the good times, gas was under a dollar a gallon, even for premium. (I should add that, at that time, somebody named Osama Bin Laden was causing havoc on the other side of the world, but that didn't seem to be our concern at the moment.)
Then came 2000. The "dot-coms" went bust, mainly because the "old economy" companies learned to do business over the internet as well. Gas went up above $2 a gallon for the first time. (In 2000, before George W. was in the White House.) That was followed by the corporate scandals, and, of course, September 11th. People who had been raking in money in the stock market weren't raking it in any more.
Quite a few of them decided to invest in what then was the exploding housing market, and,. just as they had in stocks, did quite well. For a while. Then came 2005, and the beginning of the "burst of the housing bubble". This year, we've seen the fallout with the apparent collapse or near-collapse of several nearly iconic institutions: Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and others. With a presidential election going on, politicians are pointing fingers (justifiably, in some cases) as to who is to blame, and who has more ties to the failed institutions than the other.
But the real culprits are all of us. Because while we feel like, in the words of a Neil Diamond song, "good times never seemed so good", they don't last forever. That what goes up, eventually comes down.
But that applies to bad times as well. And, while it may be painful, we'll get through this.
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