As the Dow dipped into the 6000's and we wondered how low it would go,perhaps even 5000, is there any doubt in our minds that fear is the mantra of the day and investors are just running scared?
Forget fundamentals. Forget earnings.
Everyday, we keep hearing how much worse it's getting. Jobless claims, layoffs, falling revenues. It's economic armageddon in an echo chamber. Turn on the TV and feel like shit--and the networks are tripping over each other to make it sound worse and worse. Remember, fear drives ratings.
"How the falling economy increases preditory behavior on MySpace... tonight at 11."
"Mother of four kills her neighbor and feeds him to her kids after getting laid off. What's the job status of the people on *your* block?"
"When we come back, what you don't know about the stimulus could kill you."
Well, is it me, or isn't the government supposed to be really good at keeping secrets and lying to us? I mean, it's been almost 60 years since Roswell, right? We still don't know who shot JFK either.
Why can't we get some good old fashion men in black action on this economy? For starters, let's start releasing economic data that isn't as bad as expected--and little by little turning it up. So, one month we have job losses that aren't as bad as predicted. Next month a little better. Next month, flat unemployment. Would anyone even really notice the difference between 8.5% unemployment and 8.3%? It's not like turning on the TV during a blistering heatwave and having the government trying to convince you that it's 45 degrees.
Then, we'll start paying off reporters and influencing them to write positive stories about people returning to the malls and getting jobs. I'm sure there are more than a few reporters, given what they make, that would post a slanted story in exchange for having their credit card debt just mysteriously disappear due to a "computer glitch". Economic stories are slanted anyway. Think of all those holiday shopping stories. You can't say anything significant about same store sales just by walking the stores, yet hundreds of stories get written every year before the numbers come out about how good of a season it is--and it directly affects how many people come out and shop. It's all a matter of crafting a story--and some story angles would be a lot more helpful than others right about now--instead of the same old media scare tactics.
See... It's happening already. Did you see this bullshit housing starts data? Up 22%!! Who in the world is *starting* a house right now? Is there anyone out there who has seen ground broken on a new house? No... no one... It's totally made up data, but yet the market rallied on the news.
Am I ok with being lied to? Absolutely. Why? Because right now we're being bombarded with so much "truth" and in such a manner that it's almost like being lied to. Sure, financial institutions are in serious trouble... and yes, some people might have to move out their houses into apartments...maybe many... but half of this whole financial armageddon is due to the media preying on people's fears. Is it me or aren't you afraid to even open up your wallet? Because of fear, valuations can't stabilize. I say the government should be acting like a doting parent and not only telling us it's going to be ok, but backing that up with some fuzzy math that says it is ok. I'll pretend I believe it.