I do not pretend to be an economist. In fact, as a breed these people are even more worthless than tits on a boar hog. Put any three economists in a room and you will have three different explanations about whatever economic event is happening. Put a hundred in a room, and you'll get a hundred explanations. These guys make historians appear monolithic. Unfortunately, the people everybody is turning to now to explain the monstrous events transpiring in the U.S. economy are economists--or Wall Street gurus--or business writers. So, I can't offer you an explanation as to why the market tanked yesterday, even after the $85 billion bailout the U.S. Treasury just extended to AIG. Government bailout was good news a few days ago. The market doesn't make sense when it is relieved by bailout on one day and not relieved the next day. At least to me it doesn't. But what to do I know. The generalized explanation is that fear has taken over. Investors are so skittish that even a bailout of the proportions that happened with AIG cannot allay the creeping panic.
This is what I believe. We are in the midst of a huge financial crisis in this country that's going to have a profound effect on our future and our way of life. I won't pretend to be optimistic about this situation. I mean, look what we've got to rely on to get us out of this mess: an administration that has fostered a revived Gilded Age for the past 8 years, replete with a repugnance to regulation of the financial sector (or anything else) and has gotten the country literally trillions in debt.
I'll tell you one thing: I'd sure feel a lot better if I saw some of the grasping, greedy sons of bitches who materially assisted in bringing this crisis on (Wall Street and banking CEOs, et al.) go to jail. I'm not reading any news about these guys losing everything. Quite the contrary. It appears they're going to be just fine. It's all the little people who are going to get creamed.
To the most immediate question, what does this mean for me and my wife in retirement, which we happen to be in at the moment. Well, it's not clear. The general tenor of commentary out there seems to be: things are bad, but nobody's sure exactly how bad or what it means. See this, and especially the responses to it. I guess we'll all just have to stay tuned. There's not much any of us pipsqueaks can do about this mess.