August 8, 2011

Just Another Bad Trading Day? I Think Not

Do you see the picture at the left?  It comes from a Tea Party rally.  A young girl is holding a poster that her parents have apparently foisted onto her.  It says:

How will I pay for this?

It's a good question.  In fact, how will that child pay for anything when she grows up?  Over the last two trading days, over 10% of the value of the S&P 500 has evaporated.  If she's lucky enough to have a college savings plan, it's not worth as much today.  The same is true of her parent's 401K.

Let's put this in perspective.  In just two days, the wealth that's been lost to you and me in the form of shares in S&P 500 companies sitting in our various investment accounts is nearly 40% of what congress finally agreed to cut from the nation's budget OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS. 

Now, here is what has my head on the verge of exploding.  Yes, I'm riled about the economic policies that allowed this country to fund two wars and a new prescription drug benefit without a commensurate increase in taxes, but that's not it.  Sure, I'm fed up with the gridlock that has put our nation on a course for an ever deepening malaise, but that's not it either. 

What's got me hopping mad is that several Tea Party leaders have been telling the president and the head of the Fed and various economists that they have to tell the truth and quit scaring Americans with their talk of financial calamity.  But aren't we there already?  Ignoring informed opinion and saying there isn't anything to worry about won't make our problems go away.  In fact, it's moronic and irresponsible.  At this point, I'm sure things have gotten bad enough that many of those S&P 500 companies can now see the wisdom of paying a few percentage points more in taxes, if they can just get the value of their former market capitalization back.

What the Tea Party is doing is to help the rich save more of the cash they're hording, while a trillion dollars of the nation's wealth vanishes.  It's kind of like Nero fiddling away even as his nation burns. 

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