Friday, October 10, 2008

Taking Stock...

I received a brief email from one of my brothers this morning, saying two things:

"Go Phillies!!!"... and, "I'm watching my 401k being wiped in half."

I haven’t even considered looking at mine. If I was in my 60s or older, and either close to or in retirement (and poorly invested), then I’d be worried. But, as long as it’s somewhat diversified, it’ll eventually bounce back. Remember, it was just seven short years ago, after the tech bubble burst and then 9/11 hit, that the economy tanked big-time. Then, in a matter of a few short years, it all came back to equilibrium.

This time around, it’s the housing bubble (which, in general, is still way too high, median price-wise – in relation to inflation over the same time period – thanks in part Fannie/Freddie and to Clinton’s Jan 31, 1995 executive order that forced this mess and started kicking in a few short years later) and the obscene oil price bubble that’s bursting. Oil is now down to under $80/barrel after it peaked at $147 in mid-July (thanks to speculators and OPEC/Russia/Iran/Venezuela market manipulation).

The whole world is in economic crisis, not just the U.S. And the world is finally realizing that if the U.S. goes down the whole globe goes down with it. They can’t afford to keep sticking their fingers in the eyes of America anymore. It’s when oil prices finally get back down to normal (within the $40-60/barrel range), and housing prices do the same (when median prices equal 1998 prices plus true inflation adjustments from 1998-2008), that the road to recovery will begin.

We're almost there. Eventually, it’ll all come out in the wash.

Besides, like Pope Benedict said just a few days ago:

"We now see in the collapse of the great banks: money disappears, turns to nothing," B16 said in an impromptu meditation at the day's start. "And all these things, which seem like the true reality on which we can count, are realities of a second order.

"One who builds his life on these realities, on objects, success, on everything that's visible, builds on sand," the pontiff added, referring to options of sand or rock cited by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. "Only the Word of God is the foundation of every reality, fixed as the heavens and more than the heavens, is the reality."

"So we must change our concept of realism," he continued. "The realist is the one who recognizes in the Word of God, this reality apparently so weak, the foundation of everything. The realist is the one who builds his life on this foundation that remains permanently."

So, take heart everyone. And take stock... real stock... spiritual stock.

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