I'm Up, I'm Down. Where are You?

BlogHer Original Post

No, I'm not talking about the big 5-0 this week.

I'm talking about the stock market, my blood pressure and now the heartburn I'm feeling over where we are in this crazy, messed up economic world we're living in. It turns out I'm not the only one having a lot of tsurris over this.

There's so much talk -- about sub-prime mortgage lenders, the Dow and the LIBOR, a global credit index, and the VIX, a volatility index that I'd never heard of until last week. But around the blogosphere, people are more worried about the practical implications of which direction the markets are headed, like the commenter at PunditMom who saw her child's college fund plummet on 9/11 and recover just about in time for college, only to see it lose the majority of its value again last week. Now she wonders how they can make college happen for their girl. And there's plenty more frustration out there.

Becky's at Deep Muck Big Rake was summed up quite succinctly in this post:

I baked 96 muffins and lost more than $20,000 in retirement savings yesterday. And how was your day?

 Others wonder how the $700 billion bail-out is going to help real people with real problems, like Amber at New Jersey Moms Blog, who has been trying to figure out how to keep things going, as one event after another, paired with the current economy, has forced a middle class family into a situation they'd never thought they would face when circumstances caused their business to fail, Amber got laid off and unknown business loans taken out by their business partner fell behind:

And just like that, my husband and I (who used to make over $100,000 combined) found ourselves sitting in line waiting for WIC checks, applying for ... heating assistance and filling out forms for food stamps.

 This is the stuff that real people are dealing with, while the faces of big investment banks squirm in the Congressional spotlight of defending their millions in salaries and bonuses.

And then there's the hate. No, there's not a universal hate index affiliated with the Dow or the NASDAQ, but as I read Cynthia's post at Don't Gel Too Soon, I wondered if there should be, as she made a connection between our economy and the not-so-uplifting rhetoric of the McCain/Palin campaign:

[E]very day the level of negative language rises, the indulgent response to enraged constituents yelling things that should not be spoken in an American election or any other time: threats and bigoted characterizations and more. This kind of language is far more dangerous in a bad economy. Hitler was successful partially because the German economy had so badly frightened people ...

It's all scary, from the hate language to the dwindling bank accounts, from middle class families falling through the cracks to retirees who have decided that bread and a can of soup will have to be their mainstay for the foreseeable future.

I'm up and down, just like my 401(k), but I'm also scared about the possibility of where our economy and our society is headed. So many commentators keep telling us that this time is different and that the situation is being handled -- no way can we face a situation like the Great Depression again, they try to assure us on the daily cable talk shows.

I wish I could believe that, but I'm not sure I do.

BlogHer Contributing Editor Joanne Bamberger takes on the political world at her place, PunditMom.

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