The American Republic is 226 years old. The Roman Empire lasted 13 centuries before collapsing. The Roman emperors attempted to stave off the collapse by providing bread and circuses to the masses. Feeding Christians to lions worked only for so long. I picture Caligula “Mad Money” Cramer exhorting the masses that the worst was over and not to worry about the Vandals and the Huns. Nero “Mustard Seed” Kudlow probably saw a recovery on the horizon as Barbarians were at the gates of the city. Cleopatra “Money Honey” Bartiromo was proclaiming that the stupid masses didn’t know what was best for the system. Caesar “Glimmers of Hope” Obama was sure that if they just distributed more bread and added a few more circuses, things would improve by the Ides of March.
The false prosperity we have been experiencing for the last thirty years has come to an abrupt conclusion in the last 18 months. The amount of wealth destroyed is beyond comprehension. Household net worth has declined by $12 trillion in a matter of months. It will take years for average Americans to restore their wealth to 2007 levels. If your investment portfolio has declined by 50%, it will need to increase by 100% to break even.