Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova
I was actually listening to “Killer Queen” (by Queen) this morning and for some reason this television show came to mind. Maybe it was lines pertaining to Moët et Chandon in her pretty cabinet or the caviar and cigarettes -well versed in etiquette, but Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous was one of the first television shows to actually feature the well-to-do.
It was truly an unprecedented time of growth and outrageous spending in the US as we bounced back from inflationary rates that had gripped the US for more than a few years. (At one point, the inflation rate was over 13%. E-gads.) I believe some of this was because of the 1973 stock market crash that came swiftly on the heels of the oil crisis and subsequent embargo by OPEC / the Middle East because of American aid to Israel. Long story short, they demanded higher prices and we paid. In fact, oil prices were pretty out of control until the mid 1980’s.
About the time the economy really started to settle down, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous hosted by Robin Leach came on the air. It was an inside look at the who’s who and who’s got what. Opulence was the name of the day and I believe it helped inspire a generation ore two to strive for “more.” After all, we could literally see what “more” was and it was a lot.
Now a strange thing happened in the midst of “Lifestyles” run that rocked the whole world. I was just a high school senior , but I remember clearly the day the stock market crashed on “black Monday” – October 19,1987. $500 billion dollars was lost on that one day alone. It was about a quarter of it’s estimated value at that time. Here… let me put this into perspective courtesy of wiki for the visual learners out there.
There were more than a few contributing factors to the crash including overvaluation and market psychology; however, one of the reasons the stock market rebounded as quickly as it did was because of the Savings and Loans. Oddly enough, the S&L business started to crash two years later because of horrible regulatory practices and that continued almost as long as “Lifestyles.” By the time the show ended, about a third of the S&L’s were toast.
Like a pendulum, the economy swings back and forth. But for whatever reason, it feels as though today the rest of the world has more of an impact on the American economy than American’s actually do. In a post 9/11 universe, I have seen the European union struggle with problems such as Standard and Poor dropping Greece’s credit rating and the subsequent bailout, the Chinese stock market took a big hit last year and even Brexit has caused some shifting in the valuation of stocks. (Investors lost about $2 trillion US dollars last year alone during Brexit.)
So what does all this actually mean? Well…I’m not sure, but the one thing I do know is numbers don’t lie and when you look at the DOW (Dow Jones Industrial Average) and the market ups and downs, it appears to my untrained eye that we are land-sliding into an economic supernova.
In the two generations since my senior year of high school, I realize more and more the folks who lived through the Great Depression in 1929, the subsequent decade of unheard of unemployment, the Dust Bowl and the years leading into WW2 learned to make due with much less than the excesses that came to be flaunted in the 1980’s and 90’s. I think it’s high time we all prepare the best we can for what feels like an uncertain future. After all, who will bail out the US if our economy tanks like it did almost 90 years ago? No one. That’s who.