Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Be Reassured. Let Me Count the Whys.

I'm grateful for reassuring people like Jason Zweig, whose Wall Street Journal advice column said this morning that we're not facing another Great Depression.

The Federal Reserve is stronger and readier to lend than in 1929 or 1987, Zweig says. A flood of cash is waiting in healthy businesses right here in the United States, cash that will find its way into distressed stocks--a sort of trickle-down from strong to weak. Besides, Zweig says, nobody was freaking out in 1929. There's bound to be action with everyone freaking out now.

I'll have to admit that that's me. I had an interview for a job I'd really enjoy, but that was early September, just before the banks started toppling. The hiring process is suspended, I'm told. Will it ever start up again? Will the publication itself survive?

Louis Rukeyser came up with a more direct, if less reasoned, reassurance for panicky investors the week in 1987 when the stock market fell by a third. Everyone who loved you yesterday still loves you today, he said. Puppies will still curl up in your lap and go to sleep.

I'd say if you're looking for reassurance, Rukeyser's was the better advice of the two. Anyone can argue the points Zweig made. There's no arguing about whether the people who really loved you will love you still.

So give your dearest a hug. If you're a shouter, shout at a stranger.

And remember, if you haven't got anybody, you can always get a puppy.

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