20 Shocking Numbers of the Past Four Years

Everyone this week should be talking about the past four years.

No, not because of the upcoming presidential election. But because four years ago Saturday was when Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, plunging the financial system into sheer chaos and marking the informal beginning of what we now call the Great Recession.

How crazy has it been ever since? Here are 20 numbers that contextualize what we've been through.

308,000 is the drop in local education employment since late 2008. There are fewer local education jobs today than there were in 2004, even though the number of 5- to 18-year-olds has increased by 600,000.

181,000 is the number of times the phrase "economic crisis" was used in news articles from September 2008 through today, according to Google.

828,000 is the decline in the number of Americans age 30 to 44 since 2008. The cohort represents the prime earning, saving, and spending years, and it has fallen every year since 2001.

5 million is the number of personal bankruptcy filings since September 2008. The number of bachelor's degrees awarded from 2008 to 2011 is just slightly more, at 5.2 million.

39.2 is the number of weeks an average unemployed American has been out of work. In September 2008, that figure was 18.7 weeks.

3 million is how many fewer employed Americans there are today compared with September 2008. That's a big improvement from where we've been, though. In late 2010, there were 6.4 million fewer jobs than in 2008.

$3,700 is how much more annual income a median household would have today if incomes had increased by the same annual growth rate from 2008 to 2012 as they did over the previous five decades.

6.4 million is the increase from 2008 to 2011 in the number of Americans the Census Bureau counts as living below the poverty line. Last year, 46.2 million Americans lived below the poverty line.

33.7% is how much the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) has returned since the day after Lehman collapsed. That's about 8% a year, or close to stocks' long-term historic average. If you checked the market the before Lehman collapsed and didn't look again until this morning, you'd think the world has been carrying on normally.

41 is the number of days the Dow Jones (INDEX: ^DJI  ) has gone up or down more than 3.5% since September 2008.

9 is the number of S&P 500 industries, out of 11, that earned higher profits in the past year than in the year before Lehman's collapse. Of the index's 500 components, 345 earned more profit per share last year than they did in 2008.

$32 billion is the net amount of money added to equity mutual funds and ETFs since 2008. That's made up of $316 billion in net withdrawals from equity mutual funds, and $348 billion added to equity ETFs.

$1.2 trillion is the increase in excess reserves banks hold at the Federal Reserve. This is why massive money printing hasn't led to massive inflation -- yet.

1 percentage point is the rise in the unemployment rate for those with a bachelor's degree since 2008. For those with a high school diploma, unemployment has risen by 3 percentage points.

$4.3 trillion is the cumulative gap between potential and actual GDP since late 2008. In other words, had the economy been operating at full capacity, we'd have produced $4.3 trillion more goods and services over the past four years than we actually did.

$9.3 trillion is the increase in aggregate household net worths from 2008 through early 2012. Most of the gain was due to rising stock prices and a big drop in household debt, largely achieved by defaults.

$5.2 trillion is the increase in federal debt since 2008. Interestingly, the annual interest expense on that debt has declined by $30 billion since 2008.

$300 billion is the increase in the amount of student loans outstanding since 2008.

61% is the percentage of new debt issued by the Treasury that the Federal Reserve purchased last year.

Zero is the number of market pundits who said stocks were dead, who said hyperinflation was imminent, or who warned interest rates were about to spike and were right about it.

Of course, Lehman alone isn't responsible for these numbers. The bubble leading up to the 2008 meltdown was years -- even decades -- in the making. Everyone from consumers to governments to central bankers to Wall Street bankers played a role.

But Lehman taught us how quickly and ferociously things can deteriorate when just one bank screws up.

A week after the bankruptcy, former CEO Dick Fuld told congress: "I feel horrible for what has happened to the company and its effects on so many -- my colleagues, my shareholders, creditors, and my clients."

Everyone, it seems, but the innocent victims: the rest of the economy.

Check back every Tuesday and Friday for Morgan Housel's columns on finance and economics.

Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Follow him on Twitter, @TMFHousel. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2012, at 6:16 PM, Darwood11 wrote:

    "Of course, Lehman alone isn't responsible for these numbers. " Ya think? So who should we blame, former Pres. Bush? Just kidding, but it was so easy to take the cheap, populist shot.

    "But Lehman taught us how quickly and ferociously things can deteriorate when just one bank screws up." Wow, just one bank did this. Not the millions who bought 0 down Option ARMs, not the policies of the Fed, etc. Lehman Bros screwed up and the result was the great meltdown of 2008?

    How about "Lehman was the straw that broke the camel's back?" But that is also so simplistic.

    So let's go a bit deeper. "Lehman was the bank that was caught standing when the music stopped!" Now we're getting a bit closer.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2012, at 10:00 PM, astuber9 wrote:

    No comment from Cranky Texan? I thought you said Morgan only writes articles that supports Obama's campaign.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2012, at 10:15 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    As expected, no mention of Barney Frank, Freddie Mac, or Fannie Mae.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2012, at 10:32 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    174 is the number of consecutive weeks of unemployment over 8% despite Obama's promise that it would never exceed 8% in the first place.

    15 million is the increase of number of Americans on Food Stamps since Obama took office.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2012, at 10:34 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    1 is the number of terms that Obama said he would be president if he failed to cut the deficit in half.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2012, at 10:36 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Zero is the number of meetings with Netanyahu this month despite having time to appear on Letterman.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2012, at 10:46 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    1 is the number of Border Patrol agents killed due to Fast And Furious, the details of which Obama ordered to keep secret.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2012, at 1:22 AM, seattle1115 wrote:

    Boy, as cranky as you are today, it's nothing compared to how cranky you're going to be on November 7.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2012, at 8:33 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    seattle1115, how does it feel to worship a corrupt politician?

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2012, at 11:24 AM, jonesscr wrote:

    Food stamps don't exist anymore, it's now a link card. And the rise of people using the link card has more to do with the fact that only 50% of elgible participants use this form of aid.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2012, at 11:52 AM, SwampBull wrote:

    Morgan, can you explain further the impact from a corporate balance sheet perspective and from a interest rate strategy perspective that the excess reserves held by banks will have? How will Wells Fargo, JPM, B of A, Citi, etc make use of these reserves, and how does the Fed manage/control their actions? Hypothetical scenarios are welcome.

    My gut feeling is that we are going to have some 70's style stagflation for four years - I wonder what your predictions may include.

    Thanks, SwampBull

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2012, at 12:05 PM, Melaschasm wrote:

    jonesscer,

    Same program, different name. The 50% thing does not matter, unless that percentage has changed.

    Is it surprising that more people are using food stamps during the 'Great Recession' than during economic good times?

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2012, at 12:21 PM, slpmn wrote:

    SwampBull - I might be able to help a little. I believe shortly after the financial crisis started in 08, the Fed decided it would begin paying interest on excess balances held at the Fed. This made parking money there far more attractive than it ever was before since in the past, the Fed never paid interest. Over the last several years, as people have deleveraged by paying down loans and saving money, banks (big and small) have been wallowing in extra money. With bond rates so low and loan demand very scarce, the banks have been parking huge sums of money at the Fed in these interest bearing accounts, since its liquid and risk-free.

    This will change when/if 1)loan demand picks up as the economy recovers, and banks need the money to make loans, 2) interest rates rise on their own and bonds become a more attractive investment for banks compared with the Fed account, or 3) the Fed decides to stop paying interest on those accounts (unlikely).

    To this day, I don't understand why the Fed decided to start paying interest on its account balances because it is counterproductive from a stimulus standpoint. It pulls money out of the system that would otherwise be invested in bonds (which would keep rates low) or perhaps loans (if there were any demand). One thing it does is give the Fed lots and lots of money to buy things with, which is exactly what they're doing, Rather than having banks decide what to buy with the liquidity, the Fed takes the liquidity and buys the exact bonds it wants to use in its interest rate management scheme.

    I think the most important thing that the huge excess reserves indicate is the amount of money out there that is ready and waiting to be deployed as the economy turns around and capital investment picks back up. But that will take time.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2012, at 7:05 PM, TheDumbMoney2 wrote:

    Dear CrankyTexan,

    If I wanted a wrote regurgitation of Fox News' talking points from the last week, I could just go look at Drudgereport headlines.

    Lovingly,

    DM

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2012, at 10:09 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Dumb Money, notice that you are a leftist and you approve of these articles.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 11:24 AM, TheDumbMoney2 wrote:

    Cranky, I have a feeling that, to you, anyone who is to the left of Rush Limbaugh's liver is a "leftist."

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 11:41 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Dumb is as dumb does.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 11:43 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Conservatives are proud to admit that they are conservative. Why are liberals ashamed to admit that they are liberal?

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 12:58 PM, djkumquat wrote:

    thumb up for the article. as always, thanks for helping to provide a more clear picture of the economic and political realities, crankytexan. two thumbs up for crankytexan.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 1:04 PM, djkumquat wrote:

    "basic economics" by thomas sowell. 4th edition in stores now. or check it out from your local library. cheers!

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 5:31 PM, frogburger wrote:

    Overall looks like the same decline I saw in my native France in the 80s under socialist Mitterrand. Same marxist mindset, same results: more misery.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 5:32 PM, frogburger wrote:

    I like CrankyTexan. My name should be CrankyFRench but that's a tautology.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 6:00 PM, simpdon wrote:

    The excess reserves deposited by the Fed in the bank’s reserve accounts can't get out into the economy unless the banks make loans with the money. This is what we learned in the Great Recession, that the monetarists, Milton Friedman and his group, were wrong when they said that the Fed can stimulate the economy out of a deep recession or depression like we had in 2008. The Great Recession blew two schools of economics out of the water, the supply side economics that caused it and the monetarists who failed to have an impact on the recession. The fiscal stimulus was too small by at least half because the monetarists at the Fed thought that they could stimulate the economy by pumping money into the banking system. But if the banks won't lend, and the banks of course overreacted and tightened lending almost completely.

    The QEs didn't help very much either, they lowered long term interest rates like they were suppose to but there was still no lending to boost the economy. The banks were now reluctant to lend because interest rates were low.

    We need more demand stimulus, there is more than enough available capital sitting in the banks and in corporate accounts to finance anything. But there is no demand. Thirty years of intentional government sponsored income inequity has boosted the supply side, the capital, and has depleted the demand side, wages. The excess capital has produced one asset bubble after another, each worse than the previous one. We have to restore some balance between supply and demand, between rewarding capital and wages.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 6:19 PM, PositiveMojo wrote:

    @slpman. The reason the Fed began paying interest is that the banks would not have cooperated otherwise, but you probably already knew that. Good analysis!

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 6:21 PM, PositiveMojo wrote:

    @Housel. Agreed - thumbs up on the article!

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 6:25 PM, oldretiree wrote:

    when. are they going to elimiinate the derivatives. it seems they contributed to the financial mess.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 6:28 PM, xetn wrote:

    "308,000 is the drop in local education employment since late 2008. There are fewer local education jobs today than there were in 2004, even though the number of 5- to 18-year-olds has increased by 600,000."

    This is very misleading because those education jobs are not bid but mandated by unions. The price of teaching jobs (as dictated by the unions is too high. The following article sums up the issue very nicely:

    http://lewrockwell.com/north/north1201.html

    By the way, there is a link in the article that is also an excellent read (unless you approve of union monopolies).

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 6:51 PM, duelles wrote:

    So things in the economy are trending better, slowly. Would the trend be better without the stimulous? Perhaps more defaults ? With a higher birth rate? Hmm, either fewer abortions from 1973( ? ) on or maybe more legal immigrants to cover for our poor demographics?

    Seems like there were interferences by politicians that simply hamper the economy and further there election hopes and changes- both parties to blame. Mostly we the people. I put 100% into equities for the last run? It worked! Retired at 58 and on cruise control.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 7:49 PM, LoadDrive wrote:

    Agree 100% with Tex.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 8:38 PM, seattle1115 wrote:

    @CrankyTexan: I don't worship anyone or anything. I can, however, do arithmetic.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 10:44 PM, Sleezyryd wrote:

    Cranky, just to disprove your assertion, I am proud to be a Liberal. And if I was a Conservative, I would be embarrassed to admit that I am against progress, which is the definition of Conservatism. Nearly everything that Conservatives are against happen eventually, because our culture naturally makes progress. That is why being against gay marriage, for example, will be considered silly by our grandchildren, as will most of the Conservative agenda.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 11:37 PM, Sleezyryd wrote:

    1000s is the number of guns "walked" to Mexico in the program known as Wide Receiver, which was started under the Bush administration in 2006, and continued until recently. Republicans have done everything they can to make it easy for anyone to buy assault rifles. How can anyone be surprised that they would end up in Mexico, where it is illegal to buy them? How many more mass killings will occur before they are illegal again?

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2012, at 11:58 PM, PeakOilBill wrote:

    Want to see the COMPLETE picture of the financial mess? Watch the 'CNBC Original' by David Faber, 'House of Cards'. It's on hulu on the web. The first 15 minutes is a bit slow, but the rest is PRICELESS. WELL worth your time, if you haven't seen it. Truth IS stranger than fiction.

    I think he won some award for it.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2012, at 12:55 AM, TerryHogan wrote:

    @simpdon

    Why does everyone have to drag Milton Friedman into the monetary crisis? You can't blame a guy for what his followers do after he's dead. I mean from all accounts Jesus was a pretty nice guy, but the Crusades - not so pretty.

    Friedman opposed the very existence of the Fed, and I don't think you'd ever hear him say that the Fed could stimulate the economy out of a recession. He might say that a lack of liquidity could lead to a recession though.

    If you want to blame some posers who claim to follow Friedman, I guess you can go ahead, but since he died before the crisis really got going it's hardly fair. Just because Paul Krugman says it's Friedman's fault doesn't make it so.

    While I can't be certain, I think Friedman would have argued that the uncertainty surrounding banking reforms (Dodd-Frank, Basel, etc) was a huge impediment to growth. For example, banks being unsure as to how much capital they're going to be required to hold.

    Friedman is also on the record as recommending predictable steady increases in the money supply. What we've seen with all the guessing around QEs I, II, and III through XXII is anything but predictable and steady.

    From the above paragraph it's obvious that he wouldn't really like it, but I think it's safe to say he would have supported measures to fight deflation ("Dropping money from helicopters") as emergency measures. So he might have supported QEI and QEII, and if you look at a chart of US inflation, you can see they basically accomplished their goals of preventing deflation (QEI was a bit too late), which is really all the monetarists say you can do. QEI and II also look to have help stopped the rise in unemployment, another prediction from monetarist theory. (Note that they will also tell you that this is a temporary effect coincident with the inflation)

    I think he would also say uncertainty around Government spending and taxation is causing businesses and households to be more cautious with their money (Look at the cash on S&P balance sheets and the improvement in household net worth).

    Of course I can't speak for Friedman any more than you or Paul Krugman for that matter, but on the whole I'd say much of the crisis reflects exactly what Friedman would predict under the circumstances.

    If you want to bash Krugman or Keynes go ahead, but don't speak ill of Milty.

    @djkumquat

    Love Thomas Sowell. One of Friedman's intellectual heirs.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2012, at 1:13 AM, TnFlash2u wrote:

    What is the number of bills designed to stimulate the economy that have been blocked by the House and the Senate?

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2012, at 1:14 AM, decebalvs wrote:

    the cantankerous cowboy is not even funny anymore, just boring

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2012, at 1:32 AM, Usnzth wrote:

    @sleezvryd I am a conservative, not because I am against progress, but rather because I am against progression toward destruction. Throughout history, two of the last steps inherent in every culture's destruction was the dependence of the masses on government provision and an acceptance of homosexuality as a normal lifestyle. The result has been evidenced from Sodom to the Roman Empire.

    I am very much for progression. I enjoy using my cell phone, the internet, my online stock broker, Skyping my son in college, and watching a DVD on my flat screen TV. I am opposed to killing a baby before it has a chance at life, or two hairy-legged men getting it on.

    I am a lover of history. The so-called "progress" that my country is experiencing today is not what our forefathers envisioned when they sacrificed their lives to give us freedom.

    Since I am not a homosexual, and since I will almost certainly have grandchildren, and since I have raised my children to love their country and their God, and since they will teach their children the same, then my grandchildren will probably not consider my beliefs to be silly.

    This country is progressing toward a financial collapse, and that is not the kind of progression I get excited about.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2012, at 2:46 AM, JadedFoolalex wrote:

    "I would be embarrassed to admit that I am against progress, which is the definition of Conservatism." by sleezyryd...

    The Quakers were pretty conservative yet they sailed across the ocean and helped start America! Albert Einstein was conservative yet he gave us the Theory of Relativity! Mother Theresa was pretty conservative yet she loved millions and was loved by millions! The point being that being conservative has nothing to do with being progressive so there goes your theory, bud!!!!

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2012, at 6:19 AM, almostoldone wrote:

    I work for an employer that wants to put 100 full time people to work with benefits. These are over $30,000 a yr. income. Do you think we can find qualified people?

    No is the answer. give a persona fish and feed them for a day, teach a person to fish and feed them for a lifetime. Right now our government is feeding too many fish and some people would rather stay home then work.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2012, at 7:30 AM, SAMSCREEK wrote:

    @ CrankyTexan

    I agree completely with you. Also, Fox News is

    really the only fair and balanced news channel.

    @ The DumbMonkey2

    I understand how you got your name.

    @Usnzth

    Great post. I absolutely agree with you. I too,

    am a conservative. Even most of my Democratic

    friends here in Nashville won't vote for Obama.

    Anytime you have the unions backing a campaign,

    it will be dirty and nasty as this president's has been.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2012, at 8:33 AM, johndoe1400 wrote:

    A lot of the numbers mentioned are misleading/meaningless.

    To give the readers a true picture, there should be some base figures or comparisons.

    For example "308,000 is the drop in local education employment since late 2008. There are fewer local education jobs today than there were in 2004, even though the number of 5- to 18-year-olds has increased by 600,000."

    It is really pointless giving these numbers without any comparisons e.g. 308,000 is a drop from how many (1M, 10M). 600,000 is an increase from how many (1M, 10M)

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2012, at 8:40 AM, johndoe1400 wrote:

    "5 million is the number of personal bankruptcy filings since September 2008. The number of bachelor's degrees awarded from 2008 to 2011 is just slightly more, at 5.2 million."

    Isn't this like comparing Apples to Oranges

    Notes : "Apples" does not refer to the company. Neither does "Oranges" refer to France Telecom

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2012, at 11:31 AM, simpdon wrote:

    @TerryHogan

    I am not bashing anyone. Milton Friedman and the monetarists believed that they could stimulate the economy in a severe recession with purely monetary policy moves. They were wrong. Monetary policy works well to trim the economy in normal times, to provide counter cyclical guidance to the economy to reduce peaks and valleys. It is helpful in mild recessions. What we learned in the Great Recession is that it doesn't work in severe recessions or depressions because the base money that the Fed creates can't make it into the economy. Banks won't loan the money out and open market operations, buying bonds from the general public only puts money into the hands of people and companies that already have money that they already are not spending in the economy.

    And I don't buy the notion that banks and businesses are reluctant to loan and invest because they are concerned about higher taxes or more regulation. They are uncertain about there not being enough demand to pay off a loan or to generate returns on their investments.

    I don't normally read Krugman so I can't really comment on him. But of all of the schools of economics without a question the Keynesians have come out on top after the Great Recession. The fiscal stimulus is the only thing that actually put money out into the economy. The on going stimulus of the federal government deficit is the only thing keeping us out of a return to recession and depression right now. Our one best hope right now is that the political dead look over the deficit continues to keep us away from the austerity option which would drive us back into recession, as it has in the countries in Europe that have used it.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2012, at 11:43 AM, simpdon wrote:

    CrankyTexan - I was born and raised in Texas and I too would be something more than cranky had I not left there after college. Rest assured that there are much better places to live with much more agreeable people almost every where else in the country.

    I would also be embarrassed to call myself either a conservative or a liberal.

    Conservative's defining characteristic is resistance to change. This puts them at a severe disadvantage because everything that is discussed is in one way or another something in which the status quo has failed and that it is going to have to change. This is the reason that conservatives need their own news sources, like Fox News, because the truth telling media reports the problems with the status quo, conservatives need sources that lie to them and provide them with the many lies that they need to get through the day. Most of which you are willing to share with us. I suppose for educational purposes.

    Conservatives used to have some appreciation of this and were reluctant to actually voice their opinions openly for fear of the well deserved derision that would result. But Republicans were desperate to find people who were stupid enough to vote against their own economic self-interest and pretended to listen to the odd collection of far right crazy to gain their votes, pro-gun, anti-abortion, libertarian/Anarchists, conspiracy nuts of all stripes. The Republicans didn't intend to actually act on any of it, they would only have to come up with more crazy to keep the troops in line. But what happened over time was that people who were raised hearing all of these diverse collection of really not more than slogans thought that they constituted a valid plan for governing. That the Republicans should rollback sixty years of social progress and they should impose their own brand of 19th century morality on their fellow citizens.

    Liberals are characterized as people who believe that change is the only answer for problems. That every one of society's ills requires government action. Liberals in the US tend to not understand business or economics. Economics is the main business of the federal government behind defense. There really are very few liberals left and they have been so marginalized over the years that they are hardly worth talking about. It is a shame because after thirty years of conservative policies most of the problems that we see are problems with those policies, problems that will require government action to correct.

    So no, I don't consider myself to be a conservative or a liberal, I am a moderate. Moderates have historically in this country taken the policy recommendations of the liberals and tempered them with the natural reluctance to change and the business knowledge of the conservatives to produce the policies that are implemented. This natural order of things has been destroyed as the moderates have lost out and the conservatives have become stronger and have started to implement reactionary policies to return us to the 1950's socially and the Gilded Age economically.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2012, at 11:55 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    simpledon, you are just another liberal who pretends to be moderate. Your post makes it clear that you hate conservatives, and respect liberals. You are a liberal. You may be fooling yourself, but you are not fooling me.

    Liberals are bad people because they want corrupt politicians to run everyone's lives.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2012, at 4:17 PM, simpdon wrote:

    CrankyTexan - I am sure that it makes you feel better to say that I hate conservatives but I don't. I understand conservatives and the damage they have done. I was raised to be a conservative, taking my 14 year old self around handing out AuH²O literature. . And no I don't have much respect for liberals, if indeed there are any left. I opposed them in the 1970's when their policies caused such a mess. I guess you could say that I believe that policies are like fish, no matter how how good they are in the beginning if they stay around to long they begin to smell.

    Conservatives have made policy for about thirty years and they are to blame for the messes that we see around us now. We are suffering most of all from conservative economic policies, supply side economics. Maybe you noticed that the economy tanked in 2008. This was a direct result of the supply side economics of the conservatives. The increase in capital brought about by these policies, increases that exceeded all possible investments that were needed, resulted in one asset bubble after another ending in the real estate bubble. The demonetization of regulation meant that the financial markets were left without adult supervision to run a muck until they nearly destroyed the economy costing the economy more money in a few days than all of the entitlement programs have cost in the country's history. This is why I don't have much respect for conservatives.

    And no I don't have any respect for liberals. They are nowhere to be seen right now, now when they could make a case for their position, now when it would be almost impossible for them to be wrong opposing anything the conservatives support. They don't make the effort to learn the problems and to offer solutions to them. They seem to be stuck fighting the battles of the 1960's all over again.

    I notice that you are not one for addressing specifics. I provided a large number of them If you are such a proud conservative I am certain that you can show me where I am wrong about you and your proud ideology. Perhaps you believe that I am wrong about the basic nature of the proud conservative. That you are fully justified in seeing all of the problems around us and doing nothing. Having seen what you have done in the past I take that as justification why you would not want to do anything, but what do you say? I said that supply side economics is responsible for the excess capital that caused numerous asset bubbles. Do you agree with that? What do you think caused them? Prove to me that you do more than throw around insults, that you do more than repeat talking points that Rush Limbaugh shot at you, prove to me that you can think about the discussion and address it.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2012, at 9:15 PM, chris293 wrote:

    The U.S. in the 50s was worried that everything was plastic, now with Congress and other paperhangers the country will now start to save money, cut spending, or this will get worse.

    Crime and fraud are costing us millions, why are some people investing in scams that really have nothing to do with Wall Street. Yet it gets blamed. It happened here, and I am on the West coast! Oh, it was only 30 million dollars,gone up in smoke?

    Greed makes people do dumb things.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2012, at 9:37 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "And no I don't have any respect for liberals. They are nowhere to be seen right now"

    simpledon, what planet do you live on? According to you, conservatives will vote for Romney, moderates will vote for Obama, and liberals don't exist. You are living in your own world. Like I said, you are a liberal who does not like to be called a liberal, so you incorrectly call yourself a moderate.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2012, at 1:15 AM, Marmadukemark wrote:

    Uznth may not be homosexual but he is certainly homophobic. And no, his grandchildren won't think he's silly. They will have a more articulate word of it by then.

    A long time is how long it takes to turn a big ship around.

    Citing sources and "connecting the dots" is what Journalists do to strengthen the veracity of their information.

    Half of the people who commented are half right and half of them are half wrong.

    About right is how someone feels on average with one foot in boiling water and one foot in ice water.

    A citizenry who can post whatever they want on Motley Fool without fear of retribution from the "state" is one of America's greatest attributes.

    Everyone has one so opinions are very much like . . .

    God bless America. Fool on!

  • Report this Comment On October 06, 2012, at 6:46 AM, thidmark wrote:

    "I would be embarrassed to admit that I am against progress, which is the definition of Conservatism."

    If there was a Stupid Hall of Fame, this would be your Cy Young Award.

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