Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Is the sky falling...still?

Home prices are falling. Oil is trading north of $138/bbl. Banks are hard up for cash. Has the financial world been on a repeating loop for the last year? Weren't we supposed to be past ugly things like writedowns, dilutive offerings, shareholder lawsuits and arrests? Maybe we've fired up the DeLorean and no one told me. Let's see, the Celtics were playing the Lakers, that would indicate that it was the 80s. Donald Trump is ubiquitous and annoying. However, George Michael is out of the closet and I don't hear "Walk Like an Egyptian" everywhere I go. Alright, I've got my bearings now. It's still 2008.

So now I need to gauge how things are going in America. Luckily, Darden Restaurants, Kroger, Remy Cointreau, and Sonic are reporting today. That should give me a good sense of whether or not Americans feel rich or poor. After all, when you don't have money to eat out, but you just want a sip of Cognac to get you through the night?

My guess is that things are bad, but not quite this bad. Certainly, not Mad Max bad or Waterworld bad.

Unfortunately, this is how it's going to be for at least the next two years. It took a while for the excesses to build up and it will take a good while for them to be siphoned off. There is no miracle weight-loss cure for the American economy. Instead, we're going to get a steady regimen of rice cakes and exercise.

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