How many "stupid people?" The BANKS aren't even lending to each other for fear they won't get that money back. Don't most retirees keep their money in their mutual funds and draw fixed amounts? I guess that's their dumb mistake. Oh well. Hard lesson learned, huh? The market hasn't seen the economic failures we're seeing now. I think you are missing some of the very historic and never-before-seen failures here. The global economy is tanking around us. And I guess I have to wonder what "basically fine" means to the frugal elderly around me who are begging my husband for advice on how they are going to keep from freezing to death this winter since they can no longer afford oil.
I agree stupid is too harsh of a word. I was tired. I apologize. A better word would be ignorant. Panicking because of the media frenzy and selling because they make you feel like its the end of the world is ignorant. This is not rocket science, it is high school economics and if you missed it there, it is freely available from Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, Jim Rome, the Wealthy Barber, the Beardstown Ladies or most financial teachers who are not a fly by night get rich quick money guru. And, as for me, I have an economics and political science degree.
But the truth is panic is driving a lot (note I didn't say all!) of the market mayhem. If people would just calm down the market would smooth out a lot. What market indicators have we not seen before? Want to compare great depression unemployment to now?
And as for the frugal elderly, I'm guessing they are not in the market, but rather living off of social security and pension money. I empathize. We can't afford to heat our big old drafty house either. I think a couple months last winter were $1000. We are still paying that off. We are closing off half of our house house the winter, plasticing the windows and using a woodburning stove to heat whats left and wearing heavy layers at home. Perhaps your neighbors might close off all but a room or two and heat with a space heater? (I'm assuming they would not be physically able to keep a woodburner going) I know not perfect, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The heating oil has more to do with the price of oil than the market. Heating oil comes from the same part as diesel and (I think) aviation fuel. Hopefully with gas prices coming down it will help some.
I am oht nak, so please excuse any typos.