Headed for 1973?

Over on Facebook, I posted that I’m thinking about 1973. Someone asked me why. The answer is that was began the worst economic recession I’ve known. Not that 2001 was exactly pleasant, but 1973 began a long decline for my town, which had been a manufacturing town with a small college. Granted, I was nine in 1973, and maybe youth colored my views. On the other hand, unemployment in my hometown hit 20 percent at one point, and stagflation was just nasty for everyone.

The whole experience colored my college years — it was strange to read pieces in the Chicago Tribune writing about the booming economy (this was the big market run-up in the 1980s) when I knew the once-profitable family-owned steel plant I had walked by every day on the way to Junior high had been run into the ground by the big steel company that took it over and a bunch of the parents of kids I grew up with were out of jobs (as were some of the kids).

The last factory of any size in my hometown shut down about a year ago. So now my town is just a college town, and the shift to the service economy has been harsh.

I expected something like that recession in 2002’s downturn. I’m expecting it again now. I hope I’m as wrong as I was in 2002.

I did get a laugh out of this gem in the Wall Street Journal’s “Today’s Markets” column today:

“The bond market has already priced in that nobody will ever be able to sell a house again in his lifetime,” said Michael Davis, an independent trader in the Chicago Board of Trade’s bond-futures pits, which heavily influence the price of everyday mortgages. “It’s not as if there’s more bad news that we could factor in fundamentally; it’s just that the market is taking its cue entirely from stocks.”

Panic plies its way through the paper pushing parasites of high finance. Now if I only knew what that meant for me.

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