Holy Deja Vu! Are we back? So soon? Our motley caravan of blind men and elephants wandering through the desert wilderness looking for the promised land of recovery. Is this a mirage? Or just the eye of a huge dust storm still whirling around us. Or do the ayes really have it right? Has an all but dead market finally come alive like it sorta kinda seems like it has, even if you have to stand on a telephone book, turn your head 30 degrees and squint to see it?
Maybe the lame are leading the blind and their left legs are shorter than their rights. Maybe we just keep feeling our way around in ever-tightening circles. Spinning in our own spin. Digging a hole to China. If you can’t see where you are going it’s easy to end up in the same place again. It is comforting though. Familiar territory. No undiscovered country to navigate. No real change. Just the exchange of a new boss for an old boss. We won’t get fooled again right? Yeah right…
I’m sorry folks. I can’t help it. I still feel like I am being conned. Being fleeced and hoodwinked by all the pundits and the hucksters and the self-interest groups and the desperate minions who have done a bad, quicky patch job on Humpty Dumpty and decided to call it good. They are calling it good by rushing to judgment to call it the bottom. And then, presto chango, trying to fast forward the tape loop five notches up the rung of recovery – before the bottom ever really had a chance to fall out.
I’ve spent a long time in a profession predicated on selling all kinds of dreams to all kinds of people. I know there is swamp land in Florida. I know my uncle died owning twenty acres of landlocked sand in the Anza-Borrego Desert. I know that the Brooklyn Bridge has been sold many times. I know that London Bridge currently resides in Lake Havasu. And I know what foreclosures in South County look like. And I’m not buyin’.
Yes, I know some of you are buying. Thank God and more power to you. It’s a dirty job paying cash for all those clunkers. But someone has to do it. And all you investors betting on the come are helping out the rest of us even if you are really just indulging your own greedy obsession. I know the number of homes sales has gone up. I know the median price has risen. But too much direct, personal experience with teachers, nurses and myriad Joe the Plumbers in the marketplace tells me a different story.
Numbers often lie. If all of us blind guys would simply take off our blindfolds, remove our blinders and put our bi-focals on so we can see both near and far, big and small and examine all the parts of all the elephants – a very different picture would emerge.
Still everyone keeps trying to call it. Declare the end over. Say we are back on track with Bernanke and Barak. Since Big Ben is a renowned expert on the Great Depression we somehow dodged the apocalypse. Now everyone is anxious to take a recess from the recession.
What’s the difference between walking in circles and walking in cycles. A New York accent? Or a larger perspective? I have no problem with cycles. But I do have a problem circles that create a downward spiral. It’s not enough to see in two dimensions or three dimensions anymore – we have to see in at least four dimensions and give time its due. Does anyone think that the Dow is going to leap to 14,000 anytime soon? The NASDAQ to 5,000? Why is our median price going to jump back up in a heartbeat to $780,000?
We are trying too hard to take the edge off so we can put round little pegs into our little round circles while we conveniently ignore the rest and get back to normal. Folks… 2004 and 2005 weren’t normal. The fallout we are facing is proof of that. Things consumed in mindful balance don’t give you the DT’s. We shouldn’t try to go forward by going back to that place.
When the economy crashes, recovery takes more than a 28 day stint in the Betty Ford Center – getting the celebrity make-over, treating a few of the big symptoms without really challenging the underlying causes. We are neither clean nor sober yet. We haven’t completed our 12 step program. We haven’t even apologized or made amends.
Yogi Berra, who will always be my Yogi and my best Dream Catcher says it ain’t over till it is over. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.