Remembering The Greatest Economic Crash In History.

Looking back at the market crash of 2008, it’s difficult to believe that it represented a greater loss of stock and home equity than any previous crash in American history. Though we may be impatient for a full recovery of jobs and middle class incomes, we should take a few moments to recognize that the quick action by Congress and the Federal Reserve did, in fact, work. The same can be said for President Obama’s automotive bailouts and economic stimulus which were opposed and derided by Teapublicans.

So you have not yet been able to find the job you want? Or you feel that you are being undervalued and underpaid? Your frustration is understandable. But, when compared to the aftermath of lesser crashes, it could have been a whole lot worse. We were not relegated to soup lines and work camps as our parents and grandparents were following the stock market crash of 1929. But had President Obama not ignored the Teapublicans’ call for austerity measures, we well might have been.

To fully appreciate what I mean, you need to look at the extent of the losses in 2008.

The Dow Jones Industrials lost 778 points in one day – the greatest single day loss in history. It’s estimated that the market crash resulted in a $1.2 trillion loss of market equity. Looking at it another way, the Dow lost 33.8 percent for the full year – surpassed only by the bear markets of 1907 and 1931. Further, GDP contracted for more than a year. Unemployment rose from 5 percent to 10 percent before it began to drop. According to, $3.3 trillion in home equity was stripped from homeowners in 2008 as home values fell by 30 percent. Income levels fell, causing the net worth of households and non-profit organizations to fall by roughly $15 trillion. And the impact of the crash on retirement funds is virtually immeasurable. Indeed, those who were nearing retirement may never fully recover the money lost in their IRAs, 401ks and their defined benefit pension funds.

Despite all of that, our economy recovered remarkably quickly. If you don’t believe me, just look at the economies of many other advanced nations that are struggling with stagnation who mistakenly followed the advice of conservatives. By contrast, the GDP of the US is growing, our deficits have fallen at a dramatic rate and our national debt is now less than 3 percent of our GDP – and it would be much lower if Teapublicans hadn’t fought to give more tax breaks to corporations and the one percent. Certainly, income inequality is skyrocketing, but it was expanding long before the crash as a result of the Bush tax cuts. Yet rather than do something to address the issue, the GOP-led Congress has, instead, voted to eliminate estate taxes for the wealthiest 5,000 families in America!

Remember that the next time you hear someone claim that the GOP is the party of fiscal responsibility. It was GOP policies that led to the Great Recession. And, once again, it was Democratic leadership that led us out of it.

All Men Are Created Equal?

That’s what our Declaration of Independence stated. But it wasn’t true. In fact, African-Americans were considered three-fifths of a person and held in slavery for nearly a hundred years longer. Native Americans were slaughtered and herded onto reservations in order to steal their land. Chinese-Americans were virtually enslaved to build our railroads. And women were denied the right to vote for nearly 150 years.

Even today equality still does not exist.

People of color are many times more likely to live in poverty and to be imprisoned. Gay and lesbians are only now beginning to win equal rights to marry those they love. Women are paid less for doing the same work as men. And, according to some, the plight of the wealthy is even worse. They claim to be victims of their own success and good fortune – that they are victims of class warfare. Some have even likened their plight to the Jews prior to the Holocaust.


The wealthiest one percent of our population owns an overwhelming percentage of the wealth in the US yet, thanks to loopholes, they pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes. They invest large portions of their wealth in offshore tax havens. They use their wealth to buy influence and access to government. They are even treated differently by our courts. The Supreme Court ruled that money equals free speech, so they can speak more loudly than anyone else. (In fact, the Koch brothers are now using their money to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.) And if they break the law, they are seldom punished.

You may remember the case of the Texas teen found to be suffering from “Affluenza.” Despite the fact that he killed four people as the result of drunk driving, he was “sentenced” to an exclusive, and expensive, rehab facility.

Now there is the case of a duPont heir who was given probation for raping his three-year-old daughter because the judge decided that he “wouldn’t do well in prison.” Wouldn’t do well? Who does? When have you ever heard of a case in which a court was concerned that a poor person might not do well in prison? Some celebrate Sheriff Joe’s “Tent City” which imprisons ordinary citizens in tents without heat or air conditioning; with no toilets or running water; with punishments of bread and water; with two vegetarian meals a day (Sheriff Joe recently decided that even his notorious green baloney sandwiches are too expensive and cutting into the profit margins of his wife’s food service business). Has any court ever voiced concern that a convicted felon might not do well there? No…more like HELL NO!

Prisoners in Tent City have died from the heat without repercussions to Sheriff Joe or the facility. Yet no court has worried that other prisoners in the facility “wouldn’t do well.” Such concern is only voiced for the very wealthy on the rare occasions their highly-paid attorneys fail to get them acquitted.

All men created equal? It was a nice sentiment by Jefferson and the Founding Fathers. But it’s still only a dream.