Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tips on coping with the market meltdown

Dr.Sanity has good advice on how to cope with stress and anxiety as the market melts down:

Rule #1: Don't be a victim. Rule #2: Don't wait to be rescued. Rescue yourself.

The attitude that we are all helpless victims of the “system” and that the all-powerful and all-good government is always there to help and protect us from ourselves and all the horrible capitalist oppressors out there is one popular way to look at the current mess. The same politicians who got us into this mess are now actively promising to make all the pain go away so that neither they nor you have to change your behavior at all!

This sensibility permeates the culture to such an extent that it grossly interferes with real psychological health and functional coping mechanisms. In fact, in my profession, it is this type of thinking that becomes the major impediment preventing patients with serious psychiatric and emotional problems from being able to take any sort of control over their own lives.

I was watching CNBC last night with the NYT's Paul Krugman on smirking about how the government needed to bail us out of the crisis. I could sense the glee in his voice when discussing how only government intervention would work. Even Larry Kudlow, a libertarian type was in agreement with him. The only sensible person on was some analyst who kept saying that throwing government regulation and money at the problem was like throwing heroin at an addict. He was the only one who seemed to have any sense although the rest were hardly giving him a chance to talk.

I think the financial crisis is reflective of the election in that we have socialist proposals that are being swallowed hook, line and sinker by the electorate because people are so terrified of standing on their own two feet these days. Everyone is a victim of some evil capitalist. Perhaps voters won't realize until it is too late that playing into the victim mentality could eventually cost them their money, their property, their freedom and their country as we now know it.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Media-Induced Depression

I went to the spa today to get a massage due to pain from RSI (repetitive strain injury) from computer overuse. While there, I got an earful from the massage therapist about the economics of the spa business. "This week has been really bad, three people have already cancelled due to the economy, they said they just couldn't afford to come in." The broke callers were booked for the whole day for services, she said, and now they were left with many openings. Good for me, since they got me in quickly, but bad for business. I wonder how much the news and media is affecting people, making them feel sick and depressed about the economy, which in turn, is leading them to stay home and eat macaroni (okay, I just ate cheap pasta out of a box for dinner, but at least I was at the spa helping people earn a living).

Anyway, do you think the news is exacerbating people's depression and fear about the economy? Do you have any examples in your own hometown of similar experiences where people are staying home, bailing out or just plain frightened of what is going on, way beyond what is called for? I really think the media is driving much of the bad news out there. People may be right to be frugal at the moment, but I wonder if Obama wins how long afterward the positive media spin on the economy will take. I recently read that more people are going to therapists over the economy etc. recently. If Obama gets elected, will it be like national Prozac for the media?


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Should healthcare be a right?

Bill Whittle at Pajamas TV asks and answers the question: "Do we have a right to healthcare?" If you haven't seen PJTV yet, take a look. It is the future of media.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"What drives value, stock prices, inflation, employment and everything else that comprises our economy is PERCEPTION"

Steve Sturm has some insight into why the economy looks so bad at the moment (via Instapundit):

The stock market and the economy will be in the toilet until November 5, 2008, at which time both will slowly start to recover from what ails them, with the recovery accelerating on January 20, 2009...

Those dates are, for those few of you who need to be told, the date after Obama wins the Presidency and the date he takes office.

And why will the sun again start to shine on those dates?

Because once Obama wins, the MSM will no longer have an interest in shoving negative stories down our throats. And on the day he takes office, they'll have an interest in playing up how well things are now going.

I agree that the financial crisis is in part psychologically induced by the media to assist getting Obama in office. Hopefully, after that it will be resolved with the media switch to world peace, economic prosperity and happiness for all (except Republicans) after Obama gets in. But there is also a chance that once started, people's economic fears may take a while to die down and the problems that were exacerbated by the media will take some time to resolve, or there is always the chance that the doom and gloom stories will backfire and those who would have invested and spent will still be wary to do so.


Monday, October 06, 2008

Ask Dr. Helen: How do you deal with a Palin hater?

My PJM column is up:

When does political passion become obsessive and unhealthy?

Read the column about the Palin hater and let me know what you think.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Why I will no longer watch Suze Orman

Okay, last night was the last straw. I turned on the Suze Orman show to see if I could learn anything about better money management and what I learned was that Orman, for some reason has stopped hiding her utter contempt for men and the women who marry them. It used to be that she would try to hide this contempt, had ordinary men callers and gave advice that was at least fair. Now she seems to be playing the role of angry feminist to the unenlightened female masses who are stupid enough to stay married to any man who causes them financial trouble.

Orman was in luck last night. The woman who called in with a question about her husband's finances did not require any advice to leave him for poor money management--he was already dead. Instead of talking about how hard this would be (she likes to give a lot of emotional advice--people first, then money, then things!) she asked the woman how shocking it was that this man had dared leave her with $100,000 in debt.

The female caller said that they had separated their finances but that she was now running his business (it must have been worth something if she is keeping it going) and that he had left her $250,000 dollars in life insurance. No mention that this man had not left her high and dry, that even after paying the debt, she would have $150,000 plus the business if it made money to help out. It was a non-stop ME, ME, ME, fest between the caller and Orman with no compassion for the man who had died--just a constant barrage of this woman's needs and how awful it was for her that this man had left her this debt. I might have pointed out that he had the forethought to get a life insurance policy and had a business if I were Orman but she wasn't about to let a man off the hook, not even in death.

Another female caller let Suze know that she had gone bankrupt prior to meeting her husband. She then married her husband who was generous enough not to want a pre-nup and she did not work during the marriage. But now, the couple is having problems and the woman wants to leave. She has few job skills and with her bankruptcy in the background, says no one wants to hire her or give her an apartment--so she might stay with the husband. Orman needled the woman until she got a response that the woman wanted to leave the man with her daughter but was afraid. There was a lot of talk about "you have the power, girl" but no mention of what a loser she must have been to get herself in a position of bankruptcy in the first place and not to have learned anything from it except how to blame a man. Where was he when she went bankrupt in the first place? They weren't even married. If this woman is bad with money, it's obviously her own fault. No man is required.

Instead, Orman talks about how you can't let a man take care of you (true) even if he insists on it and gives alot of platitudes about empowerment but no real advice about how not to be an idiot and stop blaming others for your problems. Orman tends to blame men for women's problems but when the shoe is on the other foot, the man is generally held responsible and needs to "man up." Maybe if she wants to set an example of "empowerment" to her female viewers, she should quit blaming men for so much of their financial troubles. It encourages in women a sense of entitlement and a lack of personal responsibility--both undesirable traits on the way to financial responsibility, one of Orman's goals.

So, I assume most of you reading this do not watch Orman and could care less. Good for you, I will be joining you and forgetting this nonsense except every once in a while to write a blog post or column. It's kind of sad to me though because for a period there, she was rational and fair to both sexes.