So this Bear Stearns thing is awkward. I know there's a bailout from the Feds and J.P. Morgan bought up all of Bear Stearns at $2 a share, which seems bad. But the way I really know it's bad is that the New York Times put it above the fold on A1 with an all-caps headline. But how bad is this crisis, in relative headline terms? I went to the archives to find out.
Based on eight grade social studies, the play Annie and WWII, everything was fucked when the market crashed in 1929. But that didn't even garner a banner headline at the time:
When the market crashed in 1987, the Times gave it huge play. But in my high school yearbook, the only thing people remembered from the 80s was "greed is good." (That and "shoot for the moon, even if you fail, you'll be among the stars" were among the most popular quotes.)
So the lesson from Wall Street and Wall Street is that you can never be sure when to leap out that window. Based on headline sizes, this current crisis will either lead to another exciting Great Depression, followed by the return of the Nazis. Or the 90s will come back and all will be forgotten.