This column was originally published on RealMoney on Jan. 30 at 10:56 a.m. EST. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com readers. For more information about subscribing to RealMoney, please click here .
This market has the Bernanke blues. What was he doing telling us the truth? Federal Reserve representatives aren't supposed to make us feel this bad about our behavior. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke actually said before a Senate budget panel last week that the U.S. economy might be in serious trouble if we continue running massive budget and trade deficits. Negative consumer savings rates might be a problem when people draw closer to retirement. The health care system is a major drag, and privatization of many elements has led to the most bloated and expensive health care system in the world. The housing debacle and investors' general malaise toward the implications have me interested in checking out CNBC again. People are still more worried about calling a bottom in housing than wondering why banks are proactively trying to avert foreclosures and even forgiving debt in some cases. Have you ever heard of a U.S. corporation forgiving debt on its own volition? I saw a report on CNBC that said banks were in some cases selling houses and forgiving debt. Makes me believe these banks feel some culpability for the creative loans they have saddled customers with. Perhaps these products were not appropriate, given some customers' financial profiles, and banks may fear some scrutiny. Our current financial predicament sounds pretty depressing, so it's no wonder the market is a bit unhappy. If it continues this way, investors are going to be pretty unhappy as well, especially now that every analyst on earth is predicting good things for the market five years into a bull run. I am not too worried that things will go as bad as I believe they can; I have a boatload of short positions to protect my portfolio. But I am worried about you folks.
The Disgruntled Investor
Whenever I feel down, I throw on some tunes and spend some money. In this article, I will suggest some music and one stock to buy and one to short, just in case running an economy on debt financed by paper assets doesn't work out as well as some promised.