I don't know a ton about the economy. I did work in an investment firm for most of the last year, though. My experience is probably the equivalent of staying in a Holiday Inn Express. Still, I've never invested, but I spent a lot of the last year watching the market; a habit I think a lot of the uninvested have picked up in the last few weeks.
As I write this, the Dow is at 9183, down about 76 points from yesterday's close. On Friday, the Dow closed at 10,325.38. That's a drop of 1142.38 points or 11.06 percent in less than a week!
On September 26, the Dow closed at 11,143.13. That's almost 2000 points or 17.6 percent over the last two weeks.
On October 9, 2007, a year ago today, the Dow closed at 14,164.43. In other words, it took a year for the Dow to drop nearly 5,000 points or 35.17 percent off an all time high.
When, on September 15, John McCain assured Americans that the fundamentals of our economy were strong, the Dow stood at 11,416.37. Forgetting for a moment that it would fall 500 points that day, it is helpful to remember that it had been only 11 months since the Dow had hit an all-time high. It is helpful to recall that he had made the claim no fewer than 16 times in that period, and in that period, the Dow dropped 2,748.06 points or 19.4 percent. Since the last time he assured us that our economy was fundamentally strong, that number has nearly doubled.
Now, I don't know what any of that means, but holy fucking shit, right?
Update: The Dow finished the day at 8579.19. That's a daily drop of 678.91 or 7.33 percent. If Barack Obama is not the next President of the United States, explanations besides racism are running pretty thin.