This Ain't Your Granddad's '87

The Crash of 1987, was a unique time in financial history. For anyone who live through the 87 Crash, you'll remember it as a dark time, when markets simply imploded. The market infrastructure at the time, simply couldn't keep up with the avalanche of sell orders. Wave after wave of unrelenting liquidations were thrown at us. And those of us on the trading desks, simply couldn't keep up. An investor might enter an order in the morning, and not to receive a report until later than night. 12 hours latter. It was bad.

I'm afraid that this ain't your Granddad '87.

And yet that's what many of the pundits, and certainly the Administration are hoping for. The Crash of 1987, was a unique time in financial history.

For anyone who lived through the 87 Crash, you'll remember it as a dark time, when markets simply imploded. The market infrastructure at the time, simply couldn't keep up with the avalanche of sell orders.

Wave after wave of unrelenting liquidations were thrown at us. And those of us on the trading desks, simply couldn't keep up. An investor might enter an order in the morning, and might not receive a report until later than night. 12 hours later.

It was bad.

But it was also transitory.

Wall Street muddled through, and a few weeks later was back to normal.

While half a year later the market itself had returned to its old highs.

For most investors, it was simply a blip in their overall financial plan. You see, the Crash of 1987 was a purely financial event.

The the business climate in the country was not dramatically changed. The average business saw little impact on day to day sales. The future for business was benign and predictable.

And certainly, the political and regulatory backdrop stayed the same. Yes, there would be regulatory reform, but that occurred in a normal legislative environment. The Congress deliberated, and debated, and eventually sent the new reforms to the President, Who signed them into law.

But all this took time. It would be months before any of the new regulations would affect the markets.

In short markets had an opportunity to recover.

The change would come, but incrementally, over time. None of that is true today.

Today, as surprising as it may sound, we no longer operate under a legislative system. Debate and Deliberation are no longer part of our changing regulatory environment.

Our Representative Democracy, something that we have operated under for more than 2 centuries has been over-ridden.

Today businesses, by and large, have no ability to predict their future income and sales. Because they don't know whether they will be allowed to open and stay open.

One-third of the publicly traded companies currently decline to give any forward guidance on earnings, simply because they don't know if their local Governors and Mayors will lock their business down.

Lock down is a political weapon of the highest degree. It is initiated without deliberation or debate. There is no legislative role at all. It is simply an order, an executive order. Which can be put in place at any time, and seemingly last for whatever period the Governor sees fit.

And the impact of these executive orders, these locks down's have been devastating to the businesses affected.

For instance, I've seen estimates that at least half of the country's restaurants will be out of business by year ends. And what's true for Restaurants, is probably true for many local businesses.

What's worse, these executive orders, these lockdowns can apparently be re-instituted at any time.

In California, for instance, the governor there is putting the state back into quarantine. So California businesses don't know when their business will return to “normal.”

And it's this driving uncertainty that makes this Market Crisis, so different from the 1987 Short Term Event.

Those of us in the financial community, investors and professionals alike would like to see a return to normal.

But unfortunately, we're not likely to see that until Politicians, like Newsom in California, and indeed Politicians around the world release their iron grip on the economy.

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