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U.S. stocks tumbled, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its worst June since the Great Depression, as record oil prices, credit-market writedowns and a slowing economy threatened to extend a yearlong profit slump.

And as went the United States, so went the rest of the world.

Gloomy times indeed, with people facing large price increases and rapidly declining assets. If indeed they have any assets given the level of indebtedness in this country.

Curiously, though, I still feel sanguine about all this. Perhaps it is because, as Doug Kass puts it, I am still breathing. Things may well get a lot worse, but if the economy tips into a full-blown recession, some of the current inflationary pressures will ease simply because demand will drop for a lot of stuff. Oil is a prime candidate for a big fall, particularly because China has greatly reduced its subsidy for the commodity thereby inevitably reducing demand in that huge market. High prices worldwide are having a similar effect.

Of course, this is all fine and good but it is not nice seeing your standard of living decline before your eyes in the meantime. Not nice, but perhaps a good thing. It's time we started to shake ourselves out of the assumption that we are always going to be better off than those who came before us.