Bush, Bernake and Paulson speak; Dow drops 680 points. Do you think that silence might be golden, guys? Seriously, however, I have noticed something--most days when a bailout or possible bailout is mentioned, the market is neutral to up. If any of these guys speak on the subject of the economy, the market is almost sure to tank. I think Wall Street doesn't have much faith in their pronouncements. I can't imagine why.
In related news from the same link, I'm sure we're all pleased to be officially notified that we've been in a recession for the last 12 months. Really Sparky--what was your first clue?
Based on current trends, expect economic Bad Things through the winter and into spring. With luck, summer may see a bottom, some unknown number of quarters of holding our own, then a very long road back up to what I would hope is a much healthier economy.
Be aware, however, that an Mumbai-style incident on US soil will throw that prediction into chaos. You will also need to watch the actions of the Big O and Team O. Drastic actions (perhaps in any direction) will cause problems. Also keep an eye on what the rest of the world is up to. We're all interconnected at this point, and it might be stupidity from outside that brings us down.
The world economy is at a tipping point, and the politicians are desperately trying to perfect a balancing act while on stage. While I sincerely hope they figure it out, I urge you to take whatever actions you can to protect yourselves and your loved ones. Beans, bullets and band aids are still (and always) good advice, but you also need to look after your finances. Hedging into precious metals (silver is good; gold is better) at this point seems to be a good idea from where I stand. Stay primarily in cash right now, but buy precious metals on any substantial dips in price if you're fully stocked on the 3 B's.