Typing in the phrase “suicide methods” results in the chart seen here. Steady as she goes in 2007 and early 2008 and then a spike up beginning in October, 2008 that only subsides back down to “normal” in March, 2009.
In other words, from the time of the Lehman Brothers collapse and the beginning of the financial collapse, until the absolute bottom of the market when the S&P 500 reached as low as 666 (a number that nobody would believe if it were fiction, but that was the low). From the moment the market began to recover (and it has soared over 50% since March, 2009) interest in the phrase “suicide methods” sharply diminished.
Interesting to note that the popularity of the phrase is only correlated with the stock market decline and NOT the housing market decline which began at the end of 2006.
Nor is it correlated with the sharp spike in unemployment that has occurred since late 2008. While unemployment continued to reach new highs, the interest in “suicide methods” declined exactly with the rise in the stock market beginning March 2009. While people’s net worth is often tied closely to the value of their houses, it turns out their self worth more closely approximates the size of their stock market portfolios. When that falters, their world view is shaken.
So where were the bodies flying out of windows on Wall Street?
It turns out that the phrase “suicide methods” was most popular not on Wall Street but Main Street. The states where the phrase was most popular were Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire.
Many pundits suggest that in a collapse like we experienced in October, 2008, the government should let the chips fall where they may. Let the S&P 500 fall as low as possible to clean things up. Let it fall to 400 or 300 or even lower, despite the fact that it may have been government policies that caused the mess in the first place.
But the bailouts, in plugging the holes in the financial system and allowing the stock market to stabilize and recover, (even if the “Plunge Protection Team” had to man their battle stations to temporarily prop things up) had a direct effect on human toll that was being felt on Main Street.
Read more from Altucher on his blogThe Altucher Confidential