I made an observation this morning that we usually can make in bear markets. Today, the government (over)stepped in with sweeping reforms and more meddling, er, regulation to stabilize the financial markets. Nothing today is structurally different than it was a year ago but now that the poo has hit the fan and people are losing money WE HAVE TO FIX IT!br /br /Nobody in Washington was hot to trot out reforms when everyone was making money. Hmm, sounds like Enron to me. When that failed company was printing money had over fist everyone was quite willing to overlook certain excesses. The same went for the tech bubble when the market valued Priceline.com – a travel agent – more highly than all the airlines put together. That may be an exaggeration but not by much (if at all).br /br /Who in their right mind would buy stock in a company today that had no earnings, no revenue and no assets other than a good idea? Sounds like 1999! Back then, they were evaluating stocks not on price to earnings ratios – since there were no earnings yet in the new economy- but on price to advertising. After all, the more aggressive they were to get customers, the more revenue they should eventually have.br /br /Then came the bear market and all that poo was flushed down the porcelain idol. All the excesses that built up during the greatest bull market most of us have ever seen were exposed and eliminated. Today, all the shady dealings in the mortgage market, all the over-leveraged hedge fund tricks and all the carry trade shenanigans have come back to bite everyone in the collective backside. Thank goodness the government is doing something (kidding!). Why don’t they do something before the mess begins?br /br /This market is walking like a duck, talking like a duck and getting everyone quacking. Substitute bear for duck because everything that is happening today happens in bear markets.br /br /Time to ride the slippery slope of hope (the inverse of the wall of worry). If your are not being fooled by the idea that inflation is contained and a death spiral in the dollar is good for the economy then break out the cherry sauce and let’s eat this duck together.