Excerpts below from short articles worth reading (link at the bottom): [more]
So far I believe that we have only seen the tip of a huge iceberg. The current economic and investing environment will most likely get worse before it gets better, especially once we see the full picture of the 4th quarter, which is not going to be pretty. Think about it, who is going to buy a car from the Big 3 if there is uncertainty whether they will be around in 3 months (not to mention the quality/characteristics of their products)? And who is going to go to the mall and actually buy something meaningful if their jobs may be on the line or if their main "asset" is a big mortgage? In other words, don't count on the American consumers to keep spending beyond their means, but quite the contrary (deleveraging). At some point millions of holders of these huge “assets” will realize that the cost of “selling” them back to the bank at face value (i.e., sending the keys in an envelop), where the main cost is basically trashing your credit record, is far smaller than the big benefit of getting rid of a house that is deep under water. But who is going to care about the credit record once there are millions and millions sharing your low credit rating?