It's March 8, 2009. The market's down 56% from its all-time high, unemployment is over 8% and hurtling toward 10%, it's just been reported that real GDP dropped at a 6.2% annual rate in Q4 of 2008, and it feels like the world is coming to an end. You're tired, exhausted from living though this, and you fall into a deep sleep. So deep, in fact, that you don't wake up until today, 10 years later.
First thing you do is run to your computer and see the S&P 500 is up 305% since the bottom. You are blown away. No way this could be true! Things were so bad when you fell asleep. Little did you know the S&P 500 bottomed the next day.
So you run over to your friend's house and knock on the door. Your friend answers, wondering where you've been for 10 years! You ask what possibly could have happened to drive the stock market up more than 300%.
Your friend pulls out a list. Let's call them the "golden geese."
After-tax economy-wide corporate profits are at record highs, up 175% since the bottom, or around 11% annualized growth.
Then your friend tells you about Apple. When you fell asleep, Apple had been selling the iPhone for about a year and a half. Over that period, they sold a record-breaking 17.4 million of them. But since you've been asleep, Apple has sold about 1.3 billion of them. Every calendar quarter Apple sells about three times what it sold in that first year and a half.
Then there's Uber. Your friend tells you how you can press a button on a phone and a few minutes later a car will come by and, before you get in, you know who the driver is, his rating, how much it'll cost, and how long it will take to get to your destination. All cheaper than a taxi. It seems like science fiction!
You see unemployment is only 3.8% and think it's a typo, because when you fell asleep it was more than double that.