Can We Stop the Panic?

It's that catch-22 of market psychology that plagues financial analysts: The more we study the panic and obsess about ending it, the more our confidence deteriorates and the further the economy plunges. But today's market rebound offered a momentary break in what Ben Bernanke calls the "adverse feedback loop" of escalating monetary woes. In a new essay for Vanity Fair Marie Brenner portrays contemporary America as a reel of constant reminders of our economic decay; even silences in conversations remind us of what we have lost and how much lower we could go. Bernanke's declaration today that the recession could end this year is a boost Brenner takes in stride. "Yes, Mr. Secretary. Panic Sells. And we have buyer's choice. Jai ho!"