Point one. Weak economy no longer papered over by housing bubble.
Point two. Weakness in the financial sector exacerbated by Fed and Treasury malfeasance.
Now Point three. The commodities bubble.
Remember with me. The first half of this year, when oil kept climbing, climbing, climbing. Will it really break $100? And it did, all the way to $147. "Better get used to it," we were told. Insatiable world demand, isn't it obvious? A great opportunity in alternative energy products. Priuses sold like hotcakes to the economically sophisticated.
But the fall of commodities does not leave us in the same economic world as we left when it rose. Ford, GM, Chrysler and the other auto makers got sliced and diced like a subprime mortgage by the bubble. It left them worth just about as much as a CDO.
Things don't pencil out at $55 oil the same way they did at $120 oil. Consumers were hammered on the front end, and producers on the back end. Maybe the ex-Enron traders on the Goldman Sachs floor did well, but not many others.