The worst may be yet to come, but before the panic reaches an altitude from which there is no recovery, keep the following in mind (with thanks to Mike Devx, who gave me the idea).
Re 1997, from Wikipedia:
In financial markets, Black Monday is the name given to Monday, October 19, 1987, when stock markets around the world crashed, shedding a huge value in a very short period. The crash began in Hong Kong, spread west through international time zones to Europe, hitting the United States after other markets had already declined by a significant margin. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropped by 508 points to 1739 (22.6%). By the end of October, stock markets in Hong Kong had fallen 45.8%, Australia 41.8%, Spain 31%, the United Kingdom 26.4%, the United States 22.68%, and Canada 22.5%. New Zealand’s market was hit especially hard, falling about 60% from its 1987 peak, and taking several years to recover. (The terms Black Monday and Black Tuesday are also applied to October 28 and 29, 1929, which occurred after Black Thursday on October 24, which started the Stock Market Crash of 1929. In Australia and New Zealand the 1987 crash is also referred to as Black Tuesday because of the timezone difference.)
The Black Monday decline was the largest one-day percentage decline in stock market history. Other large declines have occurred after periods of market closure, such as on Monday, September 17, 2001, the first day that the market was open following the September 11, 2001 attacks. (Saturday, December 12, 1914, is sometimes erroneously cited as the largest one-day percentage decline of the DJIA. In reality, the ostensible decline of 24.39% was created retroactively by a redefinition of the DJIA in 1916.
Re the current market loss, from CNN money:
Stocks skidded Monday, with the Dow slumping nearly 778 points, in the biggest single-day point loss ever, after the House rejected the government’s $700 billion bank bailout plan.
Do you think the members of the media currently screaming for blood even have an understanding about the difference between point and percentage losses?