The Timeless Wisdom of Louis Rukeyser


(cross-posted from Students for a Free Economy)


If the name “Louis Rukeyser” has any meaning for the younger readers of this blog it will be vague early childhood memories of an avuncular older guy who their parents used to watch on TV talking about stock markets or something. He died in 2006, but from 1970 to 2002 “Ruke” hosted the popular “Wall Street Week” on public TV channels, and his steady good sense and wisdom became an institution in the world of finance, economics and free-market idealism.


Rukeyser always had a way of putting things into perspective and making us realize that we weren’t “all gonna die!” no matter how bad the economy or the market – and you young whippersnappers only think this is bad right now because you weren’t around  in 1980 for 12 percent unemployment, 14 percent inflation, and the only thing worse than expensive gas: no gas.


One moment I’ll never forget was Rukeyser’s monologue the week of the Crash of 1987, when stocks fell 22 percent on one day. Anyone who cared about money tuned in that particular Friday night hoping for counsel and solace. I’ve often wished I had a tape, but thanks to you whippersnappers and your newfangled YouTube thingie, my wish has come true.


Without further ado, here are the immortal words of wisdom from the great Louis Rukeyser on the occasion of the 1987 stock market crash: 


“Let’s start with what’s really important tonight: It’s just your money, not your life. Everyone who really loved you a week ago still loves you tonight, and that’s a heckuva lot more important than the numbers on a brokerage statement. The robins will still sing, crocuses will bloom, babies will gurgle, and puppies will curl up in your lap and drift happily to sleep, even when the stock market goes temporarily insane.


“(And now that that’s all properly in perspective, let me say, Ouch! and Eek! and Medic!)”


God I miss that guy. :(


Ruke went on with more gems, including this pearl:


“It seems as if everyone in America with access to a microphone has been telling us with stunning hindsight precisely why the Dow Jones Industrials took a record 22 percent nosedive Monday. We heard about rising interest rates, we heard about the trade deficit, we heard about leadership problems, and if we are to believe last night’s presidential news conference, most of my colleagues in the Washington press corps are convinced that the root of the problem is that we just haven’t raised taxes enough.”




P.S. It today’s terms, the 1987 crash was the equivalent of a 2,400 decline in the Dow. Check out this chart to get a little perspective on the big picture.



2 Responses to “The Timeless Wisdom of Louis Rukeyser”

  1. Jason Gillman Says:

    I was going to comment directly, and decided to make a blog of it.

    There is still so much to say about it, but bottom line, it WAS just money, now it is our freedom from an oppressive government.

  2. Jason Gillman Says:

    Better yet, and glad you stopped in Jack.. lol

    worth a read. Pretty much says what I was thinking, but he is a little smarter on the subject. I insist it is a mistake, and will hold to that premise and will offer to eat crow if wrong.

    BTW I found it through Hershberger’s site

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