Over time, the pain recedes — but only if the illness is addressed. Property in many parts of the US now represents sound value; indeed I have bought some recently because I suspect in the long run it might prove a bargain.
The US banks have taken huge write-downs on their loans and are now among the best capitalised financial institutions in the world. By contrast, experts are increasingly concerned about the solvency of many European banks — the top five French lenders, for example, are among the most highly leveraged in the world, and massively exposed to all the eurozone's issues.
Meanwhile US industry is enjoying record profits, and is sitting on over a trillion dollars in cash. These funds will be put to work in the coming years and will create new jobs and wealth. Sectors like the automotive business have turned around: the big three car makers, two of which went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, are now emerging as highly profitable, much leaner firms. The US possesses many hundreds of world-beating companies, from Apple to Boeing to Caterpillar. A high proportion of these are more productive and competitive than ever, thanks to restructuring over recent years.
As China becomes a more costly place to do business, so the US represents improved value. Its flexible workforce, cheap land and energy, modern infrastructure, and substantial domestic market make it a tremendous location for everything from component manufacture to microchip plants. Over time these many new facilities will generate jobs, tax and exports.
The credit crunch did the US much financial damage, from the failure of Lehman Brothers to the bailout of organisations like Fannie Mae. High unemployment has remained a stubborn burden. Yet America is fantastic at reinventing and rebounding, following Schumpeter's rule of creative destruction. The biggest bailout of all, multinational insurer AIG, is symbolic of the amazing revival in US corporate fortunes. The Fed pumped in $180 billion to save the crippled underwriter: it is now estimated that not only will the US government recover its entire investment, having already received $150 billion back, it is on course to make a $15 billion profit within a few years.