The fundamentals of the global economy haven't changed - Greece's looming failure and inevitable exit from the Euro has caused a flight from the Euro to the USD so that in combination with it being an election year are what have caused the 'slide' for these past 3 months or so. But once the euro mess eventually comes to a head and Greece either is booted from the euro zone or leaves on its own accord, the problems we have with our own economy will again rear their heads.
The housing/real estate mess that caused 2008 hasn't been allowed to be fixed via the market so it's still ripe to fall again to its real bottom. Credit card debts/bankruptcies are a bubble. Student loan debts are a bubble. There are still millions of mortgages out there that are not being paid on or on the verge of foreclosure so I can easily see another 2008 just in that market as it hasn't been 'fixed' in any way really.
Gold/precious metals shouldn't, IMHO anyway, be used as a short-term hold...it's a means of preserving wealth should a repeat or worse of 2008 were to happen which I think is just a matter of time. Greece's debt-to-GDP is around 120% while the US just reached 101% this year & will steadily get worse if we don't make serious cuts to spending and/or flipping our trade deficit. We've had a trade deficit every year since 1974...if you're running a business and lose money every year like that and continue to increase your spending in the face of it, it's inevitable that you will fail - as will the USD if we don't stop creating money out of thin air. People bitch about rising gas prices....it's not gas or oil that is getting more valuable, it's that you can't get as much of it because the dollars you have aren't worth as much as they were.
Just because we appear to be a safe haven from the mess in the euro zone doesn't mean we're fundamentally stronger than they are...the toxic derivatives/assets are still out there, they haven't gone away. There will be a repeat of 2008 if not worse in the next couple years or so, count on it. When that happens (not if), gold and other commodities with known and quantifiable value will increase in price once again - not because they are more valuable but because your dollars won't be able to buy as much as they used to.
Look at the long-awaited Facebook IPO. Before the cluster
they have going now, that company was guesstimated to be valued at around $100 billion. Facebook has about 3,000 employees and makes nothing, produces nothing, sells nothing but ad space and access to user content. Meanwhile, PepsiCo has 294,000 employees, has multiple production and distribution facilities all over the world, produces a known iconic brand product and creates off-shoot jobs for companies that service them or do business with them & they are valued at around $100 billion.
Simply put, you can put your money in the stock market yourself, through an investment house or via mutual funds and the risk there with banks still doing the same things they were doing leading up to 2008 (in some cases like MF Global, worse things) so while you can bash gold for losing 10.5% over the past 6 months, it's still up 139% over the past 5 years and being a person who exited all things USD back in 2007 and put all of it into physical gold, I'm more than happy to sit on it and wait for the Obama's, Romney's (if by some miracle he wins) and the central bank leaders to run the whole system off a cliff. Whatever currency comes out the other side a decade from now (I'm guessing the euro and USD may both be forced to hit a reset button), I can either exchange my gold for that or sell it when it gets over $2000/oz.
Let me get this straight. We're going to be "gifted" with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and will be fined for if we don't, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it but exempts itself from it, signed by a president who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese and financed by a country that's broke.
What could possibly go wrong?