From the WSJ:
The stock market is trading right where it was nine years ago. Stocks, long touted as the best investment for the long term, have been one of the worst investments over the nine-year period, trounced even by lowly Treasury bonds.
After the tech boom and bust, and now the housing bust, buy and hold investors are still stuck. All those gyrations and there was no net benefit. Only their fund managers are better off.
With many workers counting on defined contribution plans for retirement the implications of a prolonged equity slump are scary. In this case, the responsible savers will not be rewarded, and the calls may come for them to be bailed out by the state.