Sunday, March 15, 2009

Obama's Economy Blitz

You'll recall I predicted the economy would recover this year, 2009, likely by late spring/early summer. Now, more qualified voices than mine are adding limited agreement; Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in a rare interview, states that the recession will probably end this year.

Meanwhile, the President is putting forth a PR full-court press on the economy. After two months of talking down the economy, and stating that we were nearing days as dire as the Great Depression, President Obama told business leaders that the economy is not nearly as bad as it sounds.

In fact, echoing words that were jeered when first asserted by his opponent John McCain, Obama's economic advisor Christina Romer affirmed that "of course" the fundamentals of the US economy were "sound."

Meanwhile, the President's approval numbers are holding relatively steady at about 60%; but his disapproval numbers have been steadily creeping upwards.

When asked about that dip below 60%, the President noted that these numbers were like the stock market, and vary from week to week.

Perhaps this is an appropriate analogy; consider the chart of the DOW Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) with appropriate labels added by myself:

Now, many have argued correctly that the President cannot immediately be assigned blame for the fledgling economy. Yet, there are long-term and short-term indicators, and at some point, Obama must take both credit and blame. (Does anyone doubt he would be taking credit now if the stock market was soaring?) No, the market is affected by just one day's events. The President has been in office for eight weeks now. At some point, he has to own this market. Given that there's been a 2,000+ point drop since he took power that wasn't clearly indicated by the data -- and that includes his promised plan of salvation via the stimulus -- clearly investors are not comfortable with Obama's current performance.

However, as I told Republicans when Bush was president, don't hitch your wagon to the market; if you take credit when she's up, you'd better be prepared to take blame when she's down.

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