03 March 2009

The "Rich" Have Finally Gone on Strike

Okay, not really. But sort of.

According to George Bittlingmayer & Thomas W. Hazlett, "the best forecast... is the one made by investors risking their own money. They are shorting the 'stimulus.' "

[F]rom Nov. 4, 2008 through Feb. 12, 2009, the DJI overall fell 18% -- a larger drop than during the Sept-Oct plunge. In January, when the Obama plan, promising far greater deficits than the two...plans signed by Pres. George W. Bush in 2008, was unveiled, the market tanked – the worst January performance in 113 years. (Emphasis mine.)
Yesterday, the market closed at 6,763.29. And while today it is up a little (6,772.69) as I write this, it has trended in a, shall we say, down-ward direction. (And to think, just the day after his economic "Gettysburg" address, Mary Cate Cary was writing that she thought it worked.) If investors' willingness to risk their own money is indicative of anything, then the market's continuing dive suggests the investors have precious little confidence in His Beatitude's ability to fix the economy.

Investors Business Daily puts the matter this way: Capital is on strike.

[M]any upper-income taxpayers already are planning to cut back on work and investments to stay under $250,000 in income — the point where Obama's punitive taxes kick in. No one wins from this, yet Obama seems oblivious.

This isn't the only warning sign. A new study asserts that some 100,000 highly educated, well-trained Indians now living in the U.S. will return home in the next few years. Ditto China.

Immigrant entrepreneurs are highly sensitive bellwethers of economic and social conditions. They know where the opportunities are — and where they aren't. They're voting with their feet.
Obama, as IBD points out, does seem oblivious; but he isn't oblivious. He doesn't care. I just heard on the news (WBAP-AM, Dallas, 12.00, CST) that he wants us to ignore the market, which he likened to a tracking poll in politics, as a gauge of the economy.

"But, golly gee, Wally," said the Beaver, "that's what they told us to look at when they told us that Bush was responsible for the market tanking in the first place. It's why they told us to vote for Obama."

A popularity tracking poll in politics? My portfolio has never increased or decreased in value in relation to any president's popularity.

In the interest of full disclosure, let us remind ourselves that, in all fairness to His Beatitude, the market has been falling steadily since Lehman Brothers went under, back in September 2008. And to be even fairer, the market didn't respond positively to any maneuvering of the Bush Administration.

What does this tell us? Perhaps it tells us that market performance and federal policy is purely co-incidental, no causal relation whatsoever. Perhaps it tells us that the market's continued fall is a response to both Bush and Obama, specifically, their Keynesianesque policies. That is, the market simply has no confidence in the federal government's ability to "fix" the economy. The housing bubble (the bursting of which brought about this mess) was, some of us think, created by the Fed. Maybe, for now, the market has learned its lesson: ignore the false signals sent out by the Fed, and place no faith in the unfederal government's attempts to "jump-start" the economy.

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James Frank SolĂ­s
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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