Why Is the Dow In the Tank? Why Michael Boskin and So Many Others are So, So Wrong

In today's Wall Street Journal, Michael J. Boskin, former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors for President George H.W. Bush and a Senior Fellow at the aptly named Hoover Institution, lays out a list of conservative talking points against the President’s budget. Dr. Robert Shapiro laid out a pretty compelling analysis of the problems with this type of thinking, but the real issue with the column is that, preceding the talking points, Boskin says this:

Obama's Radicalism Is Killing the Dow

A financial crisis is the worst time to change the foundations of American capitalism.

It's hard not to see the continued sell-off on Wall Street and the growing fear on Main Street as a product, at least in part, of the realization that our new president's policies are designed to radically re-engineer the market-based U.S. economy, not just mitigate the recession and financial crisis.

The column proceeds with the list of conservative complaints about the budget, and provides no substantive reason why President Obama’s allegedly flawed budget blueprint is specifically making the Dow tank.

I have another reason in mind why the Dow might be tanking. Let's try it on for size:

The economy is in the tank.

That's right, the actual state of the economy, including the massive financial and housing crises, is the actual force driving down the stock prices of the large companies that comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It's not that Obama is some sort of radical. (Take a look at David Brooks today, who comes around on the notion that Obama and his people are pragmatists, even if he’s not fully on board with their brand of pragmatism.) Rather, it's that the American economy is in its worst shape since the Great Depression.

The causation (more on causation from Mankiw today) Boskin implies (and he's by no means the only one, the media – especially business media – is obsessed with attributing the ups and downs of the Dow to various policies or how confidently the President is speaking, or how much the budget weighs or quickly it can be deep fried), is largely misplaced, and ultimately dangerous. There are times when markets react to government policy, and that's been happening somewhat lately too, but, right now, the Dow is in the tank because that's where the economy is, and its not getting fixed by today's closing bell.


WCZASY by egipt (not verified)