March 13th, 2009
03:05 PM ET

Stock Answer

Jonathan Chait
The New Republic

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/12/29/global.markets/art.market.gi.jpg]

The one conservative talking point that has gotten the most traction since Barack Obama won the election is that he's killing the stock market with his big-government agenda. Conservatives pundits started saying this in November, and mainstream news implies it constantly. "Stocks are down almost 19 percent since the Obama administration took office," reported ABC News recently. MSNBC has been endlessly featuring a graph of the stock market's decline since Obama took office. While Obama's economic policies have gotten plenty of things wrong, the idea that they can be judged by the stock market is unbelievably fatuous.

To understand this ubiquitous notion, let us start at the bottom of the conservative intellectual food chain and work our way up. The crudest version of the Obama Bear Market hypothesis is put forward by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Fred Barnes. Their favorite data point is that the market tanked at several key moments: the day after the 2008 presidential election, the day of Obama's inauguration, and the day he signed the economic stimulus bill. Clearly the markets panicked in reaction to Obama's incipient big-government, wealth-confiscating agenda, right?


Filed under: Economy • President Barack Obama
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. lampe

    Sorry, but he is The POTUS, and like it or not he will be blamed for every little thing that goes on. You know, sort of like how you all blamed GWB, for every little thing that went wrong.

    March 13, 2009 at 8:03 pm |

    Let me help the Liberal Johnathan Chait out. The Market has gone down 3000 points since Obama took office. Apparently Wall Street agrees with me that our Socialist president Barack Hussein Obama Tax and spend is going to have devasting effects on us for many generations. His approval ratings are dropping like a rock. I believe Obama doesn't care about the performance of the stock market. He reminds me of Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry a Con Artist.

    March 13, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  3. JC- Los Angeles

    Blaming President Obama for today's economy is akin to blaming George W. Bush's english teacher for the way he speaks.

    While our economy today may prove to be Bush's greatest work, the clock is ticking on Obama.

    What's most disconcerting about a possible recovery is the company Obama keeps; it's as if he replaced Rezko, Wright, Pflegher and Ayers with Geithner, Gibbs, Daschle, Killefer and Gregg.

    While we thankfully got rid of Bush, getting rid of his economy may take a new and improved cast of characters from President Obama.

    March 13, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  4. Eylar

    This is in regards to the video on jobs opening up because of stimulus package. I can't tell you how great it feels to see a news story on some GOOD results. Please if you can, continue to show progress in this economy . It means a lot.

    March 13, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  5. Sandra

    It must be a coincidence that every time Obama or Geithner speak the stock market tanks.........NOT! It tanks because there is no confidence in the administration and the lack of a solid economic plan. I am sure Obamas talk of raising the Capital gains tax doesn't help either. The stimulus bill is nothing more than a huge speding bill that will not solve the economic crisis.

    March 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  6. Melissa

    The people who blame Obama are just the ones looking for someone to blame. They just have short memories and are ignoring the fact that all this started because of Bush, not Obama. Obama is just inheriting it from one of the worst Presidents in history.

    They need to grow up.

    March 13, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  7. Kim

    Obama has outlined direction and a new path but some are still falling off the cliff playing the blame game ? If you don't agree with him, he's a socialist ? Get real ! Who's sneaking into the American Apple Pie ? Cleaning the mess up and need more mops ! Line those clowns up and we'll all throw empty pie shells full of whip cream !

    March 13, 2009 at 3:22 pm |