Every small bit of good economic news these days is being breathlessly reported in the media as vindication of President Obama’s policies, or at least, as very good news for his reelection chances. But any sincere analysis of housing data, unemployment, gasoline prices, and the cancerous debt and deficit that Obama feeds, as well as a host of other major economic indicators, illustrates the president’s failure to implement any truly helpful economic policies. The only credible theme that the Obama campaign can legitimately attempt is “things could be worse.”
But there is one ray of sunshine that could still land on the chosen one. The stock market boom is a big deal, and it could do a lot to save Obama if the upturn continues. The stock market’s rise creates the wealth effect; it occurs when people think they have security and value growth in their investment accounts, and their spending decisions subsequently reflect their positive feelings about the present and the future.
It is ironic that the president and his team, who would like to more boldly embrace the Occupy crowd (who aren’t exactly bull market players), are being rescued by the same greedy capital markets they would probably like to strangle.
It isn’t hard to figure out what is happening. The Federal Reserve has pretty much announced that there will be no interest rate increases before the election, and savings rates are so low you lose money if you keep cash in savings. Plus, companies face too much uncertainty to do anything risky, so the stock market looks safe if you can time your investments so you don’t ride the market down when interest rates inevitably spike.
Anyway, Obama won’t be able to sustain the claim that his policies have been good for the economy. But the stock market could end up doing a lot of talking for him. This matters, and the Republican nominee will have to get in front of Obama with a big, bold economic plan before voters decide that things aren’t so bad under Obama and that the GOP doesn’t really have any better ideas.