Thursday, November 20, 2008

A sampler of dubious market analyses

Rather than venture any guesses as to just how bad things are going to get (very bad), and when they'll start getting better (later), I'll identify three reasons that aren't why the market is in free fall:

Josh Marshall - Obama wasn't sworn in two weeks ago
If I were really convinced that the government response to the crisis has been so bad, I'd be tempted to subscribe to this (maybe not publicly). But I'm not sure what the damning evidence is supposed to be. Hank Paulson asked for a lot of money. Got a chunk of it. Spent what he got. The markets continued to tank. What would Obama have done on November 5th to avert the stock price declines that followed? I mean the market knows he's the guy, so it's not a question of "visibility." There has to be some big policy change between what we have in real live 11/20/08 and alternate immediate-swearing-in reality version of same. I don't have a great idea what that would be and why it would be better. And in general, trying to pin blame for stock market declines definitively on just one person or thing is a huge waste of time.

Ezra Klein - [Ford and GM sold off on] Henry Waxman's glorious victory
Not crazy, but they were higher not long after the vote was made public, on a report that an auto bailout was going to happen. They only tanked when news came that nothing was going to happen on that front until December at earliest. Plus everything was getting sold heavily late in the day. Including the two publicly traded car companies that are on if not teetering over the brink of bankruptcy.

Daniel Henninger - The secular war on Christmas
Yes, really. As in people not saying "Merry Christmas." And obviously that's not just the stock market he's talking about. He means the real economy. It's a freakin' root cause. Nothing is too stupid for the Wall Street Journal op-ed page. [Read Brad at the link. This one really did a number on him.]

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