the stock market is rising
because somebody who thinks
just like him will soon be president.
Why is the stock market rising? According to Rep. Allen West (R), it has nothing to do with the policies of the guy sitting in the White House. Rather, it’s because Americans think Republicans are going to replace the guy in the White House come November. That, at any rate, is what he dared suggest to Neil Cavuto Tuesday:
CAVUTO: You think that’s a genuine factor? You think that the markets are getting bubbly in anticipation of a Republican taking the White House?
WEST: Oh, absolutely. Well, I think that there is a hope that may be out there, is that we can get a person that has practical viable solutions for job creation here in the United States of America [in the presidency].
Wow. Whoa. WTF.
Remember three years ago when Republicans were blaming the guy who had just arrived in the White House less than two months previously for the plunge in the stock market (which had been dropping for 17 months)? The guy gets the blame for what happened on somebody else’s watch but doesn’t get the credit for what is happening on his watch? Now that is GOP politicking at peak performance, something we can’t say about the economy when they are in charge.
Republicans, not just Allen West, love telling people that the Democrats are bad for the economy. That the Democrats will put the average guy into the poor house (a relic Republicans seemed determined to resurrect in place of the social safety net they’re shredding).
It’s important to remember in all the hoopla about the stock market that it is not the greatest measure of the health of the overall economy and well-being of the average person. The vast majority of Americans own just a tiny sliver of outstanding stock, including that held in the private pension funds that fewer and fewer of them have.
The truth is that the stock market’s ups and downs are a product of far more than any president’s or political party’s maneuvers. As we’ve seen over the past three years, government policies can take a long time to have an impact, and determining just how much impact is not all that simple. But, since West and other Republicans want to play that game, let’s do it:
[S]ince John F. Kennedy was inaugurated, $ 1,000 invested in a hypothetical fund that tracks the S&P 500 “only when Democrats are in the White House would have been worth $ 10,920 at the close of trading yesterday [Feb. 20, 2012]. That’s more than nine times the dollar return an investor would have realized from following a similar strategy during Republican administrations.”
“The Democratic edge is so large that the party comes out ahead even without counting Bill Clinton (the Democrat with the biggest S&P 500 gain) and George W. Bush (the Republican with the worst market record). A hypothetical $ 1,000 investment under Democrats excluding Clinton was worth $ 3,539 versus $ 3,296 invested under Republicans except Bush.”
The New York Times did a more thorough analysis in October 2008. Going back 75 years (excluding the disaster under Republican President Herbert Hoover), investing $ 10,000 in the S&P market index would have turned into $ 300,371 under Democrats only (39.9 years) and $ 51,211 under Republicans only (35.7 years).
Now, in the real world, there are plenty of quibbles about those analyses. What about inflation and dividends, for instance, which the Times leaves out? There are just so many variables that hard and fast numbers aren’t that easy to have confidence in.
What we can be confident about, however, is that Allen West won’t be the last Republican on the campaign trail to say that the improvement in the stock market, the improvement in the job market and the improvement in consumer sentiment about the economy in general have nothing to do with the policies of Barack Obama. The only thing he’s responsible for, as we’re already hearing from the GOP every day, is the rising price of gasoline. In West’s twisted world, Obama was no doubt responsible for the soaring gasoline prices in 2008, too, because back then Americans expected him to become president.