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March 03, 2009

WSJ: Obama's Budget and Policies Are Causing a Capital Strike and Driving the Market Down

Dude, where's my honeymoon rally?

The market has notably plunged since Mr. Obama introduced his budget last week, and that should be no surprise. The document was a declaration of hostility toward capitalists across the economy. Health-care stocks have dived on fears of new government mandates and price controls. Private lenders to students have been told they're no longer wanted. Anyone who uses carbon energy has been warned to expect a huge tax increase from cap and trade. And every risk-taker and investor now knows that another tax increase will slam the economy in 2011, unless Mr. Obama lets Speaker Nancy Pelosi impose one even earlier.

Meanwhile, Congress demands more bank lending even as it assails lenders and threatens to let judges rewrite mortgage contracts. The powers in Congress -- unrebuked by Mr. Obama -- are ridiculing and punishing the very capitalists who are essential to a sustainable recovery. The result has been a capital strike, and the return of the fear from last year that we could face a far deeper downturn. This is no way to nurture a wounded economy back to health.

Listening to Mr. Obama and his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, on the weekend, we couldn't help but wonder if they appreciate any of this. They seem preoccupied with going to the barricades against Republicans who wield little power, or picking a fight with Rush Limbaugh, as if this is the kind of economic leadership Americans want.

And read Tony Bankley's "Obama lied: the economy died" column as well. Obama is, in fact, lying about his supposed "$2 trillion in spending cuts" over the next ten years; when pressed, staffers admit that that $2 trillion is made up of both spending cuts and tax increases.

And Roger Kimball, too:

Many people, I believe, have been stunned by the President’s behavior in his first weeks in office. It’s been a shock and awe performance. Historians of this period will look back in wonder: how ever did a new President waltz into office and, before he had even finished unpacking, extract $800,000,000,000 from taxpayers for partisan spending programs? Partly, it was a matter of successful rebranding: the President managed to convince some important people that his spending package was really a stimulus package, i.e., something that would help the economy, not hobble it. We know better now, having just suffered the largest post-inauguration market rout in history. But those historians will note with interest how, even at the beginning of March, some reputable commentators still referred to the President’s poverty program as “stimulus package.”

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posted by Ace at 11:09 AM

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