One line I see repeated a lot lately by Obama detractors is that he’s causing the stock market to tank by talking about economic catastrophe and talking about the tough times ahead. These people apparently miss the Bush days when our President’s outward stance was that he was oblivious to the real world we all live in, steadily projecting optimism in such a way that made him look detached and clueless.
In recent weeks we’ve learned that Japan’s economy is shrinking rapidly. AIG is going to report a $60 billion loss on Monday and will have to get more government loans or file for bankruptcy. California home prices are down to 2002 levels and falling.
Nassim Taleb says the current financial crisis is worse than the 1930s. George Soros says we’re nowhere near the bottom. Nouriel Roubini says the same. Alan Greenspan says we need to nationalize banks.
Given the amount of legitimate bad news that we’re seeing every day, I find it difficult to believe that investors are discouraged by President Obama. I think the desire to blame Obama (or others) for insufficient optimism is denial. How bad will the economy get? I don’t think anyone really knows, but it strikes me as foolish to err on the side of optimism at this point, and I certainly don’t want our elected leaders to downplay the crisis in a false attempt to get people to deny the reality around them.