back to blog homepage

USA Today Provides Counterpoint to Cramer

And here is the USA Today's opinion piece giving the other side of the argument that Cramer wrote about in my last post.

As I said in the previous post, I like to give you both sides of the argument so you can decide for yourself which is right or if the reality is somewhere in between.

Mark

The gall of Wall Street

Six weeks into his presidency, Wall Street is losing patience with Barack Obama.

His bank rescue effort, critics say, is poorly designed, too vague, or both. He should do more for the economy by talking up stocks. He should relax accounting standards. He should quash the talk of nationalizing banks. He should stop trying to limit corporate pay. He should restore confidence in markets. He should be more upbeat. He should be less downbeat.

And so on.

There is an odd resonance to this. The people offering the running commentary — be they financial pundits or asset managers who moonlight with their opinions — might not be to blame for the awful decisions made by investment bankers, mortgage lenders and credit rating agencies that helped bring down the global economy. But most were avid cheerleaders as the asset bubble was building.

Under normal circumstances, they are a relentlessly bullish crowd. When events show them to be mistaken, they look for people to blame, and a president struggling with a Gordian knot is easy to second-guess.

At some point Obama will — in the parlance of politics "own" the economy. But six weeks into office, it stretches credulity to say that he has had much effect, positive or negative, on the global economic meltdown.

And yet the blame game is constant. "I don't think it's a mistake or a coincidence that the market has been selling off since the day he was elected and been selling off even more steeply since the day he was inaugurated," an asset manager named Chip Hanlon opined last week. Obama is responsible for "rampant wealth destruction," CNBC's Jim Cramer shouted on his Tuesday show.

To be sure, Obama's economic moves are fair game for criticism. Legitimate debate is to be had about how the Treasury and the Fed ought to proceed with a bank rescue plan. There are also many reasons to be wary, as this page has been, of the long-term spending Obama would commit the government to and the titanic deficits it would generate.

Even so, blaming Obama for stock market losses is like criticizing a pitcher who comes into the game 10 runs behind. And it's guys who helped get the team hammered who are doing the booing.