It’s hard to imagine a better exhibition of the foolish ineptness of 24-hour news cycle talking heads than during the last few days, when the incredibly wobbly behavior of the stock market has provided a roller coaster ride like no other.
“Here’s why it’s going down!” “Here’s why it’s rebounding!” “Here’s why it’s back down!” In the course of one, brief shared TV commentary following the Federal Reserve announcement Tuesday about extending low interest rate policy into 2013, the market nosedived and the “analysts” explained why. Then it quickly shot back up, way up, and the “analysts” had the poo left behind by the sudden surge dripping off their faces.
What such announcers, and many market specialists, apparently fail to comprehend is that market fluctuations do not share one-to-one parity with whatever headline event may in closest proximity, chronologically speaking, to it.
None of the economic and financial events hogging the headlines these days really count as “breaking news” to serious investors and policy makers. They’ve already assessed the longer term playing out of the European fiscal crises, the seriously-low growth rate of the U.S. economy, and other pressures.
If there is any immediate new cause for the past week’s market volatility, it was the news of revisions to the data showing the U.S. economy grew far slower coming out of the Great Recession than previously thought.
It’s not sexy “breaking news” headlines that bug-eyed talking heads can attribute to the market’s yo-yo effect, it’s dull, long-term trend lines that are pointing down, down, down. That will trigger major events along the way – such as the failure of “too big to fail” institutions and periodic runs – but the reality underlying them all will remain the same.
The Great Depression lasted more than a decade in the 1930’s, and now, the lying freak show the Republican Party has become sees a repeat of that prospect as its ticket to achieving a one-term Obama presidency.
Currently, people support the GOP and its Tea Party flank only to the extent they fall for their lies, lies that have become so endemic and intrenched into the party’s ethos that its spokespersons have come to actually believe them, themselves.
But in this era of social media and mass communication, as things get worse, the American electorate will begin to insist on finding out what’s really to blame for the sputtering economy.
Already, the polls are showing that – not as David Gergen and other paid dissemblers want you to believe – average citizens to do not blame Congress as a whole, and do not assign equal blame to Democrats and Republicans for the horrible impasse that it currently is locked into continuing. By a widening margin, the public is rightfully blaming the Republicans far more than the Democrats.
The nation was foredoomed to sink back into the Great Recession of 2008 by the relentless pressure brought by Republicans to derail the kind of robust extension of Obama’a “stimulus” policies that he introduced right after his Inauguration.
The best economists, like Paul Krugman and Robert Reich, argued from the start that, based on the model of the 1930’s Depression, only a massive commitment to “stimulus” investing could kick-start the flagging economy by putting people to work and money into their pockets.
But the Republicans, speaking for their military-industrial-financial complex masters, insisted that the “stimulus” was an abject failure, and they so flooded the airwaves with that dismissive, but abjectly false, claim that they turned the word, “stimulus,” into a dirty one.
They engaged in a self-fulfilling prophecy. Politically derailing the “stimulus,” they then pointed to its ineffectiveness.
In fact, as the nation careens toward a “double dip,” which will translate into One Big Depression, it becomes clearer that Obama’s “stimulus” put a temporary stall in the economic meltdown. It did enough to prevent a far worse immediate outcome from 2008, or at least delayed it that outcome until its effect wore off.
Now we are staring a crash in the face again. Republicans appear ready to take the plane down to eliminate the pilot, without regard for the hundreds of innocent passengers aboard.