So we’re having this Convention, and I got to speak.
You can’t go into much detail in three minutes, so on the claim about the stock market, I just did my best to be fair (actually, in the example I gave, you would have made more than FIVE hundred thousand dollars under Democrats, not three hundred thousand dollars, but I figured ten-to-one was enough of a contrast, and would at least mitigate some of the methodological objections some might raise).
Here is a critique of a similar example I’ve posted here before that actually ends in October 2008, before the huge market upsurge under President Obama. It notes (as I did in my speech) that dividends are not included; and notes quite reasonably that inflation is a factor that should be considered (though I don’t think he tells us which way that would have cut, unless I missed it); but makes, I think, one unfair criticism: he says that since it takes time for presidential policies to take effect, it would be fairer to begin the comparison a year into each president’s term rather than on Inauguration Day.
That would be true about job creation or debt reduction (or just about any other real world statistic) — but not the stock market. Because the stock market is a barometer, not a thermometer. It reflects not the current weather, but people’s prediction of the weather a month and a year and several years out — their confidence in the future. Indeed, in an election that’s really close, the starting point should perhaps be the morning the election results are in and the new president (and his promised policies) are known — and investors begin to react to that. In an election where the results are a foregone conclusion months in advance, an even earlier start point should perhaps be chosen.
So it’s not cut and dried, remotely. Then again, a ten-to-one (or eighteen-to-one) difference is still worth noting as, I would argue, more than coincidence. Democrats are expansive and progressive and invest in the future and grow things — and narrow the inequality gap that hurts the economy. Republicans are pretty much the reverse.
Republicans held the reins in the eight years of rising inequality leading up to the crash of 1929 and then gave us Herbert Hoover; Republicans held the reins in the eight years of rising inequality leading up to the crash of 2008 and now want to give us Mitt Romney.
Have a great day. Watch President Clinton’s amazing speech from last night — it is so, so important. Get everyone you know to watch it. And then tune in tonight. If there’s no column tomorrow it’s because I got invited to the Google party.
Quote of the Day
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.~H. L. Mencken
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