If you like economic depression, Obama is your man. The stock market is shouting this message loudly and clearly. The S & P 500 (measured by the security SPY) made a little high at 100.41 on November 4, 2008. The election was the next day. It has been downhill ever since. The close on March 2, 2009 was 70.60. This 30 percent decline qualifies as what used to be an ordinary bear market!
Congress and the President could not construct better measures, proposed and enacted, to deepen this depression if they tried. Congressional Democrats intend to ensconce Democrats as the majority party for the next 25 years or so. Their chosen method is wasteful pork sold as rational investment. But by gilding the nests of their chosen constituencies and supporters with huge taxpayer-funded giveaways, they will deepen and lengthen the depression.
The stock market tells us this, but it is easy for stimulus supporters to explain away the stock market’s drop in other ways. Obama supporters are likely to extol the good things that his program is doing to revive spending in the economy, and to regard the stock market as an aberrant den of gamblers and thieves who deserve their Bush-induced fate.
Very few men on the street, including my doctor, understand that spending, whether private or government, does not get rid of economic depression; and the lack of spending does not cause it. They do not fathom that government spending, borrowing, and taxing will further gash the sinking economy below the water line and send it to its watery grave. They are more inclined to believe, along with prominent economists, that government spending should be increased by trillions more. There cannot be too much of a good thing.
People automatically think that if everyone does not spend, then how can businesses keep going and hire people? How can the economy work? Then they think, if people only have money, then they can spend. If the government spending will only put that money into their hands, this will cause people to spend. It will jump start the economy, restore business confidence, and all will be well.
This story has a firm hold on the public imagination, but things don’t work that way. People in the aggregate can only earn money to spend by working productively. Money still doesn’t grow on trees.
The government doesn’t have a money tree either. Without resorting to inflation, it can only shift money around. America’s federal government is a group of Americans who are empowered to tax the rest of us and borrow from anyone in the world. This money is collected from you, me, and others. We then have less to spend. Shifting money from the left pocket to the right pocket doesn’t enhance the total amount. Continue reading They Done Us Wrong: Spending Our Way Into Greater Depression