The markets reacted to what appears to be global policy incompetence today.
We’re not finance experts. Hell, who are we kidding: Death and Taxes has no 410k plan, we’re not ballers, and we have no real vested interest in watching the markets other than out of the kind of rubbernecking fascination that slows highway traffic to a crawl.
But even from our vantage point one thing seems eminently clear: the markets are reacting to policy. Which means they’re reacting to politicians.
Mixed with unexpectedly strong jobs report today, markets swooned with volatility as investors struggled to make sense of what the world’s leaders are doing (or not doing) to enact effective fiscal policy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average spanned range of over 400 points on the day.
The New York Times writes “Wall Street moved lower as fears continued to hang over markets that the United States and Europe were not doing enough to counter their economic problems.” And Wall Street Journal notes that in Italy “a hastily called news conference” was called “in an effort to quell fears about the euro zone’s third-largest economy.” Of the comments at this hastily called conference, WSJ writes, “the somewhat stabilizing news out of Europe is allowing us to bounce from very oversold levels.”
Over the last months intransigent Republicans, especially of the Tea Party variety, insisted there was no danger in simply letting the US default on its debt, and accused Obama of fear mongering when he warned of markets’ vulnerability to such a possibility.
It’s all hype, they wanted us to believe.
The debt deal President Obama sought included far steeper deficit cuts than the ones we ended up with, and far greater revenues—a much healthier fiscal score card than the one we now face.
World leaders and Tea Party Republicans do nothing to institute effective finance policy telling us all the while not to worry—everything will be fine. And then the market—that omnipotent devil the right is supposed to worship—answers in kind.
If they won’t believe Obama, Paul Krugman and Nourial Roubini, maybe they’ll believe the markets. Their message is blaring loud and clear:
Nice job, assholes.