Obama and the Markets
Former Saturday Night Live player Victoria Jackson may think "there's a communist living in the White House," but Business Week reports that financial markets are responding well to Obamanomics:
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index is up more than 74% from its recessionary low in March 2009. Corporate bonds have been rallying for a year. Commodity prices have surged. International currency markets have been bullish on the dollar for months, raising it by almost 10% since Nov. 25 against a basket of six major currencies. Housing prices have stabilized. Mortgage rates are low. "We've had a phenomenal run in asset classes across the board," says Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist for Miller Tabak + Co., an institutional trading firm in New York. "If Obama was a Republican, we would hear a never-ending drumbeat of news stories about markets voting in favor of the President."For all the talk about socialism, Obama's economic policies are shaped more by circumstances than by ideological differences with Rubinomics:
Martin Baily, who was a chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton Administration, says he suspects Rubin and the rest of the Clinton economic team would have made similar decisions—on bailouts, fiscal stimulus, and deficit spending—had they faced a crisis of similar magnitude. "I think we would have gone the same way," he says. The Obama team, he continues, navigated the financial crisis while never losing sight of the importance of private enterprise and private markets (a point Obama stressed in his Feb. 9 interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek). "A lot of people on the left were urging them to nationalize banks. Instead they injected capital, and now they're pulling capital out. That looks more like Rubinomics than a set of socialist or left-wing economic policies.What's more, it's working:
"When you take it all together, the response was massive, unprecedented, and ultimately successful," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com (MCO).