Thursday, March 1, 2007

On Stock Market Corrections and Political Responsibility

I wrote this entry for my blog Stock Picks Bob's Advice. You are not supposed to be a capitalist and a progressive. But these are the hats I wear. You do not have to be greedy and selfish to believe in free enterprise. We can have a vigorous free market economy with a government that serves the people as well. We can also elect officials who are responsible servants for the electorate, who care for the national government, who believe in what they do, and who aren't interested in burdening a government with massive deficits that serve as the weight belts that can help drown it in a bath tub.

This is what I wrote today:

Thursday, 1 March 2007
It All Comes Back to Iraq.
Those of you who know me better know that I also have a political hat that I sometimes wear. As we face this market correction, I do think that we should ask whether there is something basically wrong with our government management of the American economy in the face of a questionable foreign policy. We can argue whether America needed to be involved in Iraq. Whether thst policy was implemented in an appropriate fashion.

But of greater concern, is my question whether it was responsible for this Administration to pursue a policy of tax cuts during a time of growth in expenditures. This pursuit of lower taxes without any regard to fiscal responsibility and reducing deficits, a policy that had been successfully pursued under the previous President Clinton, has resulted in reliance on the Federal Reserve which is supposed to manipulate money supply and inter-bank loan rates to control inflation.

Our deficit in America is now being held more and more by investors offshore and our economic future is more and more dependent on the success of economies in places such as China and other countries that hold more and more of our dollar-based Treasury notes and obligations.

The dollar has suffered as more have been 'printed', with the dollar dropping against foreign currencies. Yet we have not acted to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we have not required more fuel efficiency from our vehicles, we have not made the needed investments in alternative fuels, we have not made Kyoto a goal, but have continued to increase our addiction on oil produced in areas of the world that are growing hostile to our own interests. Our trade deficits have grown simultaneous with our fiscal deficit.

So when we hear about how China can affect our own market, let us not examine this in a vacuum. Let us realize that we have been misled by our politicians who depended on our own greed to allow them to fail to make the hard decisions to restore fiscal responsibility and instead promise us never-ending 'tax cuts'. This fuzzy-math economics is coming home to roost.

And when we get out to drive in our Suburbans, Tahoes, and heavy-duty pick-ups, gloating about how we can buy gas cheaper than they do in Europe where high prices has moved drivers to efficient vehicles, let us be aware that our inability to encourage our leaders to make the hard decisions is costing us hard right here at home.

O.K., enough of the politics. But don't you just get sick when you see futures down more than 100 points before the market opens!

Wishing you all well. I shall try to reduce my political ranting here and try to stick to stocks. But let me know if it is ok with all of you to intersperse these stock market discussions with occasional political subjects. Whether you agree with me or not, I encourage you to respond to what I say and you are welcome to join in the discussion.


1 comment:

LazySusan said...

I like Dean Baker's idea for a stock transaction tax (I read it in the book Thinking Big - great collection of progressive policy essays), I think that's a good way for the government to take some control of wall street.