I usually don't pay that much attention to the stock market, but after seeing a chunk of my retirement go up in flames in the past two months, I've definitely been paying more. I think a lot of us have.
And I heard something interesting, which is that the market rose sharply the morning before Bush spoke on his economic stimulus package, and then dropped sharply after he was done. In the morning, the Dow Jones industrial average was up more than 180 points, or 1.5 percent. After Bush finished, it ended up down .7 percent. If you had $100,000 invested in stocks, you lost $2,500 from the difference.
The NPR commentator said the market dropped because investors weren't impressed with Bush's stimulus package. That's probably true. And probably any response would have been inadequate given the mess that we're in.
But maybe there's also something else going on. Maybe every time Bush opens his mouth these days, and tries to reassure us by doing things like comparing cranking up America's economy to cranking up a lawn-mower, more and more Americans think, "This joker is in charge? He's totally out of touch." And they recognize that we're in deep trouble, which may only get deeper, given how much the policies he's spearheaded have damaged our economy.
Even Republicans and stock market investors may be beginning to recognize this, which may be one reason Bush's words seemed to hurt, not help. Whether they recognize that the new Republican candidates will largely follow the same vein is less clear. I'm actually glad that people no longer believe Bush's words, although our faltering economy's already bringing a lot of human pain. I hope from all of it we'll emerge on some wiser paths.
Paul Rogat Loeb is the author of The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear, named the #3 political book of 2004 by the History Channel and the American Book Association. His previous books include Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time. See www.paulloeb.org To receive his articles directly email email@example.com with the subject line: subscribe paulloeb-articles