Ultimately, all recessions and depressions resolve themselves into crises of confidence. The instant, global, 24-7 communications of today make them ever more so. President Obama, in his pursuit of liberal big-government spending, has totally neglected the role of the president of the United States in reversing global panic. To the contrary, his every remark and the constant preoccupation of his Cabinet is to heighten the sense of crisis and to escalate the predictions of doom if we do not do as they tell us and raise spending now and taxes later.
Instead of being a firewall, reassuring Main Street even as Wall Street crashed, he has become a conduit of panic, spreading the mood of desperation from the stock exchange floor to kitchen tables across the world.
There are bad loans, which became bad assets, that lie at the root of the crisis. Through deregulation by the government and the greed of financial institutions, they spread to every portfolio in the world. But these basic facts have metastasized out of all proportion to their real harm into job and financial insecurity for every family on Earth. It is President Obama, not the markets themselves, who has spread this fear. A global Paul Revere, he has not only aroused us, but incited fear and trepidation in his wake.
Previous panics have been global in impact, but local in focus. The world panicked because of developments in Mexico or Argentina or Thailand or South Korea. Now, with Collateralized Debt Obligations spreading the poison of a bunch of bad loans all over the world, infecting every portfolio, the panic is not only global in impact but in focus as well. Modern communications have hastened the spread of the virus of panic throughout the global bloodstream.
In addressing this panic, the president of the United States must truly be the leader of the world -- showing the way back to confidence.
Instead, Obama has been instrumental in purveying fear and spreading doubt. It is his pronouncements, reinforced by the developments they kindle and catalyze, that are destroying good businesses, bankrupting responsible people and wiping out even conservative financial institutions. Every time he speaks, he sends the markets down and stocks crashing. He doesn't seem to realize that the rest of the world takes its cue from him. He forgets that he stands at the epicenter of power, not on the fringes campaigning for office. This ain't Iowa.
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