The Media's Favorite 'Untouchable'

I learned from the news Tuesday that the stock market went down 64 points for exactly one reason: some fools in Congress have dared to question the Lord Obama’s perfect $1 trillion “stimulus” plan.

This new and improved stimulus is not be confused with the previous $1 trillion bailout from just a few weeks ago, or the $151 billion stimulus checks from a few months before that, or even the $45 billion bailout of auto makers that came in between, or especially the regular federal spending for the year of a whopping $3 trillion. No, this is a new plan to borrow and spend money on a gargantuan scale, and one that will somehow work better than all those others because the man in the White House now “cares” about us peons.

Unfortunately for the people selling this snake oil, someone noticed at some point that the “new” stimulus was really just a collection of stale old pork barrel pet projects that had been relabeled as a carefully considered plan. And opposition to it as nothing but a historic waste of money began to grow. Such obvious interference with supreme wisdom then, apparently, caused everyone who owns stocks (all of whom believe that the plan is just great) to run out and sell stocks randomly in a tantrum. At least that is what the media would have you believe.

“Just give Obama his next trillion and no one gets hurt.” (Wasn’t that from a scene in that movie about Chicago titled, The Untouchables?) Obstruct his masterstroke over little concerns like “we don’t have any money left” or “this won’t really help” and unspecified bad things will happen to us all. This technique of threatening people with a message of doom in the background noise reminds me of a minute detail from the expensive over-education my parents bought me.

The ancient Romans, having not yet been cursed by television commentary, had a foolproof system for determining the will of the Gods: a special authority (known as a Heruspex, if you care) would kill a chicken and stare at its liver. From the appearance of the liver, major geopolitical pronouncements could be discerned, but only by the Heruspex, who owed his position in society to the leaders of Rome.

Strangely, the message of the Heruspex often boiled down to “Do what the leader wants!” If this incredible advice was not followed carefully, all sorts of malevolence might then befall the fools who didn’t do as they were told. Why, Heaven might just rip the whole civilization off its foundations and hurl it into some sort eternal “downturn.”

Now, of course, we have a much better system, in which a special authority (called a journalist, if you care) stares at mysterious things like stock market fluctuations and tells us, definitively, why it did what it did on a minute-by-minute basis and what we must do to stop it from becoming any worse.

Take a moment to consider how truly incredible this is. The stock markets are made up of thousands of companies, traded by millions of people in dozens of countries who decide to buy or sell for reasons as disparate as:

  1. A careful multivariate analysis of Chinese coal usage vs. the Baltic Dry Index
  2. Man! That one’s going up (or down)!
  3. Pick out any engagement ring you like, Honey.
  4. Look, the symbol spells my name!

Yet out of all this, repeated about one billion times a day, some people claim to understand the inner meaning of the net 0.1% move one way or the other. It’s not impossible, of course. Sometimes the reason for a move is obvious, such as the huge decline when the markets reopened after September 11. But such times are rare. Trying to attribute a few hours of movement to a particular reason is usually just stupid.

But no one ever got paid to say “Photcom declined 3% in late afternoon selling today for, uh…. I dunno.” So instead, making up plausible reasons became a staple in the business press. “Photcom declined 3% in late afternoon selling today in an apparent profit taking dip.” Such nonsense was bad enough when contained only to CNBC and the Nightly Business Report. But then the television Obamabots got involved back in October and began issuing explanations for every market move up or down, all of which fell into two molds:

  1. The market rose a billion points this morning because people were just so happy/confident/reassured that Obama would be elected/get his Treasury Secretary/ pass his Spendulus Bill.
  2. The market declined a zillion points this afternoon as people became worried/panicked/desperate that Obama might not be elected fast enough/ get his Treasury Secretary/ win his Spendulus Bill.

The market can move up and down over the same range 3 times in 4 slow news days and yet someone in the press knows exactly what pro-Obama message the markets really meant each time.

I’m done fighting this crap. I am now just going to pull an Obama and use it to justify everything I want. Unless I get my way, with no questions asked, there could be serious metaphysical consequences.

Look! The market declined 64 points today after I failed to receive a needed back rub. The markets then rose in after-hours trading on hopes that I might receive said back rub.Markets will be unsteady tomorrow until I know whether or not anyone cuts me off in traffic. Now is not the time to risk cutting me off, especially as the markets are still recovering from their frightening 5% decline a few days ago that resulted from investor panic over a speeding ticket I received from a uniformed opponent of speedy “change.”

Every reader must contribute a dollar to my auto bailout fund (I need a new car) or our fragile way of life could be destroyed forever. Oh No! The Nikkei is declining in morning trading. I warned you people! Send me those dollars.