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“The Only Thing We Have Is Fear Itself”

Thursday, September 18, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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Barack’s address to the beautiful people of Hollywood –transcribed below– should give even the most ardent Obamian pause. It is an incoherent ramble through a series of cliches, delivered to an audience of $28,500-a-plate swells. Continuing his “verge of the Great Depression” rift, Obama portrays an America that lacks only Seabiscuit and Jim Braddock. Taking their cues from their hapless nominee, Harry Reid breathlessly told reporters yesterday breathlessly that “No one knows what to do,” and Nancy Pelosi pushed a sham energy bill through the House in an attempt to cover two years of inaction that led to $140-a-barrel oil.

Welcome to the Democrats, 2008: Lots of hysterical talk uncoupled to any action in the Congress they control, void of specifics about the future and smothered in fear. “Vote for us,” is the summary, “even though we don’t know what to do generally and won’t do what must be done when it comes to drilling.”

The Dems are acting as though a financial crisis is a cue to send in the community organizer with zero management experience outside of the massive failure that was the Annenberg Challenge.

A sinking Obama campaign has grabbed on to Wall Streets woes as a way of reinvigorating a tired brand propped up by increasingly silly rhetoric. But going Chicken Little is hardly the way to inspire confidence in the voters. Buried deep in the WSJ.com’s account of the financial crisis are these graphs:

One pleasant mystery is why the crisis hasn’t hit the economy harder — at least so far. “This financial crisis hasn’t yet translated into fewer…companies starting up, less research and development, less marketing,” Ivan Seidenberg, chief executive of Verizon Communications, said Wednesday. “We haven’t seen that yet. I’m sure every company is keeping their eyes on it.”

At 6.1%, the unemployment rate remains well below the peak of 7.8% in 1992, amid the S&L crisis.

In part, that’s because government has reacted aggressively. The Fed’s classic mistake that led to the Great Depression was that it tightened monetary policy when it should have eased. Mr. Bernanke didn’t repeat that error. And Congress moved more swiftly to approve fiscal stimulus than most Washington veterans thought possible.

In part, the broader economy has held mostly steady because exports have been so strong at just the right moment, a reminder of the global economy’s importance to the U.S. And in part, it’s because the U.S. economy is demonstrating impressive resilience, as information technology allows executives to react more quickly to emerging problems and — to the discomfort of workers — companies are quicker to adjust wages, hiring and work hours when the economy softens.

European stocks closed higher, and futures are up. More bank consolidations are on the horizon and no doubt more very bad days for some stocks and general misery for the indexes are ahead, but oil is far off its highs and could be driven even lower with a serious commitment to exploration. Growth is slow but there hasn’t been one negative quarter yet, much less two. The economy is growing, though slightly. And the McCain-Palin ticket is committed to a growth agenda and new energy supplies to fuel it.

On the down side, we do have an easily panicked Democratic nominee and a do-nothing Pelosi-Reid Congress held in the grip of special interests from environmental extremists to trial lawyers. Investors won’t get their confidence back until they realize that the threat of a spasm of European-style socialism has passed with the defeat of Obama-whats-his-name.

You can’t blame investors who are eyeing oversold stocks for parking their money anywhere but corporate America with the prospect of Obama-Pelosi-Reid and their agenda of massive tax hikes and huge new spending programs in the offing. Read the, er, “speech” below and you’ll figure out why serious investors have to be concerned. The barely disguised radicalism of Obamanomics is part of the market melt-down, and Obama’s gig fade will be part of its recovery.

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