John Ransom

First let me say that any business editor who uses the word “awesome” to describe a financial chart with GDP numbers and stock market returns sorted by presidency ought to be banished to the 1990s, constrained to a geographic area, like, not to exceed the political boundaries of the San Fernando Valley.

At the very least he should be forced to take a starter course in Microsoft Excel- for all eternity. 

Awesome should be reserved for things that are, well, awesome: the face of God, the initial bombing campaign against Saddam Hussein, the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series.  

The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson, the awesome senior business editor extraordinaire- as long as we are using clichés, let’s go for it- makes the case in The Obama Record: It Was the Best of Terms, It Was the Worst of Terms that economically Obama matches up with the best of presidents because the stock market has gone from 6,000 to 13,000 while he was in the Oval Office.

And, yes, Thompson uses the word "awesome." He also uses other overwrought words and phrases like when he describes Obama’s economic record as “bi-polar”- meaning “good”-  and he asserts that “energy and multinational companies have led a stock boom that rivals the Dot-Com bubble.”

Boy, and here I didn’t know the Dot Com bubble was such a great thing. 

After reading Thompson’s exclamation points to Obama (!!!), I wonder, first of all, how Thompson didn’t hyperventilate while writing it. You can almost feel Chris Matthews’ Obama-induced chill run up Thompson’s leg as he penned this love letter.

The market, ahem, was at 9,300 when Obama was elected. It was at 8,600 the week he was inaugurated and reached prices we hadn’t seen since 1996 under Obama. And it still hasn’t reached the Bush-era high of 14,000 if that’s the measure of a president. Which it isn’t.  

Getting past the fallacy of the stock market “boom”- the current S&P P/E ratio is 23.62 versus its high of 44.20 before the Dot Com boom went bust- using stock market returns as a bolster for Obama’s candidacy is the economic equivalent of Obama heading down to Cushman, OK and saying “Drill, baby, drill,” just as he did last week.

Politically, the left, as represented by Thompson, Obama, Ezra Klein, et al. isn’t just wrong, they are in the process of declaring moral bankruptcy, just as I said last week during Obama’s Keystone photo-op.

John Ransom

John Ransom’s writings on politics and finance have appeared in the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Colorado Statesman, Pajamas Media and Registered Rep Magazine amongst others. Until 9/11, Ransom worked primarily in finance as an investment executive for NYSE member firm Raymond James and Associates, JW Charles and as a new business development executive at Mutual Service Corporation. He lives in San Diego. You can follow him on twitter @bamransom.

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