30 July 2011

Washington insiders hoping for bad news

John Carney at CNBC reports that a "Washington insider" has been hoping for panic and bad news in the markets, so that the parties in Congress might be spooked into making a deal. Just like back in 2008:

He's still holding out hope for a panic sell-off at the end of the day.
"It's the only thing that's going to bring everyone together on this," he said.
Holding out hope for bad news - that's all you need to know about Washington insiders and people who push for deals and compromises. They think they know better than you, than me, than all of Wall Street. They've been screaming "panic!" for weeks now, yet nobody is running through the streets.

But they also have faulty memories of 2008. When the House of Representatives rejected the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008" on September 29th, the market did indeed stumble, losing 775 points that day. But here is the rest of the story:

Leading up to the first vote, we were told repeatedly that this bill not only had to pass, but had to pass that very day or it would trigger a worldwide financial meltdown and Great Depression 2. Yet, despite the bill's failure, the sun rose on September 30th, there was no worldwide crash, and the Dow recovered almost all of the previous day's loss. (Hourly tracking of the market would in fact show that most of the losses occurred prior to the vote, whose outcome was not certain.)

It wasn't until the series of votes from October 1-3, reviving and passing the bill, that the market would truly crash, losing over 2300 points in a week. That's right - the big crash did not occur when the bill was rejected, it occurred when the bill passed.

In retrospect, nothing good came from that bailout. The Washington experts were wrong. Big surprise.

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