Looking at the Dow Jones Industrial Average to explain anything is almost never a good idea.
There are plenty of thoughtful pieces–Drew Westen's in the New York Times over the weekend being the most recent one–that try to figure out what's going on with Barack Obama. Then there's Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen today (8/9/11), who begins by retelling a story about FDR: In her autobiography, Helen Gahagan Douglas recalled telling President Franklin D. Roosevelt about her visits to the camps of migrant workers. She was especially poignant about the children and their lack of Christmas toys when the president tried to stop her. "Don't tell me any more, Helen," FDR told the woman who is […]
Today's lead New York Times story (2/1/09)–subheaded in the print edition "Scant Details, and Wall Street Reacts With a 4.6 Percent Plunge"–is a classic example of the fallacy of treating stock market prices as a kind of opinion poll. Reporters Stephen Labaton and Edmund L. Andrews wrote: "The initial assessment of the plan from the markets, lawmakers and economists was brutally negative, in large part because they expected more details." Presumably the reporters talked to lawmakers and economists and got their responses directly. But when one is talking about the reaction of the market, one can only look at the […]