After the fifth consecutive down day for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commentators from unexpected corners of the political spectrum are starting to scratch their heads over the Obama’s administration economic policy responses.
Take, for example, former Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., D-Tenn., now a commentator for arguably the most politically left-of-center network, MSNBC. On the network’s March 3 airing of “Hardball,” Ford said it’s time for the Obama administration to get its act together. He said the analogy President Barack Obama and his press secretary Robert Gibbs used – that following the stock market was akin to following a tracking poll – was flawed.
“As one who’s had to follow tracking polls, I can tell you, there is a difference,” Ford said. “I understand where the president is going and trying to achieve with the comment. But when you have gyrations in a tracking poll, people are not losing vast amounts of wealth, which we see in the stock market day in and day out. As Jim knows, I happen to agree with Cramer’s points – his larger thrust, the point he’s trying to make to this administration.”
Ford was appearing on “Hardball” with CNBC’s Jim Cramer, who caused a stir on his March 2 “Mad Money” program. Cramer noted that since Obama took office on Jan. 20, the Dow has lost more than 1,000 points, and he pleaded with the administration to take note of the possibility a lack of direction might have something to do with it.
Ford said the policy drift is unsustainable, and advised the 44th president to put a set of rules in place, as his Treasury Secretary failed to do on Feb. 10, causing the Dow to drop nearly 400 points.
“If I were giving him advice tonight – they need to be assertive, forceful. They need to lay out a set of rules and follow through on the rules and give investors and the market a clear sense of how we will go about dealing with this deflationary psychology when it comes to home ownership in this country. What are you going to do with the trillion dollars of bad assets that these banks have on the books? If you lay out the rules, investors and market players and risk takers – they know how to get us out of the mess and take the right kind of risk.
“But if you continue to change as some suggest that this White House is doing, we’ll continue to face the kind of strife and the kind of stress – the unbelievable stress we’re seeing in the markets day in and day out,” Ford said.
“[B]ut in the interim, there has to be a sense of certainty, as Jim has said,” Ford added. “And if you don’t give the markets, you don’t give investors and most importantly everyday workers in this country a sense that we’re finding our way out of this, we’re navigating out of this, people won’t spend. People going to be concerned – they won’t buy homes, they won’t buy cars, they won’t do the things that will get this economy moving in the right direction again.”