he Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 12,000 for the first time since June 2008, just hours after President Obama delivered a State of the Union address that Huffington Post political editor Howard Fineman calls "the most pro-business speech a Democrat has given, since, well, that a Democrat has given." Obama called for lower corporate tax rates and ditching unnecessary regulation, and proposed unspecific steps to lower the deficit. Did Obama's speech nudge the Dow above the psychologically important 12,000 threshold? (Watch a Bloomberg discussion about the Dow's rise)
Obama's speech helped: The stock market certainly "seemed to enjoy the State of the Union address," says Sean Gregory in Time. But Obama's optimistic "pep talk" and "chatter about lower corporate tax rates" aren't the only factor in the Dow's "remarkable" bounce. Some "hard-core data," like good housing news, did as much or more to "put the market in a good mood," and the Fed's "monetary stimulus" is probably "inflating the good vibe."
"Dow 12,000: A welcome milestone"
And he deserves credit for more than this speech: "For those of you keeping score at home, the Dow closed at 7,949 on Bush's last day in office," says Jed Lewison in Daily Kos. That means between Obama's inauguration and second State of the Union, the Dow has jumped 50 percent. If conservatives blamed the president's "socialism run amok" for the Dow's lows in his first two months in office, it's only fair to credit this same "liberal thugism" for where the market is now.
"Dow at 12,000: Obama must really be a socialist now"
But a pep talk won't solve our "grim" problems: Capitalism is a fickle mistress, says Megan McArdle in The Atlantic. Obama spent about an hour "kind of noting, offhand, that we might have a problem" in our projected $1.5 trillion deficit, but "studiously" avoided "any serious solutions." That won't cut it. Dow 12,000 is great for now, but "the market is fully prepared to serve as judge, jury, and executioner if we don't straighten up soon."
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