Will History Repeat Itself ?

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Here is an interesting article regarding some of the eerie similarities between the politics / stock market back in 1937 and the politics / current stock market of 2010. Don Luskin, the column writer is a frequent guest and contributor on CNBC’s Kudlow Report. If he is correct and history does repeat itself then we may be looking at a BIG drop in the stock market some time in the near future.

I think that Peter Orszag’s (Obama’s Former Head of the Office of Management and Budget) approach that he outlines in his op ed piece a few weeks ago in the New York Times is the most appropriate way to handle the Bush tax cuts. 

Having recently read a book on Hebert Hoover and the Great Depression, I am reminded that one of Hoover’s biggest mistakes was worrying to much about the deficit / debt and raising taxes when he shouldn’t have. I hope President Obama doesn’t make the same mistake.

I caught Peter Orszag’s interview with Charlie Rose www.charlierose.com awhile back and he talked about some troublesome issues which are coming our country’s way as early as 2015. He touches on it briefly in his op ed where he says that the only way out of this mess is for us to raise taxes sometime in the near future. I can already hear the Republican’s screaming that President Obama is a “Tax and Spend Liberal” if the economy does recover in a couple of years and he decides to tackle the deficit. 

Being a recent retiree it looks as though the first few years of my retirement are going to be anything but a smooth ride, more like one of the old wooden rollercoasters that Bob calls a headbanger – hold on tight !

Non-Journalism

Today still more members of the news media — in this case, Reuters and CNBC — fell for a hoax.  On the basis of a dubious press release, they reported that the Chamber of Commerce had changed its position on climate change legislation.  CNBC read the fake press release on the air, and Reuters reported it, in an article that was then picked up by the New York Times and the Washington Post.

I was struck by the explanation of the Reuters spokesman quoted in the linked article.  The spokesman is quoted as saying:  “Reuters has an obligation to its clients to publish news and information that could move financial markets, and this story had the potential to do that.”  My old professor at the Ohio State University School of Journalism, Marty Brian, must be rolling in her grave at that one!  Consider that the quote from the Reuters spokesman equates an admitted hoax with “news and information” and suggests that Reuters’ paramount obligation is to publish whatever comes its way, without doing anything to determine its veracity first.  That concept is antithetical to true professional journalism, which values accuracy above speed and insists upon sourcing and careful fact-checking — particularly of a story that reports that a vocal opponent of legislation has abruptly and inexplicably changed its position.  Doesn’t anyone at CNBC and Reuters have a reporter’s gut instinct, or at least a willingness to take a moment to check the Chamber of Commerce website to see if the press release even is posted there?

Normally I would decry the efforts of the hoaxers, but I have come to believe that they probably are performing a salutary function for the world at large.  Why attach credibility to what you read from the news media if they don’t even bother to check press releases before publishing them?