Hot Links will not be seen today so that I may make the following Act of Contrition (my other daily linkfest is live at WSJ here)…
This week I committed a handful of violations against the 10 Commandments of the Financial Web. Although we all learned these rules when they were brought down on stone tablets from the Yahoo Message Board mountaintop in the late 1990’s, sometimes they fade a bit from memory.
And so it was completely innocently and absentmindedly that I violated the Sixth Commandment and for this I am truly sorry.
My apology below…
The 6th Commandment of the Financial Web: Thou Shalt Not Say Anything Neutral About Barack Obama
My commentary about Steve Wynn’s anti-Obama rant on Yahoo Finance earned me several threats and a whole lotta comment section enmity from folks I’m guessing tend to mix up their political views with their investment portfolios. While I can’t help everyone, I suppose the least I can do is clarify what I had tried to get across:
1. Steve Wynn is a brilliant businessman who has built billions in shareholder wealth and employs thousands of people.
2. Steve Wynn let loose with a data-free tirade that, although I thought was kind of cool, wasn’t exactly long on empirical detail.
3. The reality is that Obama could ride a tricycle down the Vegas Strip with his hair on fire charging Red Stater’s a hundred grand each to light it and he still couldn’t fix the jobs or housing situation with the proceeds. Because he doesn’t have a way to make people cheaper than technology and the demand just hasn’t arrived yet as we work off historic credit bubble excesses and economy-sapping debt.
4. And for the edification of the Yahoo Intelligentsia who lie in wait for anyone to express an opinion contrary to their own, I am actually a registered Republican and was living and working in Manhattan the day of the 9/11 attack and in its aftermath. I brought food to the firefighters, attended the services of those who died, stepped over the debris each day, traipsed through “targeted” landmarks like Grand Central Terminal and Times Square and existed beneath that black carcinogenic cloud for a month – literally breathing the devastation while you yelled at your TV sets. I voted for Bush twice and then McCain. Even though both turned out to have been clueless about the economy. There are several commentators on that board who are convinced that Daily Ticker is a tool of the administration and that I myself have been paid by the Democrats to say the economy isn’t Obama’s fault. To them I ask, How is the weather on the planet you live on these days?
5. As for Obama being a “wet blanket” on business, we agree and I think he’s an awful leader. Where we disagree is on whether or not he can really do anything about long-term mean reversion trends and the post-credit bubble economics that Reinhardt and Rogoff predicted with such alacrity. It is what it is, but if it makes you feel better to have Obama to blame, be my guest. Just know that he was clerking for a Senator somewhere when your ideological heroes were busy repealing Glass Steagall and literally chainsawing the rule books that protected us from bankers for 70 years. George W. Bush was billed as “the most business-friendly President in History.” How’d that work out for you?
Anyway, I realize that my explanation doesn’t excuse my having had a neutral opinion on Barack Obama so let me just say that I am truly sorry. I will be sure never to mention the president’s name again without also blaming him for everything that’s gone wrong with your lives.