The Dow's Record High Proves Obama Is Great, or Else Totally Full of It

How they're spinning the best close in market history


As the great Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously pointed out, everyone's entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts. So, here's a fact: The Dow Jones Industrials Average reached a record high today, closing at 14199.40.

Now the opinions. As our colleagues at Quartz have pointed out, this tells us remarkably little about the economy -- even as the stock market has recovered spectacularly from the 2008 crash, household income is at a record low and the economy is growing painfully slowly. 

That won't stop partisans from using it to score points, though! ThinkProgress takes the opportunity to (justifiably) mock the business whizzes at CNBC and Fox Business for predicting that an Obama presidency would tank markets:

Echoing a Romney campaign talking point, a chief economist at Gluskin Sheff praised Romney on CNBC as "a candidate that could more readily come to a compromise with the opposition" over the fiscal cliff deal, and would be "overall better" for the markets ....

Fox Business seized on market gains the day after Romney's first debate performance as evidence that the stock market was rooting for a Romney win. After Election Day, the network lamented that Obama's win caused a market dip, which was actually a reaction to bad economic news from Europe and the impending fiscal cliff fight in still-gridlocked Congress.

Meanwhile, Glenn Beck's site The Blaze suggests the whole thing proves that President Obama was misleading Americans when he warned about the dangers of automatic spending cuts:

Sequester, Week 1: It's grim out there. Airport delays have become intolerable, hundreds of teachers have already been laid off, markets are tumbling -- okay, just kidding. None of this is true.

In fact, the Dow Industrial on Tuesday set a new record, breaking both the closing and intraday peaks reached in 2007 .... Heck, maybe we should do this ​every ​year!

This is actually an intriguing angle. It's safe to say that large, arbitrary cuts to federal spending every year aren't smart economics or good policy, but the markets don't seem spooked by the dire predictions the White House -- including Obama himself, during a press conference on Friday -- made. Whether business will sour on the cuts as they slowly phase in remains to be seen, but that's a blow to administration messaging for the time being.

In any case, Business Insider's Brett LoGiurato has, it seems, the most obvious political interpretation of today's market news.

Presented by

David A. Graham is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Politics Channel. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

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