The headline on this article in today’s Washington Post says it all: “Senate leaders’ talks on shutdown, debt limit stall as sides await market’s reaction”. Apparently, the leaders in Congress are waiting to see what happens to the stock market today to see if there is a crisis that will force them to act.
It is as if the Dow Jones is some kind of thermometer that measures the strength of a fever and if today it should rise or any changes that do occur are relatively modest, then there is no urgency to solve the problem. If it crashes, then there is cause for action. The way people talk of ‘the market’ reverentially, as if it some kind of living thing whose mood must be gauged to tell us the state of the economy, is something to behold
Never mind that people are hurting because they are not being paid, basic services are not being provided, and the world’s biggest economy grinds to a halt. If stock prices stay up, then it is still party time for the people who really matter, the wealthy.
A steep decline in the stock market is not a good thing in general, because many people’s retirement accounts are invested in it and a stock market crash could cause a major hit on their savings. So it is really odd that this is being looked for in order to get anything done. It looks like the US has forgotten how to run the government in an orderly fashion and needs crises to act.
As of the time of this posting (about 11:45 am Eastern time in the US), the market had declined slightly by about 0.2%. Is that good? Bad? It seems to me to be neither but what do I know?