Compared to all the contortions through which the media have gone through to slap that uppity woman from Alaska, this latest one deserves the gold medal:
That the recent market drop was caused by Sarah Palin.
The ever-entertaining Quentin Hardy of Forbes Magazine advanced this argument to the viewers of CNBC's Kudlow & Company on Friday night. Markets, he told us, were selling off because of Palin. Even the lovable Quentin couldn't come up with this one on his own: he got it from John Tamny, the editor of RealClearMarkets.(Markets Boo McCain's VP Choice).
According to Tamny the Palin choice decreased the probability of a McCain victory and increased the probability of a win by the anti-growth party. The problem is that the polls have been rapidly closing since the announcement and the purest form of probability measurement, the Intrade prediction markets, show very dramatic improvements of McCain's chances.
That's not the worst of Tamny's arguments. He also points the finger at Mr. Palin's union background. Huh? Cheney was a union member, is he anti-growth?
Reagan wasn't just a member of the union, he was a president of one. Does the gipper pass economic muster? The fact pattern is wrong anyway, Palin's in management now. What's anti-growth about a union laborer moving up as a small business owner and then corporate management? One can almost feel the joints pop at John's incredible stretch of a case.
Or how about his one: Palin stood up to oil companies means that she's anti-growth. Every time I've fought some subsidy-seeking, influence-purchasing monopolist, I've heard that one. When I was working to deregulate Pennsylvania's electricity market, some Republicans told me that we should be 'pro-business' which means we should shield utility monopolies from competition. We didn't shield them, and the market worked beautifully.
I've seen this from the inside of municipal government, as lobbyists tried to spin no-bid contracts to political contributors as being pro-business.
Palin said drill, drill, drill, and she used market competition (not a campaign donors list) to do it. This is pro-growth.
Now, how to get Bristol into all this...ah, here we have it. The decision to 'let' this young woman keep her baby and to marry a man who uses cuss words on his My Space page, calls into question her 'judgment'. I can just see the opposition ads "If Sarah Palin was wrong about her SON-IN-LAW, what else will she be wrong about: Iraq, Iran (cue morphing) or Osama Bin Laden?"
This is pretty low stuff. This family deserves support, not ludicrous scapegoating. A newlywed 18-year-old with a little baby isn't the end of the world. If it was good enough for my mom, it's good enough for me, and I presume, good enough for the stock market.
Mr. Tamny, there are better places to fish for explanations of the recent downturn in the market.
Jerry Bowyer is chief economist at Benchmark Financial Network, is a member of the Kudlow Caucus, and makes regular appearances on CNBC. He also writes extensively on finance and history for the National Review, The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Crosswalk.com, and The New York Sun. He can be emailed at email@example.com.