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When the President Says 'Don't Panic'...Watch Out!

Animal House
Source: Universal Pictures
Animal House

Maybe I'm just not enough of a patriot.

I really want to believe the President when it says that "our task is to not panic."

But just the fact that he is saying it makes me worry. Presidential warnings about market sentiments are almost always a contrary indicator. If the president says don't panic, it's probably time to panic.

Here's the Associated Press report:

At a time of high public concern about the economy, discouraging data can make people wonder, "Well, are we going to go back to this terrible crisis?" Obama said. "And that affects consumer confidence, and it affects business confidence, it affects the capital market. And so our task is to not panic."

The president is following a time-honored tradition of trying to talk the markets away from the cliff. But that time honored tradition is usually followed by the economy going off the cliff. We can go all the way back to FDR's first inaugural, when Americans were told that the only thing they had to fear was "fear itself." What followed was a decade of economic depression.

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