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Nov 5, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Wall Street’s tears are annoying me

I was watching a discussion on CNBC this morning about why the private sector in the US remains so weak. The ubiquitous talking point is that the Obama administration is creating “uncertainty in the markets.” The private sector is thus a victim of the Obama administration’s weak management of the economy. If this argument is true, then data on economic competitiveness ought to show that the US in an uncompetitive economy. Not surprisingly, the data do not support the argument that the government is strangling the private sector in the US. According to the World Economic Forum, the US is the fourth most competitive economy in the world and according to the World Bank, the US is the fifth easiest country in the world for doing business.

Why the brains at CNBC have never thought to question whether the bellyaching from Wall Street is true or not I can’t say. Nor do I have any insight as to why companies that complain about uncertainty in the US have no problems doing business in countries with much more uncertainty, such as China, Nigeria, and Mexico. What I can say is that it’s nauseating to watch commercials on CNBC that celebrate the intrepid private sector in the US and watch these same corporations whine about how the government isn’t coddling them enough in interviews on that same station. Maybe if these folks spent less time moaning about their victimhood and more time innovating the economy would be in better shape.

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2 Comments

  • Agreed, but I’d argue that the picture being painted by CBS and other media outlets is an intentional one. I know I tend to be a cynic when it comes to economics but I think that generally the lack of understanding most of the populace has of this stuff is consciously taken advantage of by our media in hopes of advancing policy change or public outrage. What I find disappointing is how rarely these sorts of claims are contested, I mean it seems almost status quo lately that regulation and government policy is at the core of our economic trouble.

  • I was being a bit polemical when I wrote that I don’t know why the folks on CNBC are crying so much. I think I’m more cynical than you. I suspect the reason they are doing this is because they would rather have economic regulation that guarantees them profits than one that promotes a more competitive private sector. Their goal, I suspect, is political protection, period.

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