The passage of health-care reform marks the transition of the United States from a capitalist to a socialist economy, and is destined to hasten the financial collapse of this once proud and great nation.
Or so the rhetoric on the right would describe it. It is “Armageddon” and will “ruin our country,” as House Minority Leader John Boehner has claimed.
Yet as we all know, talk is cheap. What is the verdict of those with real skin in the game, those who have invested vast amounts of money in the previously capitalistic system and are about to see those fortunes, along with economic liberty, snatched away from them by government? These are the people most sensitive to change, the students of the game who will suddenly shift billions of dollars from one place to another in response to the slightest hint of change in the economic winds.
How have they responded to the onslaught of Armageddon and the abandonment of capitalist principles?
Last Friday, the Dow closed at 10,741. Health-insurance reform became political reality over the weekend, and yesterday the the Dow closed at 10,837, a gain of almost 100 points. The Wall Street Journal reports that stock futures are up this morning as well.
In fact, the Dow charts tell an interesting tale. On Jan. 20, the day we all woke up to find that Scott Brown had won the special election in Massachusetts and that health-insurance reform was seemingly doomed, the Dow began an 800-point decline. It began to recover in early February, about the time that the Obama administration renewed its push for reform, and since then it has risen almost 1,000 points.
I’m not for a minute linking that rise to the improved prospects for health reform. An awful lot of things have been going in the global economy, and it would be foolish to attribute a 10 percent market rise to what is in truth one relatively minor factor among many.
Instead, it is enough to point out that those with fortunes on the line, those trained to be exquisitely sensitive to economic trends, apparently believe that the foundations of American capitalism and finance remain solid.
Money talks, bull-oney walks.