The headlines today said it all: Obama: Buy stocks now. The full statement is this:
What you’re seeing is profit and earning ratios are starting to get to the point where buying stocks is a potentially good deal if you’ve got a long-term perspective on it.
Is he out of his mind? This is perhaps the most irresponsible, dangerous statement we've heard from Obama yet. Is a man whose words can move markets actually advising people to buy stocks? He unquestionably has access to material non-public information, which would qualify as some sort of insider information (unless, like Mark Cuban, he has no fiduciary duty).
Moreover, what happens if someone invests on his advice and loses money? Is he a qualified investment advisor (qualified being an extraordinarily relative term)? Has there been any sort of "investing involves risk" disclaimer? Does he really think that the problem here is that people aren't buying enough stock? And if so, what was that $1 trillion stimulus bill -- why not just take that money and buy stocks?
Not surprisingly, the Press Secretary could not back off Obama's statement fast enough, after one reporter asked if he is becoming the "first stockbroker:"
Realizing that the president shouldn’t be giving advice to investors, [Press Secretary] Gibbs tried to laugh it off. “I will ask him if he’s got any particular tips for you,” he said. “Maybe I should have cornered him and gotten a few of my own.”
But the questions about it kept coming at Gibbs at his afternoon briefing for reporters.
“He basically said stocks look like they’re good deals,” said one journalist. “Is he encouraging people to buy stocks?”
“I will ask him,” said Gibbs.