The Associated Press reports that president-elect Obama’s proposed economic policies caused the stock market to close higher on Monday. But do the authors, Joel Bel Bruno and Tim Paradis, give any evidence for this causal relationship, or do they just assert it? Here’s how the article starts:
A stock market gaining in confidence shot higher for a second straight session Monday as investors bet that President-elect Barack Obama’s plans to increase infrastructure spending will help lift the economy back to health. The major market indexes jumped more than 3 percent, and the Dow Jones industrials’ nearly 300 point advance gave the blue chips their highest close in a month.
Obama’s plan calls for the largest U.S. public works spending program since the creation of the interstate highway system a half-century ago. That could bolster the economy by putting thousands of people to work building schools and other construction projects.
His weekend announcement gave a lift to a range of companies, from machinery makers to materials producers. Alcoa Inc., the world’s third-largest aluminum producer, surged 18 percent on the news; while heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. jumped 11 percent.
From what I can tell, the only support for the claim is a quote by someone in the financial sector:
I think people recognize that the government is going to throw everything that they can at this market, everything they can at the economy to make it work,” said James Cox, managing partner at Harris Financial Group.
This says nothing. Where’s the evidence that Obama’s “weekend announcement gave a lift to a range of companies”? I am not saying that it did not, but where’s the evidence? Did they do a survey of people who bought stock today? Did they collect any information?
Worse, the AP story says Obama’s policies “could bolster the economy.” But what about mentioning the possible negative results of Obama’s policies, as the New York Times mentions? (For more on this, see here.)
Even when a survey of journalists shows that they do lean left relative to the rest of the country, this is no excuse for not substantiating claims.
On a lighter note, check out this screenshot from Yahoo!, which shows an image of pork next to the article about Obama’s proposal economic policies.