Monday, December 1, 2008

The Star Power Economy

Barack Obama has not yet been sworn in as President, but he has already had a positive impact on the economy. Right after he won the election, newspapers issued commemorative sections, and those sections plus the banner headline editions as Obama declared victory sold out quickly. The newspapers printed additional commemorative runs of the special papers and sold more copies than they had in years. Newspapers qualify as collectible pieces of history, but Internet printouts don't. Commemorative coins, newspaper headline collages, Obama plates and pottery are all big sellers and future eBay features. All of the money being spent on trips to Washington for the inauguration plus housing, meals, and purchases while there are going to be just as significant for the economy as Christmas shopping. I doubt that people will be as enthusiastic about saving souvenirs of the new cabinet appointees, but if they at least think that these people have the qualifications to make a difference, they also will have fan clubs that will help us to turn the psychology of the markets around. Negative thinking is a self-fulfilling prophecy, but get enough positive "vibes" going, and the economic outlook can be self-fulfilling in a positive direction - at least until the new administration is actually installed and starts to be judged by its accomplishments and not by its star power.

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