Dow Jones plunges 512 points; but don't worry, President Obama's birthday parties unaffected
Uh, what in the world is going on here?
That humongous hard-fought debt ceiling deal that was supposed to settle things down in D.C. financially and politically seems to be doing precisely the opposite there and now around the world. And all within 48 hours.
Europe isn't buying the deal.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged almost 513 points today, erasing all of its gains this year, as fears grew of yet another recession before most people believed the first one was over. This White House returned to SOP immediately anyway. And George W. Bush is nowhere in sight to blame for this one.
Could Texas Rep. Ron Paul be right again? He said: "You don’t get out of the problem of having too much debt by allowing Congress to spend a lot more."
Former GOP Sen. Alan Simpson, who served on Obama's deficit commission, explained the financial battering of the U.S. as similar to crises in Portugal, Greece, Ireland, Spain and Italy.
"It is a global, global economy," he said to Neil Cavuto on the Fox News Channel. "It is so different from anything we have ever had in our whole history, and all of these countries have this trajectory of deficit and interest which is unconscionable and unsustainable."
Here's what the world was witnessing as it hoped to see this country start controlling its craving for fiscal cheeseburgers and fries for every meal:
Obama was so pleased with the bipartisan deal to control spending and cut the nation's $14.3 trillion national debt that he signed it in private. Within hours he was talking about spending much more on bridges, roads, clean energy and unemployment extensions.
Despite his sagging poll numbers, Obama then resumed fundraising for his reelection. He flew to Chicago for a $35,800-per-plate dinner that raised millions. He gave a 22-minute oration that still blamed what's-his-face the Texas guy from nearly three years ago, did not contain the word retrenchment and was widely applauded by Windy City fans.
Dick Durbin, another Illinois Democrat and the Senate's No. 2 ruling leader, said he's not giving up the fight for new taxes for government to spend. He wants on the new super Congress panel.
Vice President Joe Biden was out of public sight back at his Delaware home for a couple of days.
Obama's Press Secretary Jay Carney was pummeled today with questions on exactly what the president was doing to stop rising unemployment, restore consumer confidence and take control of what appears a chaotic Washington scene. Here's his reply;
"He is working very closely with his senior economic advisers to come up with new proposals to help advance growth and job creation."
Which, actually, is what many people thought the president had been doing all along during these 926 days of his presidency. To little economic effect, so far.
Carney also said Obama has planned several trips to talk with Americans about things. Sites include northern Virginia, the Midwest for a three-day bus tour and Michigan next week to talk about clean energy again.
The stock market plunge, however, was not expected to affect the White House's next pair of parties, a staff gathering this afternoon and another this evening with more friends and family to celebrate the aging Obama's well-documented birth a half-century ago today.
To help mark the happy occasion Michelle Obama sent out an email to millions of her husband's supporters. She didn't directly ask for money or mention the nation's ongoing financial troubles. She asked instead for people to sign an e-book of birthday wishes that the campaign is compiling, which will require leaving contact information.
"Every day," she said, "I see Barack make choices he knows will affect every American family. That's no small task for anyone -- and more proof that he's earning every last one of those gray hairs."
Just what every hubby wants to hear.
-- Andrew Malcolm
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Photos: Mario Tama / Getty Images (New York Stock Exchange traders react to the market's plunge on President Obama's birthday, Aug. 4); Jim Young / Reuters (happy Obama at his first 50th birthday in Chicago); Win McNamee / Getty Images (Obama's birthday celebrated with a party hat at Madame Tussaud's wax museum).