The Confidence Fairy casts a black spell

The New York Times reports that:

Stocks around the world fell sharply Thursday on intensifying investor fears about a slowdown in global economic growth and worries about Europe’s ongoing debt crisis, which is centered now on Italy and Spain.

Stock market indexes in the United States and Europe dropped more than 4 percent as Japan intervened to weaken its currency and the European Central Bank began buying bonds to try to calm markets.

At the close, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was down 60.27 points, or 4.78 percent, to 1,200.07. The Dow Jones industrial average was off 512.76 points, or 4.31 percent, to 11,383.68, and the Nasdaq was down 136.68, or 5.08 percent, to 2,556.39.

It was the biggest percentage drop since February 2009.

Why would anyone blame the Confidence Fairy?

A fear haunting markets is that the United States economy may be heading for a double-dip recession. And even after a second major rescue package for Greece and the agreement to raise the debt ceiling in the United States, investors are concerned that world leaders have not done enough to address fragile underlying economic growth, while Europe’s debt problems have moved on to the much bigger economies of Italy and Spain.

I cannot imagine why anyone would fear another recession when the United States avoided disaster by opting for a long-term austerity program. Did not America’s President assure his subjects and the world that the austerity measures were needed so that he could then take to the stump for his job creation initiative? Why does the world not find this reassuring?

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