Now that the Obama administration is attempting to take a victory lap on the U.S. economic recovery, claiming the $787-billion stimulus passed earlier this year was what did the trick, despite a cost of $160,000 per 'stimulus' job, as ABC's Jake Tapper pointed out, it has come at the cost of the U.S. dollar.
Since then, the stock market has rebounded nicely. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is off a March low of 6,547 points, even topping the 10,000-mark recently. But what has caused this nearly 50-percent jump? According to CNBC's Larry Kudlow - loose monetary policy by the Federal Reserve, with low interest rates, has made it possible for the markets to rise, with the 'loose' money going into the market.
"The funny thing is, Steven, it has gone into stocks - I mean the stock market guys ... there's no real multiplier for the economy, right?" Kudlow said on his Oct. 30 CNBC program. "But it has gone into stocks and the stock market crowd wants to see the Fed to keep pouring the money in no matter what happens to the U.S. dollar."
And CNBC's senior economics reporter Steve Liesman agreed. But he warned that if policymakers were to intervene to shore up a weakening U.S. dollar, it would send the stock market down. However, Kudlow explained that a stable dollar would put confidence back in the U.S. economy - and that it would be good for stocks in the long run, while not causing the inflationary response associated with propping up a fragile economy by devaluing the U.S. dollar.
"Rick Santelli, what Steve's got wrong is in the long run, a solid economy, a balanced economy, a non-inflationary economy with a solid dollar - doesn't have to rise, just solid, stable - would be great for stocks."
"Solid dollar, good fiscal discipline - the dollar and stocks would go up," CNBC CME floor reporter Rick Santelli said.
Liesman, who has championed these interventionist policies by the federal government, insisted that propping up the economy this way would lead to a strengthening dollar.
"You both have it backwards - a solid economy will give you a solid dollar," Liesman said.
That's smoke and mirrors, according to Santelli. The fact that the market is rising in value means little, unless an individual is actually vested in the market. There are other indicators that show the health of the U.S. economy isn't where it needs to be - unemployment approaching 10 percent and inflationary signs like the rise in the price of commodities like gold and oil.
"Exactly - and you're not going to have a solid economy without the government creating a façade through the equity markets and diluted dollars that everything is OK," Santelli said. "Because 50 percent of America, especially those that don't own stocks or are unemployed - they know what's going on."
Liesman maintained the Obama and Bush administrations' line - that under circumstances, loose monetary policy at the cost of the value of the U.S. dollar, is necessary and without it, the economy would be in much worse shape. Santelli disagreed with that argument.
"Just like if we wouldn't have had all the bailouts, we would have had a Depression," Santelli said. "I'm not buying any of it."
And it's not a matter of political affiliation, as Kudlow explained. Both President George W. Bush and Obama got it wrong. Who got it right? Presidents Bill Clinton, a Democrat, and Ronald Reagan, a Republican."The Bush administration was wrong about the dollar, I'll say that again for the umpteenth time," Kudlow said. "And this administration is wrong about the dollar and the last president to get the dollar right was Bill Clinton, who had it right, and Ronald Reagan before him."