This is a bit of a silly diary, but we all know the role late night shows played in the 2008 Election. Between John McCain pissing off David Letterman, and SNL completely destroying Sarah Palin, the Late Night shows were very effective political weapons. If they didn't outright change public opinion, they at least cemented the notions voters already had.
Since we know from those secret tapes that Mitt Romney will not be appearing on Saturday Night Live, I think it's safe to say SNL has no reason to bother coddling him on their show. And while I love what they have done with Mitt Romney so far, I have a more subtle, and I think meaningful bit I want them to bring back.
Four years ago SNL was doing what they are about to do tonight. They ran 20 Minute mini-doses of SNL every Thursday at Prime Time. Some of the sketches fell flat, the majority of the program was generally a mini-Weekend Update. But it was a nice change of pace from the sitcoms and cop dramas that normally dominate prime time.
They're doing it again this year. Tonight is the first one but I want to focus on a bit that they did in 2008. One of the most memorable correspondents during those Weekend Update segments was "Oscar Rodgers" played by Kenan Thompson.
Below is a link to a short video of the bit.
http://www.hulu.com/... <- Click Here!
This was one of Kenan's funniest reoccurring characters. The main gag is Oscar Rogers vague and ultimately useless financial analysis/solution of "FIX IT!" The sketch summed up America's frustration with the crumbling economic situation in the lead up to the 2008 Election. Sadly Oscar Rogers disappeared with the end of the Thursday Night runs.
The Weekend Update video above features Seth Myers and Amy Poehler joking about a few of the news stories from the time including a poll that showed 60% of people expected the nation to enter a great depression. The immediate lead up to Oscar Rogers bit consists of Seth describing the horrible week Wall Street had been experiencing at that point in time.
Here is a less than great quality Youtube video of another variation of this sketch.
Looking back at those bits now is kind of weird. Mostly because we never got any closure. It was never FIXED! As I said the character Oscar Rogers personified the frustration we all felt as we watched the Economy take a nose dive in 2008. It would be great if the character could be brought back this year to declare "It's been FIXED!" on SNL Prime Time.
Not only do I think it could be funny to have the character, clearly exhausted and worn down by the experience explain how much of a bumpy ride it's been, while giving everybody a nice nostalgic reminder of what we've been through together. But I also think it would go a long way toward sealing the deal for President Obama in this Election. It would finally give everybody who watches the show some closure while reflecting (maybe directing) the new mood of the nation at large.
So let's look and see if such a declaration is warranted from the fictional financial consultant.
Note: All emphasis was added by me.
More Americans Paying Off Debts - ABC News.For some perspective I should note that during the last few months of the Bush Administration only 14-19% believed the economy was going to get better according to Rasmussen. 48% is almost half way there. In fact if you ask Mitt Romney that's 1% more than every Obama supporter in the nation. We still have a few months before the election and things could still be getting better.
You might be better off than you think! Americans owe far less money than they did five years ago before the recession, and they are paying the bills at the best rate in years. According to the latest survey by S&P Dow Jones Indices and Experian, most loan types saw a decrease in default rates. The national average has dropped for eight consecutive months.
“People are being far more disciplined than they used to be,” says top S&P economist David Blitzer. ”A big part of that drop has been mortgages but the decline in debt levels has not only been mortgages but has really been across the board.” Auto loan default rates are close to record lows. “Those levels have really dropped down to where they were long before the financial crisis.” It’s a big change from the days of no-doc loans and other forms of unrestrained lending.
A new Associated Press poll says 61 percent of likely voters described the economy as poor and 48 percent think things will get better, up from 41 percent before the conventions. A report from JP Morgan Chase says, “More Americans believe that their personal finances and the economy are stable or improving than did a year ago.”
Housing market recovery accelerating. - Los Angeles Times.So the housing crises seems to be off the bottom and climbing rapidly. In fact I just bought my first home in June and I can tell you the competition was fierce. I was looking at existing homes and there just aren't enough to go around for all the people in the market. Building is going to have to increase to meet the demand. So lets check in on that old Construction Index.
The rebound in the U.S. housing market accelerated in August as residential construction starts increased 2.3 percent and sales of existing homes rose 7.8 percent, according to new figures released Wednesday.
The National Association of Realtors said sales of existing single-family homes, townhouses, condos and co-ops rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million units in August, up from an annual rate of 4.47 million in July. The rate exceeded analysts' expectations.
The national median sale price was $187,400 in August, up 9.5 percent from a year earlier. The spike is the biggest year-over-year median sale price increase since January 2006, shortly before the housing bubble burst. August marked the sixth straight month of year-over-year price increase, which had not happened since early 2006, the Realtors group reported.
US homebuilder confidence surges to 6-year high. - AP.So confidence is up. America is making a come back! But how is Wall Street doing? I mean that is what inspired this SNL bit, right? Maybe we should check in on the 1%. We all know they've been turning out crazy profits for awhile now. But where is the mindset of those investors who are making money in today's market?
Confidence among U.S. homebuilders rose this month to its highest level in six years and many expect the housing recovery will strengthen in the next six months. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Tuesday increased to 40 in September. That's up from 37 in August and the highest reading since June 2006, just before the housing bubble burst.
Any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market. The index hasn't reached that level since April 2006, the peak of the housing boom. Still, a measure of builders' outlook for sales in the next six months rose to 51. That's up from 43 in August and also the highest level since June 2006.
Builders also reported seeing the best sales level since July 2006. And turnout by prospective buyers returned to levels not seen since May 2006. The positive trends have helped bolster optimism that the U.S. housing recovery will endure.
"We think things have turned around and this recovery is sustainable," said Patrick Newport, an economist with IHS Global Insight. The rise in builder confidence means that new-home construction is likely to increase over the next six months, Newport said.
Investors in stock market might win election for Obama. - Washington Post.Now I know we aren't where we want to be. The Bush recession cost us upward of 8 Million jobs and Obama has done what he can to fill that hole with the 4.5 Million jobs he has created so far. I am sure you will all agree that 8% unemployment is too high, and in fact so long as anyone in this country who is looking for work cannot find it, there is always more to be done. But this is really a "are you better off now" type of situation.
Here's a theory: Obama may win this election because of the rebounding satisfaction and confidence of a group of voters one might think more logically belong to Mitt Romney: investors in the stock market. I have argued before that the Dow Jones Industrial Average is an underrated barometer of political sentiment, and it is at multi-year highs. And this surge in the stock market is clearly having an impact on investor confidence, which in turn affects investors’ view of how the country is faring. Several new surveys out today lend credence to this belief. (Credit to Ben White of Politico for pulling these together.
A poll from the Center for Audit Quality (conducted by my firm but without the speculation I am offering here) notes that American investors are somewhat optimistic about the direction of the economy: 70 percent believe it will either stay the same or improve. A JP MorganChase report released today says that twice as many Americans today (64 percent) believe our economy has either bottomed out or is already improving than did respondents in last year's poll (33 percent). Finally, A Morgan Stanley index of business conditions jumped 18 points in September, reflecting greater confidence from a variety of sectors of the economy.
Consumer confidence is up. The housing market is improving dramatically. People owe less debt than they did in the mid 2000's, builder confidence is up. And in 2008 60% of American's believed we were heading for a great depression because of the crisis on Wall Street, today 70% of investors on Wall Street believe the economy will stay the same or get better!
Can somebody please contact Kenan Thompson for me and let him know IT'S BEEN FIXED!
I think he'd like to spread the news.