When It Comes to the Markets, Welcome to Bizarroland

The U.S. economy is a funny thing. It’s even funnier during a presidential election year. Ultimately, regardless of the true health of financial indicators, every four years it’s about the economy, stupid. And stupid is as stupid does. With that, I bring you Meg Whitman, the Stock Market, and Mitt Romney.

Yesterday, Hewlett Packard (HP) CEO Meg Whitman put a plan in motion to cut 27,000 jobs from her company. 27,000 jobs. That’s a pretty big number of positions for such an esteemed job creator like Ms. Whitman. But apparently, the stock market didn’t agree. Bad means good on Wall Street. After the job-cutting announcement, HP shares rose. In fact, it became the day’s best performing stock on the Dow.

Now, let’s take the time machine back a few weeks to the day that the April jobs report was released. Do you remember the panic, the terror, the daunting uncertainty that the creation of over 115,000 new jobs caused? Wait, huh? So let me get this straight. Losing 27,000 jobs is completely acceptable, even considered a positive on Wall Street but adding 115,000 jobs is a sign of the Apocalypse?

To add an entirely new level of weird to this story, last week Mitt Romney sang the praises of Meg Whitman, one job creator to another. Here’s what the man who would be president said about her:

“I wish Californians had elected Meg Whitman. She would have been more successful and explained to Californians the need to cut back on spending and eliminate unnecessary programs.”

So I guess 27,000 jobs would be considered unnecessary programs. I guess stimulus investments that have resulted in steady job growth should be deemed irresponsible spending. I suppose putting people out of work is fine as long as the Dow says so.

Yes, it is about the economy, stupid. I’m talking to you M & M.