Out of the Box: All in the Family
I am a proud American. Let me start there, so I don’t get a bunch of emails back from all of you claiming otherwise. My family is from Austria and Germany, and they came over 179 years ago. Yet, sometimes, I look at the country — my country — and wince.
The politicians make me blink. The news on TV makes my eyes water. Who knows what is real news and what is manufactured? I have a vision of Shakespeare’s witches sitting around and stirring the pot. For those of you that are younger, by the way, this pot is a crucible, and not something you smoke. You may not have heard of this before.
The calls for Socialism makes me wonder just where America is going and if the road to perdition isn’t one possibility. Whatever happened to the notion that we were proud, yes, proud, when a guy stood on his own two feet and made something of himself. “What is happening to our values,” I wonder. It is quite disturbing to me, that the idea of being successful has become such an anathema. What’s up with that?
“They got the greatest country in the world here. The highest standard of living. The grossest national product.”
-Archie Bunker, All in the Family
What concerns me here is what some of this stuff might do to the markets. All of the calls for some type of socialized medicine and healthcare companies and the pharmaceutical companies get taken out to the woodshed. I am troubled about what other matters might be brought up in this election season that might cause other sectors to get hit or, if the entire market might not take a drubbing, if the antics of some of these people gets crazy enough.
Here we are at all-time highs in the equity markets, interest rates are relatively low, the Fed has gotten much friendlier, the economy is moving along nicely and you would think that the people in political office would be waving the flag. Not so much. All that I see are banners of discontent and downright avarice. All I hear are calls of “how bad it is” and I just shake my head in disbelief.
I have seen “bad” before. I have lived though “bad” a number of times in my forty-five years on Wall Street. Let me tell you, we are nowhere close to “bad.”
Mike: “In today’s society, if something doesn’t work, you throw it out.”
Archie: “Well, you don’t work, maybe we’d better throw you out.”
-All in the Family
Maybe all of these people secretly want to work for the Fed. There, they can make money from nothing except a keystroke and a little thin air. Maybe since it isn’t legal currently for people to do this, that someone is going to call for “free money for all,” in their next speech. Only God knows where we are going now, they want to legislate that they can take my money, and your money, and use it themselves because hard work is just so boring and I don’t need the money anyway so I might as well give it to them, they claim.
I think that most of us, in the financial markets, just don’t think that it is going to get to that point. I believe that is our overwhelming “underlying assumption.” I hope it is a correct one but what if we are wrong. That is what scares me. “What if we are wrong?”
I point all of these things out today because it feeds right into Grant’s Rules, “Preservation of Capital.” It seems like some of the people running for President don’t believe in making capital, much less preserving it. They must think that money floats right down the Mississippi and that all they need to do is figure out how to pluck it from the waves. There seems to be no concept of “my money” or “your money” any longer. They want it all to be “our money” and it is only a question of how to get at it.
Mike: “Would you stand up and cheer if it was me at the door?”
Archie: “Well that depends, Meathead, on whether you was coming in or going out.”
-All in the Family
Just some things for you to ponder today. Just some things to think about in case the door gets unhinged and the cat spills the milk. If some of this stuff does occur then you will find me in Archie’s Bunker, hunkered down.
Mark J. Grant
Chief Global Strategist, Fixed Income
B. Riley FBR Inc.
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