To Stimulate Or Not To Stimulate The US Economy
Principles of the Stock Market

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Have You Seen This?

Have You Seen This?

ANTI-Stimulus Protest Demonstrations; Say What? 


That’s a big global fear surrounding this global economic slump.  History shows economic debacles like this breed unrest, anger, frustration among those losing their jobs, etc. and thus protest demonstrations.  If one watches or any other news global news show, you’ll see violent protests happening globally.  In Eastern Europe as one example.  In China too and especially.  China’s government’s big fear, knowing it’s own history, is protests which bring down the government there.  Making the upturn in global protests there and elsewhere important for all investors to track.


Yesterday’s Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) newspaper had a front page article reporting that anti-stimulus demonstrations have occurred in 35 American cities.  Yes, these are small demonstrations so far, 100 or 200 people and organized by interest groups, but maybe they will grow in size after IBD gave them face time, i.e. publicity -- I hadn’t even heard about these protests at all until yesterday -- and also gave them such a nationalistic and catchy name:  “Nationwide Tea Parties.”  I read where these events are being organized by those groups who sarcastically say we should:  “Legalize Capitalism!”  Or who believe:  “The best government, governs least.”  And those who sardonically and exaggeratedly say:  “No to socialism!”  And are epitomized by one protestor’s sign which read:  “Your mortgage is not my problem!” 


Obviously US government stimulus spending to try to keep this weakened economy from getting worse is anathema to those who believe in the strict Austrian school of economics.  That economic school says things just get screwed up terribly whenever the government gets involved.  And who knows, maybe doing nothing, to try to shorten this downturn, was indeed the right move.  But as I see it it’s too late now; we’re already committed.  I’ve given up opining on what were the right and wrong roads to follow but let me also report there are a lot of other angry people in America today, those that say they are tired of lavish retreats and concerts, tired of private jets, tried of companies paying out huge bonuses with or without government money.  Regular readers know I’ve been angry and pounding the table for many years about these excesses.  So maybe we do or will have class warfare, that is if these anti-stimulus demonstrations get larger and cause more of a divide among all kinds of angry Americans.


Schwartz View:  But as I see it, we’re now committed to this “bail out” path, we got committed a year ago when we bailed out the first company, Bear Stearns or whoever came first.  This far along this path I can’t foresee us stopping now.  Plus it only makes common sense for any government to try to stimulate the economy when the two other major sources of normal demand, consumer spending and business investment, are in total hunker down mode.  The even bigger picture, as I see things from up on the mountaintop looking down at the valley and what’s happening, is that these demonstrations by those who say your problem is not my problem, are the last desperate efforts by those who still believe in the “me first” path America has been on for roughly three decades now.  As I see it, the results of the recent US presidential election announced that the majority of Americans want big change in America, a change which returns the America Dream to the average working person once again and returns us to a more level playing field.  And that means, even though there is some opposition, that America has now crossed the Rubicon, so to speak.  Meaning we’ve just begun a 10-year or so cycle which puts public interest over private interest.  History shows we do swing back and forth from longer periods, or about 20 years, of letting capitalism run unchecked and America showing strong economic growth as a result to shorter periods of about 10 years or so where we put the unfortunate and forgotten Americans first, which yes, also means slower economic growth as a result.  (Please read Arthur Schlesinger Jr.’s THE CYCLES OF AMERICAN HISTORY if you’d like more on this repetitive cycle.)  All signs that I can detect today tell me that America is going to level the playing field, get rid of the excesses, the corruption and scamming of the system, in general just the overall greed which always naturally arises from allowing capitalism unchecked to run for too darn long.  Again, I’m just observing what I see happening not opining whether it’s right or not.  As for investment implications, for now stay hunkered down, practice extreme patience and proper money management while out waiting this Papa Bear market.


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Posted 03-05-2009 1:29 PM by Richard Schwartz