Subject: Ross Rant Dec 19
In the short run, the market will likely rise as the election is now behind us until Jan 5, rates remain low, the vaccine is highly successful in all respects and is being efficiently produced and distributed which means businesses can reopen fully by mid to late May, and the summer travel season to resorts and places like Vegas and national parks will be booming like never before as the pent up demand explodes, and all those savings are spent. Checking account deposits are up 85% this year, to $4.6 Trillion. That means consumers and companies have enormous amounts of cash waiting to be spent and invested. JPM has $1.5 Trillion of liquidity. M1 is up 67% this year. And now a stimulus package is being approved after needless stupid, disgraceful delay of months by Pelosi. So maybe we end the year closer to 3750 than 3700. It also means Wall St believes Jan 5 will go Republican.
All of that is nice, but completely ignores potential risks in 2021. Jan 5 is far from certain to go Republican. It probably will, but we don’t know. The Hunter scandal is just beginning, and is very possibly going to mean the Joe term could possibly be short, the Paris accord will mean much more regulation and higher costs for companies, and Iran is going to try to do something bad in the next few months after they have wrung all they could out of Kerry and Biden and gotten sanctions lifted. New regulations will be flowing rapidly out of DC, and that means much higher costs to operate, especially in regard to environment issues. Lenders will be burdened with lots of new racial regulations and quotas meaning distorted bank lending. China will pressure Biden if they really have him compromised, as I believe they do. All of this assumes Republicans win Jan 5. If not, then all hell breaks loose in Congress after January 20. To top it all off, the Manhattan DA is going to go all in to try to charge Trump with various crimes to offset and divert the media from the Biden scandal. If that happens, the pushback from Republicans will create new chaos. So on one hand we will have a booming consumer economy as pent up demand drives growth much higher, but on the other hand there will be both geopolitical and domestic chaos, and an anti-business policy program in DC, and black swans circling. There will be special emphasis on crushing the fossil fuel industry which will drive up energy costs for everyone and especially the lower income workers. The Biden foreign policies of appeasement will lead to a rerun of the disastrous world we had under Obama. And now we have the cyber breach and no way for us to know what comes next with that. If Trump had been reelected I would forecast the market hitting new record highs in 21. But with Biden, it could go either way, and not nearly so high as it would have under Trump.
There is nothing new the Fed can, or will , do to juice the economy. It is all now fiscal stimulus. Powell says inflation will remain low and internationally it is more deflationary right now. Capital markets are functioning very well now. Rates will remain low through 2021, and maybe 22, but interest rates forecasting is always risky over time. If we get a positive scenario going forward, I believe rates will probably rise in 2022, not wait until 23. Powell admitted the Fed has underestimated the strength and resilience of the economy. The ten year in 22 could go above 2% if the economy really pops in late 21. Fannie and Freddie will probably get recapitalized next year, but now Biden will interfere by putting in new requirements for racial quotas or some other similar requirements that will distort the smooth functioning of these two entities. There will then be distortion of the housing finance market as the credit quality will decline on mortgages in order to meet made up quotas for minority communities. There will be intense pressure on banks to make loans to low credit minority people. Remember subprime, and how the government brought us that wonderous result when they outlawed red lining and subprime became the thing to do. This will not be much different. Either you have race blind strong underwriting, or you have loans going to people who should not have them, and the result is later problems in the mortgage markets. One more example of they never learn.
If they reopened everything, and just mandated masks and distancing, and if they opened all schools for 5 day attendance, the economy would improve much faster, and there would likely not be much difference in infections. CDC just released research that shows kids in school are not at risk. The few kids who did get sick have mostly not gotten it in school , and they have other health issues. There is no reason not to fully open schools for 5 days in person, but the unions continue to refuse and let kids get harmed. 75% of infections occur in the home, not in public settings. If they fully reopened everything there would be far less need for a stimulus program and additions to the debt. People wear masks often when outside, not at home, so home gatherings is where the problem lies. If FL and TX can be mostly open with no worse infection rates than CA and NY, then so can CA and NY. This is not hard to understand that these blue state shutdowns are as a result of politics, arrogance, or ignorance.
The SEC has finally cracked down on Robinhood, and forced them to reveal that they get paid by Wall St for delivering stock orders to them. Robinhood just paid a big fine. As a result Robinhood executions are relatively poor. The other online brokers do also get paid to deliver orders, but are much better at execution.
Whatever happens, there will not be one day when the whistle blows and the economy suddenly shoots ahead. It will evolve as the blue states and cities are slow to reopen, and as people reemerge from their caves. Johns Hopkins believes that by late April the crisis will have mostly passed, and some people will wonder why they need the vaccine anymore. They also believe that between 30% and 50% of the adults in the Midwest have had the virus in some form, and are now immune for another three years. If that is so, then the rate of infection will drop quickly from here in those areas, and with the vaccine we could see very few new cases by May-June. The economy will be mostly reopened by then except maybe in a few blue state areas. It causes you to wonder how come in places like CA with all sorts of lockdowns, mask mandates and restrictions, the virus is raging, but in FL with few restrictions, it is no worse, and there are lots of old people. Recovery will depend on industry, and even within industries like hotels, it will depend on segment. Many malls will close, and eventually get plowed under and redeveloped as mixed use projects. Manufacturing will do very well as will distribution. Airlines will boom by summer as the vaccine is widespread, and consumers rush to travel again. Urban office will slowly reoccupy while office in places like Austin, Dallas, Denver, Boise, Vegas, Nashville and Miami boom due to the flight from coastal Dem run cities continues. Office staffs will be 25%-30% work from home full time, another 25% or so come in two or three days a week, and maybe share desks in some cases, retail centers continue to close, and distribution and industrial booms. The oil industry will face enormous problems with new regulations to try to shut them down. NYC and CA will continue to bleed taxpayers, and TX and FL will boom beyond their best projections.
The shutdowns in Dem cities are counter-productive. They shut restaurants where the infection rate is 1.4% thereby driving people to have gatherings in their homes where the infection rate is 75%. Makes perfect sense. The more they do shutdowns in NYC and CA the more there is crime, homeless, and no way to make a living, but living costs remain high. Now we have another result, which is retail sales down in November as more shutdowns cost jobs. One very interesting thing is, while the left attacks Wall St and the rich making a lot of money on stocks, they are solving a sizable piece of their deficits in CA and NY from all of the taxes they are collecting from all of the high profit stock sales due to trades in the stock market. Without the booming stock market the blue states would be in even worse trouble. The more they raise taxes and destroy life style, and chase away the rich and Wall St firms and Silicon Valley companies, the less they collect taxes on stock sales. The more you shutdown restaurants and other business, the less sales taxes you collect. The less employees due to shutdowns the less unemployment taxes. You just really wonder if any of these politicians ever took an econ course. Makes you really wonder about the governor of NJ if he ever learned anything when he worked at Goldman. The data are very clear-raise taxes and the rich leave with their tax payments. Shut down small business and tax collections decline, creating more need to raise taxes to chase away more taxpayers. Wall St operations have changed dramatically, and there is no need for everyone to be in NYC anymore. With the end of stock commissions, cost of operating has become a huge issue, further driving some of these operations out of Manhattan to places like FL. The Wall St of today has little similarity to the Wall St I worked in.
The losing cities will drown in deficits, and their union pensions will face insolvency. Maybe we will be lucky and there will finally be legislative actions to redo pensions which are now unsustainable. Under Biden the changes needed are very unlikely. Government pensions is the next financial crisis, and it is coming soon to a blue state near you. There will be a massive political battle as we have seen these past few weeks in DC over funding for states and cities. That fight is really all about pension bailouts, and if the Republicans hold the Senate, it will get even uglier. Blue states need to cut their wasteful budgets, and revise their giveaway pension plans and health retirement programs, or there is no end to the crisis. With Biden in the White House there will be no good solution unless McConnell is leader.
Biden has rehired the failed Obama cabinet and agency heads, plus some others who happened to be black, Latino, or gay, but with no other particular talents for their new roles. The appointment of Gina McCarthy as head of environmental policy is a coming disaster. Combined with his Interior Secy pick, fracking and pipelines are going to be under constant attack, and US energy independence will be severely compromised. Areas of NY and New England that are insufficiently supplied with gas will remain so to the detriment of consumers. There is one saving grace. The 223 district and appeals judges and SCOTUS judges will stop some of what the radicals will try to do with fracking and other regulatory constraints. Hopefully there will be injunctions preventing the worst things. Buttigieg could not manage a small town and maintain roads, and now is Secy of Transportation purely because he is gay. He has zero knowledge of transportation. And now he is considering Iger as ambassador to China. Iger is completely compromised by China. His appointment would be a disaster for US policy re China.
This entire group of Obama retreads, and politically correct choices, will make many of the same mistakes they made last time on foreign affairs and the economy in the belief that all they need to do is talk nice to China, Russia, the EU and Iran, and rejoin various organizations like Paris and the WTO, and all will be OK in the world. The definition of an idiot is to do the same mistakes twice. This crew is obviously unable to learn from the past, and will think they can just redo the Iran deal and they will behave properly. As to China they already are saying we need to “cooperate”, despite the revelations of the past couple of weeks of how China has infiltrated universities, and influenced Wall St, the press, and even Congress. The constant complaints that Trump destroyed alliances and we all need to just get together again and deal with China as a group, are naïve in my view. Sometimes I wonder, am I the only one paying attention to what is really happening. China is buying influencers all over, and dangling dollars and a huge consumer market, and many are jumping at the bait. The EU has no foreign policy as a group, and they act individually when it suits their purpose regardless of what the US wishes. Examples: Germany is trying to go ahead with the Nordstream pipeline despite everyone else saying don’t do it. They are now about to allow Huawei to provide equipment to its 5G system despite the US saying it will compromise all German communications and needs to be barred.
There had been no real attention paid to NATO all through the Obama administration, and NATO became a paper military force unable to do much of anything. They let the US fund it all, until Trump said no more. That is what group think and alliances result in- no concerted action until it is too late, or until someone like Trump says -this makes no sense for the US. This is not the fifties and sixties any more when Europe needed us, and the cold war was at its height. Asian countries live off of trade with China. Do you really think they will jointly do things to pushback on China and lose their main trade partner. No, they will do more in order to do more trade with China. These nations have a very different agenda from the US. China is an existential threat to the US now, and we need to continue to confront them, not to play nice. If the EU and the UN and WTO have all failed to act against China thus far given the virus, Hong Kong, concentration camps, South China Sea, and threats against Taiwan, what makes anyone think they will suddenly do anything when a China appeaser like Biden is president , and we rejoin these organizations that concede to China on many fronts. Just recall that they all thought when China joined the WTO they would play by the rules. China just used WTO to cheat even more. China will continue to con the world, and use cash to bribe capitulation made to look like cooperation. China used the WHO to convince the world the virus was no problem until they were able to spread it across the globe and change the outcome of the US election. But Biden wants to immediately rejoin these organizations.
Janet Yellen just met with the leaders of the Defund Police movement and BLM, and pledged to make racial issues the “centerpiece” of the recovery efforts. She also agreed to “pursue long term systemic racial issues and structural issues causing the wealth disparity.” Translation: instead of focus on rebuilding the economy itself, and growth in GDP, they will instead create all sorts of new racial quota rules for lenders, employers, and landlords, and new subsidy programs. As we saw starting in Q2 2017, the best way to help minorities is to create a robust economy where there are a lot less regulations and lower taxes, resulting in more jobs than workers. Low income wages were rising at 9%, and family income was finally growing again after ten years of no growth. In early 2020 we had record low unemployment and record high wages for minorities, and no new regulations, subsidies and entitlements. Q1 had very low gas prices, which is like a wage increase for low income workers, which will go away as they try to shut down fracking through new regulation, and pressure on banks not to lend to the oil industry by pushing through higher capital reserve requirements on oil industry loans. With the Biden/Yellen policies, unemployment will be higher than it needs to be for minorities, and gas prices will rise. But they will look good to the radicals. They simply never learn anything from history. This is the first step in how they will hold back growth, just as they did in 2009-2016. Same people doing the same idiotic, counterproductive things.
How did China pick out an ordinary city council guy in CA to be a target, and then help him get elected. How did Pelosi decide to take this novice and put him on Intel plus the committee that oversees CIA. Who of her friends in San Fran pushed Swalwell to get these assignments. Why was Swalwell’s father and sister still in touch with the spy until two weeks ago when the story broke, and why is Pelosi refusing to remove him from these committees.
What was drug addict, totally unqualified Hunter getting paid for if not access to Joe. And if Joe never knew anything about Hunter selling access to him, what was Hunter and his partners selling for millions of dollars. What did Joe think was going on in the office he got keys to. Did he ever ask Hunter what was he doing on Airforce II flying to China with him for 14 hours. Why did Joe get the Ukraine prosecutor fired soon after Hunter starting getting paid by Burisma. And the press refuses to ask these questions. Why not just ask do you know Tony Bobalinsky, and did you ever meet him. And now Joe says Hunter is “the smartest guy I know”. Wow.
For all my Republican readers who still think the election is not over, or that there will be some sort of maneuver on Jan 6 to elect Trump: I try to deal in reality, not hope. I have no doubt there was real fraud, and that the MI audit of Dominion has uncovered major issues, and 1700 people voted twice in GA, 1100 dead people and 4,000 illegal aliens voted in NV, etc. However, the SCOTUS and other judges have made it clear this is a political issue, and not a legal one in their view- they just do not want to be involved in overturning the election. You can disagree all you want, but that is reality now. I try to just deal in reality, and the implications flowing from that, not wishes or other concepts that are never happening. If Republicans hold the Senate, they will conduct a major investigation and report on all the fraud, and work to prevent any rerun of that in GA, and in 2022 when they can get complete control of Congress. McConnell said it is over, and that makes it so. We need to move on and learn what really happened, and prevent it from happening again. Mail in balloting was the disaster that was predicted and led to fraud. 2020 will go down in history as the worst political fraud and abuse of power by Congress in decades, or maybe in history. Between the Biden crimes, what Durham is going to announce, and this voting situation, and the whole Russia hoax and Ukraine impeachment, there has been extraordinary criminality on a massive scale by the Dems. And the press has covered it all up, and helped push the false narratives, which is a major scandal of its own that must change, or we lose democracy. Between universities, the press, and other institutions pushing identity politics, and a cancel culture, democracy is at major risk right now.
Here are some interesting numbers. Trump actually won a higher percent of voters in cities than in 2016. He actually went up 3.7% in Philadelphia in share of voters despite the apparent cheating. The problem for Trump was in the suburbs. There he lost support by a wide margin. The further the suburb was from the city the better he did, but his margins still declined. The interesting thing was, Republicans down ballot did better than Trump in these same suburbs. Republicans won Congressional races where Trump lost in these suburbs. This implies Trump lost based on his personality, and the burbs are still centrist. Important data for 2022. Biden did worse in working class and Hispanic counties. In all, the suburbs is where the battles will be fought, and the Republicans did not do so badly as the press would have you believe. Trump lost the election due to his own personality and tweets, and the all out attacks by the press and Silicon Valley, and not due to his policies, or his achievements. Republicans can win control in 22, and Nicky Haley could win the suburbs easily in 24.
If you wish to Subscribe go to PayPal Ross Rant Publications