Elections Have Consequences
Elections Have Consequences
Elections Have Consequences

A quick post to get some thoughts in on Election Day 2022. The question is… “Do mid-term elections matter in terms of finance?”

It turns out, elections are less important to finance than the news pundits will try to make it. I get it, news analysts need to analyze, haters gonna hate and pundits gotta pund. The American public gets (somewhat) motivated to vote by hyperbole surrounding the immediacy and importance of the election. The reality is that, while it matters over the long term for society, it matters far less for the markets. Decision cycles are so long, that any immediate response is about anticipation and emotion, not about actual impact. We won’t see impact happening for many months, by which time a hundred other things will have occurred.

Lesson: Don’t trade the elections with your investment accounts. I can send you to some betting sites that are far more useful.

Our second topic of the day is completely different, but is top of my mind. Watching the financial news right now; everyone wants to know how high interest rates are going and what that means for a recession next year. Is the recession priced in? What will it do to earnings? Will we achieve a “soft-landing?” Is now a good time to invest?

WRONG QUESTIONS!

It’s not about the speed, or even the rate, in March. It is important to know how high rates will go, and mostly how long they will be there, until we cool inflation. There has been a lot of monetary excess pumped into the global financial system over the past 10+ years. The excess must be removed, and that will take some time. Our greatest risk is that the Fed will need to keep rates at 6% long enough to create real fractures in government finances.

Over the next year a lot of government bonds will come due. Watch municipal finances here in the U.S. starting in the Spring; and watch European bond markets as countries begin to drift away from one another.

Warren Buffet has a famous quote about the end of loose monetary policy. {It is} “Only when the tide goes out that you discover who’s been swimming naked.”

The Central Bank needs to keep conditions tight enough to start causing pain in the economy where there is too much borrowing or leverage.

Households are pretty well off, companies are widely divergent, but on average, quite healthy. Banks are mostly clean this time around.

2023 will be the year we begin to worry if governments are the ones who got over leveraged. I have no prediction as to the outcome of that. I think we’ll (hopefully) skate through without a major crisis. But I am fairly certain it will be a big topic of discussion around the time that governments start realizing their tax revenues no longer include all of those juicy capital gains and investment income receipts.

Lesson: Don’t sweat whether earnings estimates are properly discounting the odds of a recession. Worry if a recession will generate cracks in the system in places we aren’t watching; and start watching them.

This creates another couple of AngelMD Academy class topics we’ll be organizing this Spring. Hunting for Black Swans. How do we prepare for things that are unpredictable? And Global monetary policy, how the U.S. economy interacts with the rest of the world.

More this week. But first, go vote.
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