Today In Financial Porn We Learned…

Today In Financial Porn We Learned…
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By Jackson W. Kellington*

Today in financial-porn news, two overpaid, smug, self-righteous anchors threw a hissy fit. Echoing what’s been happening across dinner tables, bars and offices, (when we once worked in offices and drank at bars…or both) the two argued over politics, forgetting that they’re a business network and not CNN and MSNBC battling Fox news. 

The gist of the disagreement is the usual boring, pedantic, “orange man is bad, mean and killed 100,000 people” versus “Trump’s the best and he can kick senile Joe Biden’s wrinkled butt!”.

In one corner was anchor Okay-Boomer Joe Kernen and on the other side, soy boy beta Andrew Ross Sorkin. The golf-playing, surly suburbanite Kernen accused the urbane, posh, politically correct Sorkin of overreacting, while Ross chided his co-host of underreacting to the coronavirus pandemic based upon political affiliations. By my descriptions, you already know who’s on which team. 

The boomer grumpily barked, “You panicked about the market, panicked about COVID, panicked about the ventilators, panicked about the PPE, panicked about ever going out again, panicked that we’d ever get back to normal.”  to which the soyboy in the slim-fit suit retorted, “And, Joseph, you didn’t panic about anything? Joseph, 100,000 people died. A hundred thousand people died, Joe, and all you did was try to help your friend the president. Those are what you did, every single morning on this show, every single morning on this show. You have used and abused your position, Joe. You have used and abused your position.”.

If you’re worried about how it ended, don’t. They made out and decided to go off together on a long weekend in the Hamptons to work through their issues.  

Speaking of the guy who started this and ninety-percent of the arguments in America, President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday night to complain about bias levied against conservatives by social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook. What started the brouhaha were some people with no sense of humor who tattletale on Trump to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. They weren’t amused that Trump tweeted accusing the Morning Joe guy, who is married to Mika, of allegedly killing his intern about ten years ago. The grumblers also didn’t agree with Trump’s contention that mail-in voting is stupid and easy rigged. 

Trump angrily wrote, “Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election. They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post, “ and “Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!”.

Twitter is now placing a “fake news” style icon on Trump’s tweets, to which Trump replied, “ We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.”. 

Turning the channel back to the CNBC station, Jim “Buy, Buy, Buy” Cramer claimed that stocks were rallying too far too quickly given the high level of unemployment. He said, “It’s too ‘happy days are here again,’”, and predicted, “It’s just not going to work like that. Not with 38 million unemployed.”. Cramer added, “You can’t keep building on a castle of sand. I see a lot of quicksand underneath some moves. I wish we would just calm down and digest some of these things.”.

I have nothing against Cramer, it’s just that he stokes the flames of day traders, most of whom ultimately burn out. I’d like to take over his show. Well, the show would be canceled since it’s super simple advice. Here you go: Buy a diversified group of low-cost index funds. Don’t get sucked into mindless trading based on hot-tips offered by supposed experts on television. If they’re telling you to buy, the odds are high that they’re the ones selling. Dollar-cost average each month so you don’t buy at the highs or panic sell at the lows. There’s not one investment guru that beat the S&P index performance for over ten or twenty years. So if they can’t do better than the averages, you can’t either. There you go CNBC, this is your new show. I’ll repeat it each episode. 

Cramer may be onto something, top corporate executives at U.S. tech companies have been selling about $3.6 billion worth of company shares in May. I’m not an economist, but I get that the stock market looks to the future, so they ignore the present-day misery. But their vision is seen through rose-colored glasses. 

How can we come back to where we were before the pandemic when sectors such as airlines, restaurants, hotels, travel and leisure have been destroyed and won’t come back for a long time. We have 40 million people who’ve lost their jobs since March. These people will hold off on buying cars, taking trips or waiting in line to get the next iteration of the iPhone. With less spending, the economy grows weaker, not stronger.

I’m an optimist, so I hope that I’m wrong that the investors pushing up the stock market are correct because that would mean we’ll get out of this mess. My bet is that we will have a “W”ish recovery. This means that if you look at a stock chart, you’ll see the dramatic drop in share prices in March and April followed by the sharp upturn which we recently saw. Then, as time goes by, the country re-opens and we collectively look soberly at the financial destruction wrought upon us by the outbreak and our reaction to it. Stocks will crash again. Slowly they’ll ultimately go back, finishing the “W”. 

*Psst. Don’t tell anyone it’s really me, your pal, Jack. I’m making too many enemies and burning too many bridges with these articles so I’m gonna keep a low key profile. 

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