Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Danger of Negativity

Well, the Wonker portfolio took it in the ear again today, like most portfolios, but the hit was not horrendous. We are at approximately the Dow and S&P levels we were at during the previous bottom back in November of 2008, and the Wonker portfolio, while still horrendously down from our start date of approximately August 1 2008, is about $25,000 higher that at the November bottom. This is cold comfort of course, but we're buoyed due to the fact that we've been taking some income out of this mess or the total might have been even higher.

Problem here is that a good deal of the underlying liquidity issues are loosening up and we COULD be on a very slow upcurve. Which, actually isn't the problem. The problem is the overwhelming negativity coming at us from the folks on the left side of the aisle and their minions in the MSM.

Scare headlines, of course, sell what newspapers and magazines are still standing. But they add to the gloomy mood perpetrated by the financial press, the short sellers (who love to rumor stocks down and find it easy in this environment), and, of course, the Democrats who, by convincing the public that they're helpless to do anything about their impending fiscal doom, figure they can enlarge government control still further to "save" the average taxpayer by enticing him into a socialist system.

This is pretty easy to do when you scare people to death. Just like the Dems do to older folks whenever someone talks about reforming the Ponzi scheme known as Social Security.

Even normally sunny President Obama got into the act with pronouncements of doom last week. This, of course, was for political effect, to muster voter pressure for passage of the Pelosi-Reid "Stimulus (aka 'Porkulus') Bill." But this kind of piling on illustrates that the Dems will do anything to accomplish their socialist objectives of state control over our financial institutions and our lives.

Problem is, folks out in the hinterlands are genuinely freaked out. This isn't a game. Money is going back into the mattresses, a la the 1930s. If the desire is for Americans to help us spend our way out of the mess we spent our way into, badmouthing the current situation is simply going to scare more of them into doing precisely the opposite.

Presidents--from the sainted FDR thru Ronald Reagan (at the peak of the Carter hyperinflation) to George W. Bush (right after 9/11)--had positive things to say to the American people. Each asserted they'd help us help ourselves to get out of the current mess, explaining that after all, we're all "can do" Americans who are accustomed to taking action to solve their own problems.

The current cadre is violating the positivism of their chief god, proving that they no longer have any connection with our history and our traditions.

Badmouthing the economy for political and fiscal ends--whether by stupid politicians, editorializing reporters, or nefarious short sellers--is about at the point where it's fatally poisoning the recovery process. A little bit more of this and we reall WILL have the 1930s redux.

The Dems could be real heroes here by getting positive, encouraging the economy, adopting a can do attitude towards saving the banks and getting the automakers on a more realistic world footing. But, wilfully ignorant of history and adept at demagoguery, fear-mongering, and negativity, they are relentlessly scaring Americans to death.

The good thing is that, since this won't work in the end, it'll eventually result in chastened Repubs taking back the reins of power. The bad thing is that by the time this happens, there won't be any toys left for any of us to play with.

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