There's something very unique in the bunch we have in Washington. Something we've never seen before. They're actually “talking down” the economy.
Usually, an administration and the bureaucrats in Washington will try to play up the economy's accomplishments. "Poor on the gas," try to get the last little bit of performance.
Encouraging shoppers at this time of the year to go out and spend a little extra. Knowing that to do so, will add to the nation's GDP, and reflect well on our nation's leaders.
Way back in the mid-1990s it was James Caravel while running then-President Clinton's campaign, who put his finger on it: “It's the economy stupid.”
And indeed it is. It is, after all, the economy from which most of this nation's strength and prosperity comes. A strong, fully functioning economy, produces the goods and services that we need to maintain collectively our magnificent lifestyle.
And so, throughout our recent history, we've seen President after President, at this time of the year take the podium to extol the virtues of the American Economy, and encourage us on to higher and higher heights.
But not this year. This year it's very different. It's almost like Washington is intentionally lowering our expectations. Talking down the economy. Almost hoping that these last few days of 2021, are downplayed.
Not since Jimmy Carter's Malaise speech of 40 years ago have we seen such negativity from the White House.
It all began last week, when Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell gave us the "Daddy's going to take away your candy" Press Conference.
Held just 3 weeks before the end of the year. The Chairman chose this time of the year, to announce he was going to get tough.
To start curtailing the Fed's support, by cutting off bond purchases, the Fed's chief current stimulus, and probably raising rates 3 times next year. Instead of just the one or two times, Wall Street was anticipation.
It was Powell transforming into one of those Hollywood tough guys. And so far it hasn't been so well received up on Wall Street. Where trading for the last 3 days has seen the largest decline in 7 months, and investment managers and analysts are having to re-write next year's strategies.
This was followed up, by the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, one Anthony Fauci, declaring that we probably shouldn't have Christmas at all this year. That the health risks are just too great. What with only part of the population being fully “vaxed” and all.
What a way to promote those last-minute Christmas Sales!
This will all culminate at 2:30 this afternoon when President Biden will take to the podium with a speech aimed at promoting the vax and its boosters. Replete, no doubt with plenty of scary statistics, and dire warnings, it will be an apparent effort to tell us what dire straights we're in.
There was a greeting posted, ostensibly from the White yesterday, which said essentially that all who had not yet taken the vax were at great risk this holiday season.
Thataway to talk up the season!
Now once might be an accident, twice a coincidence, but three times tells me this is a strategy. Something is a work that we've never seen. Something that is unlike politics as usual.
I can tell you that Wall Street sees it.
And they are as flummoxed as you and I. They see their hard-earned returns being eaten away.
The Dow, which just a few weeks ago had a year-to-date return of 19%, is now down to a 14% return. That 5% difference, to you and I might not mean much, but to the investment advisors and fund managers, it represents a huge change in their fund performance.
A change that will be reflected in annual reports and next year's brochures.
I hear the question every day: what's up with Biden? It's as if the President is personally working against market returns.
And although we don't yet know all of the ramifications of this new economic strategy.
One thing is for certain. The 178-year reign of Ebeneezer Scrooge, as the biggest Christmas Humbug, has just been eclipsed.