May 2, 2021
Great News! I got the vaccine!
Which one, you ask? Well, I don’t exactly remember. I think it was the one where they jab a needle in your arm and inject some sort of fluid into it. Then they put a gauzy patch on the jab spot. Kind of like the bandage they affixed to that Natural History Museum whale (only smaller).
Oh yes, now I remember. It was the potion created by famous blues guitarist Astro Johnson. And the ministering nurse was a lovely creature, of mixed European heritage, named Moderna Pfizer.
OK; so, I made it all up. I haven’t been vaxxed. Yet. I’m not proud of this. I realize it’s the right thing to do, maybe even an obligation. Truth is, I’m lazy. And needle-avoidant. But peer pressure is building, I am running out of excuses, and don’t think I can hold out much longer. Maybe I’ll schedule that appointment for next week. Or the week after.
In the meanwhile, I’ve thought it best to lie about it. And I hope you won’t rat me out.
Early days in my excuse sequence, Biden bailed me out. Claimed that when he got to the White House, there weren’t any doses around. Anywhere. But that ship sailed, as, lately (fickle bastard that he is) he can’t shut up about their availability. “Come on down and get dosed” he says now. “Plenty to go around for everybody”.
Thanks a lot, buddy. For nothing.
I have never considered Joe to be the most reliable character, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when he stabbed (jabbed?) me in the back. He’s been blowing with the wind his entire career, and now, as matters stand, the breezes are blasting him into big spender oblivion.
It was touching to observe him on Wednesday night, puffing out his pitch for sending another $2 Tril of our Benjaminz (which, by the way, we don’t have) into the ionosphere, and taking his 100-day total proposed binge to $6,000,000,000,000 – all in addition to our regular, $4T budget. If one cares to extrapolate forward, in his first year in office alone, he will have served up a fiscal fiesta to an amount greater than our entire GDP ($20T -- and that doesn’t even factor in compounding). Moreover, if he stays on this pace, by the end of his (first) term, he will have engineered an amount of incremental government spending approximately equivalent to the annualized economic output of the entire planet.
And of course, if he pulls that off, odds tilt in his favor to be re-elected, at which point he takes on the entire solar system. And then the galaxy.
If I had a word to say about any of this (which of course I do not), I might use it to question whether we want to put that much jack in Joe’s jeans. But again, nobody asked me. However, I’m fairly confident that I’ll be given the honor of contributing to the funding pool, as will most of the rest of you (as well as your progeny). But here, the sequencing is essential, as, first the government giveth; then it taketh away.
All of which is nonetheless (presumably) cause for busting out the conga line, and it ain’t even Cinco di Mayo yet. Certainly, the markets are celebrating. And why not? Earnings are blowing out beyond all proportion. GDP rocked the House. Personal Income/Spending. Pending Home Sales. All expanding at levels that are bound to put a smile on the faces of even the dourest of us Dismal Scientists.
Moreover, as the data revelry unfolded, the Fed dutifully kicked in chips, guacamole and a bottle of wormy mezcal, by way of expressing undying infatuation (kind of like mine for you) for current economic prospects, while contemporaneously (and counterintuitively) pledging to keep the money presses humming at full tilt, for as long as the salsa band can keep playing.
Accordingly, and despite niggling increases prices (GDP Price Deflator up > 4%), Madame X reposes demurely at 1.62%. I hear tell she’s been vaxxed (or at least claims to be), so there’s no need for investors to maintain social or economic distance from her. Sure, there was some selling action on Friday, but I wouldn’t fret me none to much about that, my love.
Probably just a modest weeding out of the anti-vaxxers is all (I reckon).
Meantime, the price of Corn has nearly doubled over the last year and my Shipping Index has registered an astonishing three-bagger in the first trimester of 2021. But I ain’t gonna worry too much about that either, honey. I got nothing I wanna transport by boat across the mighty oceans anyway.
Oh yes, we’re going to traverse the ocean. To Gay Paree and points beyond. But we will do so the civilized way. On the private jet I’m fixing to buy you. Just as soon as they open the joint for international travel. And I can get my hands on one of those fake vax passports they were hawking in the Cell Phone Lot at Kennedy Airport as I was waiting to pick you up.
Fake Covid Vax Passport (See Upper Right-Hand Corner) – Israeli Style
It will be important, then as now, for me to manifest my best authenticity to sell my dissembling narrative, but in these times, I’m not terribly concerned about that either. Because the way I’m reading things, everyone is lying their ass off anyway, and nowhere more so than in Washington.
I do think that Biden’s performance art speech on Wednesday night, was something of a milestone moment in this regard. He now owns, for all time, the most confiscatory, redistributionist elements of the entire confiscatory, redistributive menu that his backers have shoved down our throats. Does he believe in any of it? I doubt it. He’s simply following the directives of his betters. And I think he is enjoying it. Has managed to convince himself that he can be some sort of latter-day/depression era/pre-WWII FDR (as opposed to the actual function he serves – a handy instrument for a handful of political players that now wish to make their move to take over the joint).
But it all strikes me as residing in that uber-human area between comedy and tragedy, and this for a number of reasons. First, FDR’s recovery programs ultimately failed. After a finite boost of fiscal sugar over the first few years of his tenure, the economy faltered. Badly. And, by 1937, we were back at unemployment rates of nearly 20%. It took WWII to bail us out, where, of course, FDR was magnificent.
Anybody out there feeling confident about Joe Bag of Doughnuts in the role of Commander in Chief during a major military conflict? Didn’t think so.
Beyond this, what Joe was laying down on Wednesday night, the country is not, will not be, picking up. His stimulus and tax plans appear to be, by all accounts, DOA. They poll very badly. A Congressional coalition that could pass them simply does not exist and cannot be cobbled together.
Most everything that he glibly proposed will be subject to McConnell’s Steel Curtain, and then, if necessary, challenged in the courts. Each of the critical measures designed to move the goalposts (a necessary component of the power grab which will otherwise do nothing but create a pathway to political Armageddon for its sponsors in 2022), including HR1, the DC Statehood riff, packing the Supreme Court (a stunt that failed for even the fabulous FDR) are constitutionally questionable and will be gummed up in the courts well beyond the point when the electorate can render its displeasure at the ballot box.
Yes, they will get portions of their insulting, destructive agenda passed, mostly through political device. But it will create neither the short-term damage nor the political goodwill that its designers envisioned.
One way or another, Biden now owns the whole strategy, cannot, as a matter of practical political reality, afford to back off. Any more than (G.I.) Joe Manchin can step away from his heroic pledges to protect the filibuster and the fifty stars on the flag. If either one tries to wobble, the political bug they will catch will make them wish they had the covid instead.
So, in the Nation’s Capital, I predict a lot of chicanery on the fringes, which will be annoying but not fatal, most of which investors will manage to block out or ignore entirely
Meanwhile, the Fed will print away. Which investors will notice. Will, in fact, demand.
Thus, I’m feeling pretty perky at the moment. Both physically and in terms of market trajectories. But I’m not gonna lie, there are risks out there aplenty. Madam X could yield to the weakness of her nature and smother us with higher rates. Price trends in the real economy could continue to rise in a manner that demands market attention. Maybe, even, the Dem power players can take several more trillion of cash that we (and our children) will need earn and apply it according to their interests and whims. They’ll certainly try. They hate us anyway, so why not simply take what they can out of our pockets and award it to those that buy into their narratives and are willing to do their bidding?
It will take some world class re-engineering of realities to pull this off, but who am I to call them out? On balance, I’m one of them: double masked, socially distanced, and having no one other than you to whom I can spin my fabulous fables that all will be well.
So, for the record, and if anyone asks, let’s just agree to say that I’m all dosed up with no place to go.