Tag Archives: stimulus spending

US Economic Decision Making

This is all in one day: Last Tuesday October 6th:

Federal Reserve Chairman Powell called for a stimulus package as the economic recovery is pretty weak and there’s certainly no chance of inflation returning for years. He warned of “dire economic consequences” without another stimulus. That was first thing Tuesday morning.

It immediately boosted the Dow (let’s just use that one index as an example) by over 200 points.

President Trump doesn’t make speeches – he just tweets: At 12:48 pm it was that “I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating.” In other words: Forget any stimulus. In less than a minute, the Dow dropped over 400 points to be down 200 points.

No stimulus package means no money for airlines, small businesses, or for millions of unemployed through no fault of their own.

But the bummed out market and investors weren’t done yet. And it turns out – neither was Trump: Less than seven hours and many tweets later, Trump had totally reversed himself: His tweet at 7:54 pm was that: “The House and Senate should immediately approve …(a stimulus plan)…Have this money – will sign now!”

Fast forward to the next mornings’ opening of the markets and the Dow was up 400 points in the first half hour. It finished the day up 530.

Three lessons here:

1..You may not be a fan of our Liberal government, but for all its faults, at least here in Canada we have an economic policy plan that lasts longer than 7 hours and 6 minutes at a time.

2..This is a small insight into why it’s next to impossible to actively manage your own investments in the short term.

3..The lack of another round of help to individuals (at least so far) will have an impact on the election – especially in Florida.

And with Florida in mind, I’ll give you my fearless US election  predictions next week…

This Is Not About Politics – Sort Of…

Unfortunately, a fair bit of media coverage on the economy, as well as opinions or commentary, revolves around politics. Now, don’t read my politics into these comments, because it’s not there. But here are a couple of observations from the last month:

Before the last Federal Budget, two opposition parties announced they would be voting against it. Fair enough. But they did so a week BEFORE the budget! How is that any different from going to see your boss and he or she tells you: The answer is no, now what’s the question? How long would you enjoy that type of relationship?

If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem: Many politicians had a lot of criticism about the Federal Budget, but no alternatives or better solutions. That’s just sad. If your boss sits in on a client meeting and afterwards tells you the dozens of things you did wrong, how helpful is that? Where was he or she when you needed help? Where is the value in telling you after the meeting that it had no chance of success? Where was their feedback or suggestions when you needed them? Are there some politicians just wanting the government to fail, or the recession to get worse for political value? How sad, if that were true…

We should do more – way more in bailouts and stimulus money. OK, maybe that’s true. But would you spend $30,000 fixing your roof when you can get it done for $5,000? If it were “free” money, we would all love to get some of it. But can we please remember that the only spending the government does is with our money? There isn’t free money around, sorry. When we remember that, we appreciate it a lot more when politicians are careful with it. Plus, there is not enough money in the world, or enough printing presses, to print more to make up for an entire economic slowdown. It might seem like it, listening to some people, but it just isn’t true.

When Prime Minister Harper (who is actually an economist!) talked about value in the market, he was hammered by large parts of the media. Yet, two weeks ago, when U.S. President Obama talked about virtually the same thing, the general feedback was that his optimism was great. Excuse me? Same types of comments interpreted so differently? Only a political bias can reconcile those extremes.

Federal deficits are bad or good: Again, that depends on who you ask, and their political view. But do remember that we really don’t allow our governments to have much of a surplus before we generally demand the money be spent on this or that project, or that our taxes be lowered. While we all need to have an emergency savings account, we likely don’t allow our government to have that for bad economic times! So what choice do they have but to go into a temporary deficit?