JOIN PETER at the New Orleans Investment Conference
Illusion will be Replaced with Harsh Reality
This is dangerous stuff. This is the same thing thing that was being said when George Bush was President. Just because you’re a Republican you don’t have to claim that anything that was done by another Republican is great, in order to make the Democrats look bad. Ultimately that comes back and bites you because you loose credibility when the economy turns down. When it turns out that it was just a bubble, it was just an illusion, and when the illusion is replaced with harsh reality, you’ve got nothing and it makes it easier for the other side to scapegoat Capitalism for the problems and to hold out more government as the solution.
The Trump Tariff Put
One of the more ridiculous ideas that are floating around now is the existence of the so-called “Trump Tariff Put”. I’ve heard a lot of talk about that and basically, it goes like this: Trump is very concerned about the stock market; yes, he is threatening these tariffs – we have additional tariffs. If the tariffs actually prove to be harmful to the economy or to the stock market or to both, Trump can simply soften his stance, or maybe just surrender in the trade war. Just give up on the tariffs and the stock market will come roaring back. If the stock market is falling because of the tariffs and then we take the tariffs away, there’s no reason the stock market won’t just rally back up. So in other words, there’s this put. It’ s heads, the market wins, tails nobody loses.
Even If the Market Goes Down, You’re Going to Get Bailed Out
As long as the tariffs aren’t doing any damage, the markets keep going up, but if it turns out that the tariffs do damage, then they get rid of them, and the market resumes, even if it temporarily went down. So that is the Trump put, just like the Greenspan put, which became the Bernanke put, the Yellen put (whether or not there’s a Powell put…). The idea was, “Hey, if the market ever falls, the Federal Reserve will slash rates to make it go back up again. So you can’t lose, even if the market goes down, you’re going to get bailed out – whether by the Federal Reserve or by Donald Trump.
If You’re Looking to Invent Another Reason to Be Bullish and Not to Be Worried…
I think this type of attitude is more just wishful thinking. It’s the kind of attitude that permeates a mania, a bubble. It’s the fearless, “Hey if you’re looking to invent another reason to be bullish and not to be worried…” If this stock market really starts to fall, it’s not going to matter if we call off the tariffs. If the market is falling, chances are it is falling not simply because of the tariffs. The tariffs might be one element that is a problem for the markets, but it may simply be one of a number, and just getting rid of the tariffs will not be enough to turn around a bear market in stocks, which is long overdue.