February 08, 2018

Wall Street vs. Main Street, and also
economic robustness vs. fragility

First, a, 1,000-point drop, as in Monday's, on the Dow Jones isn't THAT big. Yeah, 4 percent.

But, I"m old enough to remember the 1987 plunge, and plunge it was. The 508-point drop on the biggest day, as a percentage of the Dow, was far larger. That drop, of 22.61 percent, was also far bigger than any single day's drop during the 2008 financial crisis, though not part of the same type of trend. See Wiki for more, including that Monday's drop didn't even make the top 20 for worst one-day declines. I suspect it doesn't even make the top 40. In fact, the whole set of drops from late last week through Mondy

Second, the market is overheated. This is the reverse of gold going through the roof shortly after Obama took office and anybody with a brain knows that.

Third, Wall Street is not Main Street. Unfortunately, all Republicans, including small-town Main Street ones, I think think that it is. So do a majority of national level Democrats.

This is doubly true when trading is all computer-driven.

Fourth, job quit rates hit a 17-year high last month. Wall Street got butt-hurt over possibly having to pay employees more money.

Fifth, I've said for more than a year now that I expect a recession, probably by the end of this year. And, it may not be bad, but it doesn't have to be bad to be bad.

Despite Republicans, and perhaps grudgingly, perhaps not, centrist as well as conservative economists touting the current economic robustness, it ain't.

Nine years after the big crash and we're just now getting the "upward pressure on wages" that Wall Street purportedly hates.

The current drop is indeed just a correction, not a bear market. But that doesn't mean the Dow will stay here. One thing that will result from the Fed moving interest rates up is that the Dow will naturally fall further as other investments gain attractiveness. Whether Dow doublers-down make the Dow's longer, larger readjustment into a recession cause celebre I don't know. If they do, it's their fault. To riff on Chris Tomlinson, traders and companies have gotten drunk on cheap money.

But, I think a recession is still headed here for other reasons. And, even if it's not bad, per two paragraphs above, we don't have a robust economy. Even a mild recession will hurt hard, given continued growth in income inequality that happened under Obama's watch.

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