Markets Macro Technicals Sven Henrich

Hitting Rock Bottom

rockbottomWell America, congratulations. We’ve hit rock bottom. This has been the most embarrassing presidential election cycle in our lifetimes. If we believe the talking points over just the past 2 weeks we have 2 choices: On the one hand, we get to choose between a narcissistic pussy grabbing accused child molester with incestious tendencies who will blow up the world if he gets into an emotional twitter fit at 3:00 am. On the other hand, we get a accused rapist defending and satanist occult supported criminal who rigged the system to give the bankers their money’s worth ready to sell American policy to the highest bidder.

Before you accuse me of false equivalency: I get all the arguments about the cons of both candidates and ironically this may be one of the main symptoms here: People more likely are voting against someone as opposed to for someone.

Indeed, as we all know by now, this is the first time in American history both candidates are disliked by a majority of the American population. Sorry folks, but this is what the system has produced this time around. And the reality is this: If either candidate were confronted with a candidate that the majority of Americans actually supported neither Clinton or Trump would stand a chance. Hillary Clinton knows this thesis to be true as Barack Obama proved it true in 2008.

My point is a broader one: Neither Trump or Clinton will have a majority mandate, either within the population or Congress, to get anything done.

Whatever your opinion of both candidates they are damaged goods on arrival in one form or another. Trump is so hated by both parties it seems he couldn’t even get Congress to approve a kid’s birthday party. The same Congress that has a mere 17% approval rating with the American public.

The likely scenario for a Clinton presidency: It will be drama from day one as the investigations will be non stop and who really can tell what the ultimate outcome will be? Unless Democrats win both the Senate and the House all Clinton supported legislation will be dead on arrival in the House.

Gridlock at its finest, just like Wall Street likes it.

Oh yes this election has been quite the show and if the goal was to avoid talking about the issues then, by this measure, it’s been a smashing success.

By Wednesday of this week, contested or not, we will know the winner of the 2016 contest. Unfortunately the true loser of the 2016 election is already known: Us, the American people.

debtMay I gently remind folks that under both parties the middle class has shrunk, the rich have gotten richer and debt continues to spiral ever higher with absolutely no end in sight no matter who is president? Is this not precisely the illusion of choice George Carlin has talked about?

Not to dive into an exhaustive list of political issues, let me just highlight one issue as an example, one I would hope all Americans can agree on in principle: People shouldn’t be left to die or get financially ruined because they can’t afford ever out of control spiraling health care expenses.  Access to good health care in the year 2016 in the most wealthy country on the planet should not be a privilege for the few, but a basic human right, a basic requirement for a better society all around. Can we just agree on this?

And I will make it personal: My wife died 10 years ago from brain cancer. Doctors couldn’t save her and there is nobody to blame, it is a nasty disease. In our case: We had good health insurance, but still I was left with huge out of pocket expenses thanks to co-payments, deductibles, etc. My bills amounted into the tens of thousands of dollars. Her entire medical treatments amounted to over $500K. “Sorry your wife is dead, but you still owe us $50K, pay up or we sue you”. Nice. Europeans are horrified when they hear stories such as this.

And just as insane: Medical bills continue to be the largest source of bankruptcies in the US.

Fast forward 10 years. Obamacare was supposed to help on many fronts, but it really hasn’t. Not because the intentions weren’t there, but because Americans seem stuck with a political system that can’t develop good, practical solutions for society at large. Rather, at its best, it produces solutions focused on symptoms, but not root causes. Instead we get patch up solutions for public political consumption, but nothing that solves the substance of a problem.

Case in point: About 2 months ago I saw a Facebook post done on behalf of a friend of mine. Gofundme was the plea. Her insurance wouldn’t cover her treatment for a recurring breast cancer and doctors wouldn’t start the treatment unless the full payment was secured in a advance. Really? Really. She was gainfully employed, had a full time, well paying job. But guess what? It wasn’t enough although hundreds of people donated.

This last week she died. She was 38 years old. She died not getting access to a treatment that may or may not have saved her life. She died having to hustle folks for funds to just have a chance to get access to another treatment option and she died while worrying about being financially ruined by her illness. Just horrid.

Is this the society we want? People forced to beg friends on gofundme for help so they can get access to medical treatment? Is this the society we are? Is this truly the best we can do?

America has some of the most brilliant medical doctors and hospitals, but it has the financially crappiest “health care” system of the developed world. It’s awful. And frankly it is embarrassing and all Americans should demand better solutions from the people wanting the jobs of “leaders”.

And yet no party and no president has been able to solve it. Cosmetic in nature more often than not, and never fulfilling its promise.

I see people on twitter moaning about increases in health care premiums for 2017. I don’t blame them. But if any of you think things will get better with either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump may I suggest you are highly impressionable?

Indeed, the main argument I hear across the noise is this: It will be worse with the other candidate.

Great. This is what our political process has devolved into: Voting for the candidate that causes the least damage.

Not a satisfying enough proposition from my perspective.

Why has our political process devolved into gridlock and incompetence?

Oh don’t blame the politicians. Yes they are handing out the liquor, but the fault is us. We are the drunks that can’t say no to another drink. And with each election cycle we demand higher proof stuff. The problem is we don’t demand actual proof. We don’t even demand good solutions. We say we do, but we are not willing to work for them. Instead we blame the politicians.

I’m not a politician and I’m not sure how long I would last if I were to even consider given this profession a go. Based on everything I see being a politician is a complete nightmare and I surely am not alone in this assessment. And sadly this likely has a very detrimental impact on our democracy: Many good, well meaning and capable people won’t consider entering the mud pit that our political process has become.

Whose fault is that? Well it’s our fault actually, because we don’t demand better. And we don’t act better.

It’s a shame and we are all paying the price. What kind of people are we then left with willing to endure the utter hate, lies, threats and character assassination that the job ultimately comes with?

Well we are witnessing it now. People we don’t like or support nor that have the mandate to fundamentally change things for the better and who have major baggage on some level or another.

The US has so much access to wealth and intellectual firepower why can’t it even produce a decent health care system for its people?

The answer to this question lies in an uncomfortable truth. Truth itself is dying.

This process known as the race for the US presidency has been on a long term declining path as society is becoming ever more polarized.

The reasons are complex and frankly unsettling.

To start with: The vast majority of the American population is woefully uninformed about most issues and this makes us incredibly susceptible to propaganda and misinformation as many cannot tell fact from fiction.

Why are we uniformed? Part of it is the reality of life: People are busy making ends meet, raising families, and of course entertainment. I’ll be so bold and state: Most Americans are not hitting the internet or library and reading up on policy details during the weekend.

Case in point: 70% of Americans have no clue who Janet Yellen is, arguably one of the most important figures in economic policy. Yet they don’t know who she is, or what she does. Is it important to know? Well, if you want to be knowledgeable about the world you live in you should have a basic understanding about how the world works. And if you don’t, how can you claim to be an informed voter at the booth and make an educated decision?

I use this as an example. But you may get my drift. On what basis are people actually voting?

The answer should be scaring the life out of all of us: Emotion. Emotion based on what? Fear, propaganda, lies and utter nonsense that is propagated across social media, the internet in general, thousands of blogs and websites and/or media organizations that have a very specific political agenda or interest.

My supposition: Most Americans, bless their hearts as I believe most of them to be good people who want to do the right thing, have no idea as to the validity of their political convictions. They have not studied the issues in detail, in many cases they don’t have the educational background to analyze the veracity of the information they come across, nor do they take the time to truly inform themselves. In many cases these issues may be self-inflicted, but the main message is this:

Our new world of media and information has balkanized voters, leaving them with less knowledge despite more information, and leaving them most vulnerable to emotional based issue baiting, often based on false information. and perception is unfortunately false reality for many.

And this false reality is a direct threat to all Americans as ultimately objective truth and reality are the only tools with which we can better our society. And given the poor track record of actual results achieved and the poor quality of the current political process witnessed, truth is on its deathbed.

And it takes all of us to stand up and say: Stop it. We don’t buy what you are selling. And what both Trump and Clinton are guilty of in this election is this: They have served us reasons to vote against the other candidate, but no vision or viable path of how, specifically, they will actually accomplish practical solutions for the American people.

The time for platitudes and empty promises has long passed. America deserves better than this horror show that it has been presented with.

It has been said that sometimes things need to break down before they can get fixed. And hopefully this election cycle instills a sense of enough is enough for Americans. We don’t want to go any lower than this. We can’t take it anymore.

We need solutions for the better. And these 2 private organizations, the Republicans and the Democrats, have utterly failed the American people. While Wall Street may cheer the sense of gridlock, gridlock is the opposite of progress. And America, and the world, needs progress.

Following the election we will move from a period of uncertainty to certainty. But will we move to a period of good solutions?

From my perch I see no improvement until the system is forced to improve. And currently Americans still play the partisan, emotional role the system wants them to play.

It really is time for a change. But the individuals running for office are not the agents of change. The change must come from us, the American people, and it must start with the responsibility of wanting to be informed. With truth and facts.

bls2So folks, may I gently suggest to perhaps watch less reality TV, not spend so much caring about the Kardashians, or the latest Call of Duty game and actually use some more of that free time for understanding issues? Pretty please.

Analyze what you actually read. Take time to study up on facts. Expose yourself to different opinions. Don’t believe everything you hear, see or read. Just because it’s on TV or on the internet does not make it true. Understand the context, understand potential motives and agendas. I know it can be frustrating, but can it be more frustrating than this election cycle?

Understand what is a solution to a problem. Which candidate/party is actually addressing how a problem is being solved. Anyone can promise anything. How can they actually accomplish it?

timeOur candidates don’t feel any pressure to answer these questions. Because we don’t demand it of them. What is it we do? We react to the shock headlines. The click through data says so. And this is what news organizations react to. Because it brings eyeballs. And eyeballs bring advertising traffic which sells products, such as games and toys and TV shows which we love to consume. Cause this is all we do outside of work. We spend less time on education than anything else. The data says so.

And voila, hence we have the system we got. So don’t complain about it. Do something about it. Think for yourselves and let this election be rock bottom. Please. Because we need better people to want to run for office. And given this toxic climate that we inadvertently helped build with our self inflicted ignorance we won’t get any better candidates until have better informed voters.

But we deserve better. And we need better.

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4 Responses »

  1. Trump a child molester? where is this coming from? Even you have a political bias I see. This is why nothing gets done as everybody has there own axe to grind. disappointing.

  2. Hello Northy…Great article but just remember there actually are a large majority of Trump voters like myself who stay informed and are voting against the corrupt establishment of both parties and the MSM…Even Trump knows this is a populist movement and not really about him…Voters now realize Trump is the real deal because all the elite establishment hates him…Many Trump voters are angry now because we realize the polls are rigged by the media organizations and the election results can be rigged as well…. Do you really believe 50% of all those Democrat voters who were sold out by Bernie Sanders will now just vote for HRC ?….Hope you are doing well !

  3. We will see what America will be in 5 years. I hope the best for all.

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