Wednesday, October 3, 2012

10/3/2012 before the debate

                Politics is the art of using truth to create a lie.  It’s worse than Mark Twain’s “there’s lies, damned lies, and statistics.”  These folks don’t even use whole statistical sets, but pull out a snippet and spin it into something more farcical than anything dreamed up in the Land of Oz.

                When Clinton said, “No president, not even me, could have erased all of the damage” he was exactly right.  But it was a meaningless statement.  We aren’t looking for “all” of the damage to be healed, but “as much” of the damage as possible.

                So what is possible?  Romney’s 12 million jobs?

                Maybe – but that has less to do with differences between Romney and Obama as with the historical trends of secular bear markets.

                Granted, I DO think there are differences between Obama and Romney.  But you would never know from the cropped “truth” each tries to spin.

                Some months ago we looked at the secular projection model, and it’s useful to take another look now:

                The model is a simple comparison of the percentage of working age people in the whole population, inflated to correspond to the historic growth rate of the S&P.  I should note the caveat that Bernanke’s quantitative easing is NOT factored into the model, and it could warp prices above the secular limit in the near future.  All of the comments below will be with respect to today’s VALUE of the dollar.  A 30% devaluation of the dollar, for instance, could theoretically raise prices by 30%.

                That said…

                The model can be charted forward by 46 years, because it’s based on the birth rate 46 years ago (i.e. the average age of people in the workforce is about 46 years old… which means they were BORN 46 years ago).

                I know, it’s not rocket science, but to quote Scotty’s best line from the bad movie, Star Trek 3, “the more they overwork the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.”

                The average S&P value for 2012 on the model should be 1346.55.  The 50 week moving average is now 1340.94.  With those two numbers so close, it’s fair to show what we should expect from the next Presidential term – regardless who is elected:



                That looks like a recession in 2013, followed by a recovery in 2014.  Happy days are here again?

                Well, no, because:



                Let’s say Obama is re-elected.  The economy will recover in spite of his regulatory nightmare, and another Democrat will likely be elected President in 2016.  THAT President will inherit a disaster that will completely discredit the Democratic Party and lead to the next semi mythical Reagan-esque Republican who finally takes the market to the skies during a robust two terms:



                In other words, an Obama victory will vindicate Obama (in spite of himself) over the next four years, but end in total disaster for the Democrat party by 2020.

                What about a Romney victory?

                Well, if Romney were elected, he would win re-election in a landslide in 2016 with full expectations of being the next Reagan, only to see utter collapse by the end of his second term.

                The ONLY way Romney could save himself and his party during the second term would be by a wholesale conversion of our economy into as much domestic energy production as humanly possible.  If he failed to do so by the end of his first term, he would end his second term as the re-incarnation of the last Bush administration (which was not entirely Bush’s fault, as the above chart shows: we were due an economic retrenchment from the retirement of the same baby boomers that caused the 1982-2000 economic boom).

                In short:

Ø  A secular bull market is created by a rising proportion of working aged people in the population.

Ø  A secular bear market is created by a falling or stagnant proportion of working aged people in the population.

                That’s it – end of statement.

                So, therefore:

Ø  In a secular bull market you invest in people: stocks and bonds.

Ø  In a secular bear market you invest in resources: commodities.

                Granted, my model is stock centric, but right now I’m talking about whoever is elected President next month.  WHOEVER is elected, they MUST convert as much of the economy into a commodity basis as possible during the next four years, or else the 2017-2020 Presidential term will be a repeat of the 2005-2008 term.  But this time it won’t be a banking crisis; it will be a sovereign debt disaster and the collapse of the world’s reserve currency: the U.S. Dollar.

                And this is why I’ll vote for Romney, in spite of the fact he’s a crappy candidate: he wants to drill more than Obama does.  For all of their ideological differences, this is the greatest in terms of economic impact.  Romney’s China bashing and Obama’s billionaire bashing is just demagoguery gone to seed.  Neither should be allowed to follow through, and a balanced Congress will not likely do so.

                But energy policy… yes, that’s a big difference.  Obama’s clean energy is based on yesterday’s theories of solar and wind.  The real future is in fusion and biotech (which can use genetically designed photo and geo thermal synthesis to scrub waste CO2 out of the air and put it back into a cheap alternative to gasoline that makes ethanol look like the practical joke it really is).  The future is not corn, or windmills, or solar panels.  That’s 1970s science, and it’s just a waste of time.

                In any case, regardless of who is elected, we’ll likely have a successful 4 years after a scary 2013.  If it’s Obama, he’ll be hailed as a genius who almost saved his party… except for whoever the idiot was who got elected in 2016 and ruined it all…

                But that will be a myth.

                And if Romney, he’ll be the master of his own fate, which will be sealed or saved by how intensely he can transition us to drill our way out of this hole.  Whether Romney is loved or hated in 2020 will be completely up to him.  I doubt he’s up to it, but I know Obama isn’t (because he has no reason to be):  Obama will be focused on his legacy in 2016.  That’s the WRONG YEAR to think about.  2020 is the year to think about, and only Romney has a reason to care.

                Now, to be clear, I DO want clean energy, but the way to get there isn’t by making dirty energy more expensive; it’s by making clean energy cheaper.  There are only two things that can fit the bill: 1) nuclear power; most specifically, fusion power; and 2) genetically designed biofuel sources.

                Clean energy is not a question of if, but when.  And chasing after windmills is Obama’s folly.  We need a thriving (or at least surviving) economy during the next eight years to finally bridge the technological gap between coal and fusion, and between gas and a real biofuel (not ethanol).  But killing coal isn’t going to create fusion, and denying Keystone isn’t going to create a true bio fuel source.

                No, it’s far simpler: creating fusion will kill coal, and creating a true bio fuel source will kill gasoline.  Fusion will stop pumping CO2 into the air, and a true bio fuel source will actually SCRUB CO2 out of the air.

                But we have to get there, and we have to pay for the research to get there.  And that’s not by printing money out of thin air or by borrowing our way into oblivion.  It’s by using the resources we have NOW, to fund the creation of resources that would make the entire planet an economic superpower.

                In short, the path to clean energy is paid for with dirty energy.





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