It struck me, after my tale of the cute little piggies yesterday, how grateful some of you were in your comments for a nice upbeat story in which nobody got hurt. A welcome change from the gloom and doom was the general drift.
When you think about it, this should be no surprise. I think people are sick of all the negative stuff that washes over us every day, from the coming recession which may already be here to the pending inflation that is possibly coming along with it to the massive write downs sweeping throught the banking industry to the fact that more people seem to care about Britney Spears than about the War in Iraq.
We want to hear some good news now and then, feel that world is a bright and hopeful place, not a bottomless sump pump of murk and schweck.
The good news is that there is good news — so much I can hardly contain it all. Let me give you some in case you need it.
Chairman Bernanke has just indicated that he intends to do whatever he can to stimulate the economy without making the same mistakes as his predecessors. I have no idea how he will do this, but then I’m not expected to. My job and yours is to feel a warm glow about his intentions and then take that jolly mood into our investment decisions. You know how much the fate of the market is determined by emotional factors. This could be just the lift we all need!
Sure, stocks have been taken a beating. But anybody with even a modest little portfolio of bonds is feeling all right. Shouldn’t the gutless conservatives like me who hate to gamble with our savings have a day in the sun now and then?
Think about our political process. It’s going great guns. There hasn’t been so much genuine fervor on both sides of the aisle in years. Young people are energized and enthused and voting their hearts and minds as never before. That’s terrific for our nation. Plus, for those with an eye on local economies, this ferment — not only the candidates but also on the issues — will pump millions of dollars of advertising into the marketplace as voters fight over the wisdom of casino gambling, for instance, as well as who should be the CEO of the world’s most powerful multi-national corporation.
And okay, it’s true that the housing market is in the privy. This has of course stuck a finger in the eye of a lot of dumb entities that loaned money to people who had more dreams than cash to pay for them. Bad? Not completely. First, it’s good when large institutions are punished for greed and stupidity, and their leaders are forced to depart in ignominy. Our entire ethical system is built on the concept of appropriately public disgrace, from the days of colonial Williamsburg, when they put miscreants into the stockade, to today, when TMZ, CNN and Gawker do the job.
Better still, a depressed housing market means that people who DO have a little bit of cash can now afford to move into that dream home whose price was formerly jacked up to ridiculous heights by the idiotic inflation of the market by morons weilding cheap debt. Last year, in my little California community, people were expecting to get $1.5 million dollars for a two-bedroom, one-bathroom cottage with no property. Now these little bungalows sit there with their real estate signs hanging dementedly from one hook for months. Then they go off-sale entirely. When they return, I’ll bet they’re one step closer to people who might actually be able to purchase them with a little more equity.
A few days ago, Apple (AAPL) announced a whole host of new stuff, including tons of movies to be available on demand, a free upgrade of some kind for my Apple TV, and a new skinny-Minnie laptop that sounds super boffo keen. Every year, one of my happiest events is my bi-annual purchase of something I didn’t have before and didn’t know I needed until it was invented. Can’t wait for these, either! Thanks, Uncle Steve!
Beyond that? Consider this: every downside has an upside for somebody. When stocks fall, Warren Buffet does a little dance. For him, because he’s so smart, the moderation of prices represents a chance to invest in companies who are suddenly unappreciated for what they do. I hope he’s looking at mine. Hey! Mr. Buffet! Over here!
Let’s try to keep our heads about ourselves. As a wise man by the name of Chauncey Gardiner once observed, there will be growth in the spring. Until then, bundle up and try to enjoy the cold. I hear it’s good for the circulation.