How on God’s green earth are we supposed to make sense, from an economic and investment portfolio view, of what is happening?
A recession could change everything
It has been quite a while since we have had a recession. When we do have one, it’s going to further limit our choices.
The economic realities of the world have not shifted much in one week. We still have too much debt, not just in the US but around the world. Budget deficits are out of control, not just in the US but around the world.
The reactionary forces of protectionism are loose, and the results might not be salutary for investors. Markets are stretched to valuations that have historically been dangerous.
The choices we have already made make the future we face uncertain and difficult. I know that many Republican leaders are pondering one of my favorite Churchill quotes: “The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult.”
Dealing with the deficit, the debt, taxes, healthcare, ISIS, and a whole host of problems in a world that is transforming around us is no less difficult today than it was last week—before we had an election.
There will obviously be different answers to those problems, and we will often disagree about them,
The Trump administration could change the world
Before we rush to judgment about the path the new administration is opening up, let’s see who Trump brings in to work with him.
Frankly, there is nothing that thrills my heart more than the potential—the hope—that Newt Gingrich will help or maybe lead the effort to install a new paradigm at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
I have been writing about this for years. The FDA is the biggest obstacle to health care in the world. Period. It does not need to be reformed; it needs to be replaced with a 21st-century drug regulatory authority. (The food administration guys seem to do a pretty good job.)
I don’t care whether you are an arch liberal or a rock-ribbed conservative, better healthcare and a longer health span should be of paramount interest to you. And the people who are blocking that future should be moved out of the way.
And let me point out that 80% of the revolutionary biotechnology comes from the US. If we could simply free that up for small business and investors to exploit, we could create hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of high-paying new jobs.
Winter is coming
But no matter whom he appoints, there will be no miracles to suddenly dissolve the problems that loom before us. For many of those problems, we are left only with choices that are limited and unpleasant.
This country is divided on the way forward, but I think it’s safe to say that a majority of our citizens are looking for change. The Trump administration has four years to effect change that a majority will find favor with. Otherwise there will be a new administration.
I remain, as ever, a cautious optimist. But one who realistically knows that the future is uncertain and that winter is coming.
John Mauldin is the chairman of Mauldin Economics, which publishes a growing number of investing resources, including both free and paid publications aimed at helping investors do better in today's challenging economy. Read Mauldin’s riveting special report, How the High Priests of Economics Are Leading Us to Monetary Hell. Click here to get your free copy now.
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