A Mar-a-Lago of the Mind

By David Stockman  |  March 12, 2019

I’ve spent enough time in jackrabbit country to know that most of them lead pretty dull lives…. No wonder some of them drift over the line into cheap thrills once in a while; there has to be a powerful adrenaline rush in crouching by the side of a road, waiting for the next set of headlights to come along, then streaking out of the bushes with split-second timing and making it across to the other side just inches in front of the speeding front wheels.

– Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72(1973)

The Donald’s mind is a dim cavern.

But his monumental ego has pumped it full of factoids and half-baked fantasies about how he’s achieved MAGA in little more than 24 months.

What he’s done is pile several steaming policy turds – his Trade War, his Border War, his and the GOP’s Fiscal Debauch, his “cheap money” rhetorical bombs – atop a lame recovery that was going down for the count anyway.

And, when it does succumb to recession, there will be hell to pay… (…if you don’t read The Stockman Letter and cover yourself with The Stockman Model…)

The Federal Reserve is desperate for dry powder. Despite the Powell Pirouette, our monetary central planners have little flexibility to reflate enough and in time for a V-shaped rebound.

And Uncle Sam’s $1.2 trillion borrowing requirement this year takes us even farther into no man’s land; it’s a helluva thing to do this late in a weak cycle.

It’ll bleed into $2 trillion of red ink when GDP and employment roll over and Corporate America launches its next round of brutal “restructuring” plans, including layoffs and liquidations…

Once the market hits one of the many ’bergs in its path and Main Street is sunk by CEOs and CFOs, Capitol Hill Republicans will jump ship.

Then, it’s only a matter of time before the Great Disruptor is exiled to Mar-a-Lago…

We saw it with Tricky Dick, who’d won reelection in a landslide in 1972. He’d also 26 years on the rubber chicken circuit. Nixon campaigned for Republican candidates of all stripe, including aspiring U.S. Senators, governors, state legislators, county commissions, mayors, and dog catchers.

Yet, within 18 months, the stock market had declined by 38%. The U.S. economy was heading into the drink. And the president’s poll numbers were plunging.

Suddenly, the Good Ship Nixon was empty and silent. GOP elders had him on the next helicopter off the South Lawn…

But Trump is no Nixon.

Tricky Dick was deeply insecure. He was also a political realist who knew when he was no longer loved.

The Donald is a clueless megalomaniac. He’s so in love with himself that he won’t notice the lapse everywhere else.

I have little doubt that, when this aging, wheezing, debt-ridden, Bubble Finance-blown “recovery” comes to its appointed end, the sense of betrayal on Main Street will be bitter and vindictive.

The Donald was never viewed in Flyover Country as a charismatic political savior anyway. He was just the available vehicle for “left behind” voters’ version of a Hail Mary…

Donald Trump pictured, fists clenched, yelling into a microphone.

Besides, the electoral math doesn’t lie. The Donald won the electoral college by a hairline fluke in a few dozen Rust Belt counties in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Iowa. It was a 90,000-vote margin among 136 million cast.

He had no political IOUs to collect from before then. And in 2018 the GOP rank and file got shellacked – just 50 days after Peak Trump on the S&P 500 Index.
More importantly, unlike Nixon, Trump is an unhinged street-brawler.

He rode a trail of bile, bombast, braggadocio, and bullshit to the Oval Office. And that’s how he intends to stay there, judging by his recent appearance at the annual Conservative Political Action Committee conference.

A GOP desperate made desperate with fear of the Mother of Electoral Wipeouts in 2020 may beg and plead. But the Great Disruptor won’t go quietly.

America’s “long nightmare” might be just getting started.

Protection Clause

Desperate times call for… “common sense” measures.

And these are desperate times… Markets are corrupted by monetary central planning. They’re confused. And the road back is going to be treacherous.

We’re looking at a major re-pricing for all financial assets. And thousand-point intraday or day-to-day swings are part of that equation. Those can be frightening… for “buy and hold” investors.

I have a different approach, one that combines strategy and tactics into a plan flexible enough for you to survive and thrive amid the coming chaos. It’s called “The Stockman Model.”

All we’re after is a little stability, perhaps a chance to pocket a windfall when opportunity presents…

To common sense,

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David Stockman

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David Stockman

David Stockman is the ultimate Washington insider turned iconoclast. He began his career in Washington as a young man and quickly rose through the ranks of the Republican Party to become the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street.MORE FROM AUTHOR