Will Republicans Dump Trump for Pence? – Ep. 249

Summary: Republicans face chaos around Trump’s political difficulties, causing some to consider potential advantages of a President Pence.  Market volatility has not yet brought the DJIA below pre-Trump numbers while the dollar index slides and gold moves up. Meanwhile, household debt is higher than 2008 levels even as fewer Americans own homes.

  • It looks like I picked a very volatile week to go out to Las Vegas, although I didn’t pick this week; the week picked me
  • I have two conferences that I am attending here: the Las Vegas Money Show and the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference  otherwise known as SALT
  • A lot is going on, certainly the political chaos in the United States, the Dow was down 365 points yesterday based on new revelations with respect to why Donald Trump may have fired FBI Director James Comey
  • Was he doing it because Comey refused to give up on his investigation of Trump’s Russian ties?
  • Now you’ve got Congress members on both sides of the aisle questioning whether the allegations are true
  • Apparently Comey has some contemporaneous notes of conversations he had with Donald Trump
  • Donald Trump may have asked him to give up the investigation
  • Although from what I’ve heard President Trump said it would be nice if Comey gave up the investigation – was that some kind of idle threat?
  • Did that mean “You’d better do it, or you’re fired.”
  • I have no idea, but this obviously is creating concerns for the Trump Administration
  • The market, as far as I’m concerned, is really not down very much at all, given how much it had rallied based on nothing but the optimism surrounding expectations for all the good things that would happen as a result of a Trump Presidency
  • We were going to get tax reform, we were going to get regulations; we were going to have all this stimulus
  • Not only has none of these things materialized yet, even before the scandals broke, it was obvious that even if we got any of the promised legislation
  • Of course I’ve always said it would not even help the economy
  • But regardless, people actually think it it is going to, which created the big stock market rally
  • Even before this controversy it was obvious that the expected improvements were going to take a lot longer than people thought
  • Now this is going to delay Trump’s agenda even more
  • Because now, rather than concentrating on tax reform or repealing ObamaCare, or stimulus, now they’ve got to deal with damage control to hold on to the Presidency and fend off these calls for impeachment
  • Now they’ve got to get a special prosecutor and all of this is going to add additional delays
  • Of course, a lot of momentum we had in Q1, in spite of weak GDP, you had all this confidence, all this enthusiasm on the part of Republicans and Trump voters
  • And it was all this confidence that was supposed to lead to extra economic growth
  • Businesses were going to have more confidence to invest and hire
  • And consumers were going to have more confidence to spend
  • Well certainly, what is happening now in the White House is going to shake some of that confidence
  • Some of the people who were so enthusiastic about Trump don’t even know if Trump is going to be there anymore
  • And to the extent that is is there, he is politically damaged
  • Now he has to use a lot of his political capital just to secure his position rather than to advance his agenda
  • Whether or not that agenda would actually help the economy
  • Despite that, the drop in the stock market is not very large
  • Look at what’s happening in Brazil
  • Maybe one of the reasons the U.S. stock market is not getting crushed today is because the Brazilian market is getting obliterated
  • Brazilian stocks today are down around 10-20% based on the Brazilian political scandal
  • Where they have an audio recording of the President of Brazil offering a bribe
  • Their market is crashing because they are calling for resignation or impeachment
  • This shows you what can happen with a smaller market when everybody wants to get through the same door at the same time
  • The liquidity is not there and prices collapse
  • If we had a drop today similar to the one in Brazil, the Federal Reserve would be out there cutting rates, telegraphing QE4 – they would do whatever they could to reverse the market decline
  • Yesterday the Atlanta Fed came out and upped their estimate again for Q2
  • It’s back at 4.3% now, ignoring the potential impact on confidence
  • We also got news out yesterday regarding household debt.
  • Total household debt is now higher than it was in 2008 before the financial crisis
  • This is an all-time high
  • You would expect this to be a negative report
  • Instead it is being reported as, “There’s nothing to worry about!”
  • The big difference that nobody is talking about is that mortgage debt is much lower than it was in 2008 because fewer people own their own homes

 

Peter Schiff is an economist, financial broker/dealer, author, frequent guest on national news, and host of the Peter Schiff Show Podcast.

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