It's so weird to hear nothing but doom and gloom from government officials including Kathleen Sebelius who actually said yesterday morning that airports were already suffering with long lines. I was shocked by this bald-face attempt to stoke anger in people. Airport delays? Are you kidding me? I travel through LaGuardia and JFK where delays are part of the daily program - but now we can blame them on sequestration and mean old Republicans. The blame game is the shame game.
We are nearing the point where every inconvenience will have its genesis in GOP politics (unless it's clearly from global warming) from traffic jams, to slow computer jams and to low jam supplies at the local supermarket. While we continue this assault on success and this demonization of wealth, the phenomenon of wealth growth continues. Forbes is out with its richest list of 1,426 billionaires. There are 210 newcomers and 23 names under 40 years old (see list). What's interesting is how high tax nations are falling behind on the rich list or simply hanging on via old inherited wealth. No matter what anyone says, the inability to generate super wealth has negative consequences on even the poorest citizens.
While places like Ukraine are seeing wealth never experienced before, the rich in old welfare nations in Europe are just waiting for their richest citizens to pass on to confiscate even more of their wealth. The following are nations with taxes of 48% or more on incomes of less than $100,000 and the average age of their billionaires.
> Sweden 66
> Denmark 58
> Netherlands 70
> Belgium 74
> Austria 72
> Finland 56 (just one person)
> Ireland 68
A new report shows where the top 20% of earners spend 38% of the money in this country, dismissing the notion they're hoarding the money (which would be their right in a free country) and putting that welfare multiplier nonsense on its ear. Yesterday, Auto Nation reported its February sales, which showed domestic cars up 6% while premium luxury car sales increased 19%. Auto nation has 21,000 employees, hard working Americans that take pride in getting up in the morning and contributing to society. It would be a bigger disaster if taxes on their customers increased to the point where they lost their livelihoods.
It would be a worse disaster than the government pulling in its belt 2.5%.
On that note, those European nations with staggering tax rates also dole out the highest percentage of GDP toward welfare and social programs. Some think this is a fine system where almost everyone is equally living a good quality life. But when was the last time any great inventions came out of these countries? When were these countries able to save the world against tyranny? They had such huge leads over the rest of the world they can enjoy (for lack of a better word) the status quo but for how much longer?
The world is a very competitive place and the next one hundred years, maybe one thousand years, will belong to Asia and to a lesser extent South America as Europe freezes executive pay, innovation and outsized dreams. I hope this never happens to America where even people that only recently had a legitimate shot at unlimited greatness buy into the mean-spirited and cruel notion that punishing someone else's success makes for a "fair" society.
All of a sudden we are on new high watch for the Dow Jones industrial average. It's more than symbolic although most professionals will downplay the moment for a variety of reasons. By the way, if adjusted for inflation the all time high would be 15,732. Be that as it may, for all the negativity surrounding this rally it's been ongoing for a while. It's stealthy, it's hated and that is one reason I think it lasts. Beyond that psychological stuff, however, it's about fundamentals. For me it's all about the global economy. Every big winner we had last week except Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) saw strong global growth as the difference-maker, the catalyst.
Yes, Fed money-printing is playing a role, not to the degree naysayers say it is but that's going to happen. As money finds its way past bank walls and deeper into society much will land in the stock market. Those funds will be coupled with rotation out of bonds and of course a sense of hysteria. That scenario hasn't played up yet and will not happen in a flash but instead with a hockey-stick formation with traction compounding and generating a self-fulfilling momentum.
Of course the irony is when the domestic economy gives the all-clear sign, which I don't suspect will happen under current economic policies and schemes unless many can be rebuffed and Czars can be held at bay, that's when the market will probably correct. But know this, corrections for the most part are typically short-lived and create opportunities. Most of the same people waiting for a correction now or simply too skeptical to play this game missed the lows of 2009 and subsequent dips along the way.
When the Fed takes away the punch bowl the message is the economy is fixed. But by the time that happens the inflation seed will have taken root.