Next Financial Crisis?

With the stock market constantly making new highs, for the 8th year and counting, there is a lot of discussion online about when the next financial crisis will be.

Based on the evidence, the next financial crisis will not be for a long time. As measured by low interest rates and strong corporate profits & earnings, the economy is actually quite strong (even stronger than it was in the 80’s and 90’s), although to many people it feels weak. There is the general perception that average people are not fully participating in the growth, but as far as Wall St. is concerned, the economy is strong. This is because the economy is strongest in the areas where it matters most: interest rates, exports, foreign consumption, consumer spending, profits & earnings, and technological innovation. The economy is weakest where it matters least: labor, sentiment, student loans, and healthcare spending. The mistake pundits make when evaluating the economy is ascribing the weakest parts as applicable to the whole: this is the fallacy of composition.

Foreign consumption and consumer spending from the top 5-10% is enough to compensate for any weakness in the middle class. Student loans and healthcare costs keep rising, but when adjusted for inflation the real growth is only 3% a year, which is still a lot but manageable.

When you’re betting against the stock market and economy, you’re betting against America’s best and brightest–and Silicon Valley politics aside–a bet against Facebook, Amazon, Tesla, and Google is a bet I would rather not make.

Due to strong fundamentals, the US stock market is pretty resilient, and most news can be ignored. In 2011, the S&P 500 was unchanged despite four European countries (Spain, Italy, Greece, and Portugal) nearly simultaneously defaulting. In 2015, it was again unchanged despite weakness in China and a flash crash in which the S&P 500 500 plunged 10% in a single week but quickly rebounded. In 2014, it gained 11% despite Russia tensions and an Ebola outbreak. It gained 10% in 2016 despite doom and gloom predictions about Brexit, and 10% again in 2017 when everyone thought Trump’s win would be a disaster for both the US economy and stock market–liberal media thwarted by reality again. It gained 33% in 2013 despite predictions by the left about how the sequester, government shutdown, and fiscal cliff would hurt the economy.

There have only been two major financial crisis in America in the past 100 years (1929 and 2008), so probabilistically speaking, betting on crisis is a loser bet (the savings and loan problem was much more limited than 1929 and 2008, so I don’t count it). Yet the media makes it seem like crisis is more common than it really is. You have to follow the money. By telling people to stay in the market, I don’t personally profit in any way. But alarmist websites such as Info Wars and Zero Hedge, funded by gold and pill peddlers, spread fear for personal gain, enriching the people who run those sites but making the people who follow their advice poorer.