Ding, Dong, the Bear Is Dead

TownHall had an hysterically funny — from my perspective–article Sunday a week ago. As a kindness I will not reveal the columnist’s name because not said author will cringe in months to come over the nonsense uttered.

The producer of the screed’s triumphant cry is…”Ding, Dong, the Bear is dead!”

Old piece of country wisdom: when you shoot a dangerous predator reload your weapon and take your own sweet time before approaching the presumed carcass. With your gun at the ready when you finally decide it is safe to assume the b’ar is actually dead. It may turn out the thing was only stunned — or it could have been playing ‘possum.

Don’t go riling a wounded animal up; let the adrenalin die down first. Yours and its.

Sure, we’re tired of the Bear but the market does not run to our wishes, so let’s be a little cautious. A genuine new Bull will be good for at least eighteen months and it is far better to forego the chance of capturing the market version of golf’s hole in one by calling the bottom exactly and jumping on your chosen stocks lest we find we have leapt imprudently to a ledge halfway between top and bottom with no way out but down (or averaging down.)

Let some braver soul stroll up and kick the bear, because I’m not going to do it.

From my side of the table the proposal gets a solid nix. My soul reaction (sic) is relatively polite surprise and shaking my head at the naivete of the intrepid who rush out to add to the old adage, “There’s a lot of money in the Stock Market. I know; I put a bunch of it there myself.”

Okay, so the Spring Fling has continued through the long hot summer, the Dow is up handsomely, and a pack of Statists who don’t know a round lot from a round up are shouting “Green shoots, ho!” from the Crow’s Nest.

In time, they will choke on those crows who are watching the absurd proceedings with interest.

The whole premise is ludicrous. The Bear is dead because losses have slowed in the durable goods sector, not counting transportation? The Bear is dead because a “jobless” recovery “is still a recovery?” The Bear is dead because connected players have trillions of electronic dollars stuffed in their computerized vaults? The Bear is dead because new job loss claims are down 20% from the stats of the last many weeks? All of which, as I recall, were revised upwards later? The Bear is dead because one of America’s most famous investment firms managed to lose another 15% of what’s left of ten thousand I overlooked two years ago when I meant to get totally out of the market? How can anyone be down to $4750 when the market is up 48% in recent months? Ted managed.

All of that is on a par with the wisdom of “You aren’t jobless if you have been looking unsuccessfully for more than six months or if you are drawing unemployment insurance!”

I didn’t have to listen to the hype coming out of Washington to ascertain whether or not I were interested in government bailouts. I find it equally easy to resist happy cries of, “C’mon in! The water’s fine!” when the swimmer isn’t in a nice, big, clear, chlorinated, filtered, and skimmed pool but has jumped, inexplicably, into one of the lakes here on the ranch.

If anyone asked I would advise against such a course. Our lakes contain a fascinating assortment of wild life I would not care to encounter personally. No, I do not know that there are still leeches in our West lake, but I do know they were there fifty years ago and I see no reason to suppose they have moved on. You can see snakes and snapping turtles. Big fish come out of there, and while we don’t have any alligators, it would be unpleasant to step on a catfish. I know. My mother did it, long ago, and ended up having to visit the hospital to have the spiny fins removed.

“If you can’t see your way clearly, don’t step into it,” sounds like an excellent guideline to me.

I have every reason to suppose that the current financial climate is just as full of disgusting, painful, and dangerous entities and a plethora of particularly potent phenomena and petrifying possibilities, along with, perhaps, putrescent products, to go alliterative on you.

Nope, I’m going to stay right here hunched over my ancient computer (my only “lightning” offer recently took eight seconds to initiate and was on the board for an eternity: thirteen seconds) trolling for bargains in Reed & Barton and terrific trades in Towle. I don’t intend to play “Let’s feed it to Mikey!” by plunging in stocks. Signature chuckle…literally, many times old, slow technology we understand is far more efficient than the latest model with Vista, which I unplugged after two frustrating days. Figuratively…stick with what we know.

A jobless recovery…a jobless recovery…rolling that around on my experienced intellectual tongue, I’m going to spit it out inelegantly. A “jobless” recovery is a concept so inane and insane that only a Keynesian Statist who has never even patronized, far less run, a hot dog stand could come up with such a phrase.

You all know that I’m a technical analyst when it comes to the literal Stock Market and that I use my own bizarre brand of pragmatism when it comes to finding places to park stored value safely. My son is the Finance major with an MBA, and I don’t know if even he mucks around in P/E. I’m the Philosopher and Counselor who “reads” behavior and reeks of common sense.

You can’t have a “jobless” recovery for reasons so basic a reasonably bright pre-schooler can discern them. People without jobs cannot consume more than the most meager basics, if those. The jobless cannot make payments on credit card debt or mortgages. They do not buy new cars even during the tragi-comedy which lasted less than a week, the duration of the destructive (literally) “Cash for Clunkers” program.

Statists come up with cute slogans for their idiotic ideas. America took a very large capital loss, destroying billions of dollars’ worth of perfectly good used car parts for a Green victory. That was the purpose of the drill: to ensure that other older cars would be harder to repair. To reduce the inventory of usable radiators and hubcaps, transmissions and dipsticks. It “worked” so well Congress has thrown twice as much money in the pot to see how many more can be induced to give up workable cars in return for lesser vehicles which will never make back their cost in gas savings.

What concerns me isn’t what I see and advise you to do, it is what I see and back away from telling you for reasons ranging from the fact that this is an investment site, not a political one, although those factors are definitely intertwined inextricably, to not wanting to look like more of a domestic errorist (If I put in the T it will trip an automatic program to have this e-mail read by some bureaucrat I would prefer not to benefit from such wisdom as I have) than Janet Napolitano already says I am.  The same day an overeager columnist declared the Bear’s demise, the Daily Bell, out of Switzerland, mentioned in print something I had known about for a couple of weeks. I believed it the first time a source sent it to me, and have had two different reports come across my screen prior to then.

Let’s make this hypothetical…what would your analysis and reaction be if you were told that large amounts of cash were being stuffed into diplomatic pouches with instructions, “Purchase all the local currency needed for a year’s operations?” Well…perhaps that the government thought it could save money because the current price is low? Snigger. Uh…that anticipated rising JP4 prices would curtail flights? Perhaps that electronic transfers of digits were not likely to be honored in host nations? Really reached for that one..who would dream of refusing USD..particularly considering the splendid reception of the last couple of offerings of US bonds? (Pretty much, we’re printing the things and selling them to ourselves, paying for them with money we printed ourselves. At last, a true perpetual motion machine. The world’s taste for fiscal cotton candy appears to be waning.)

How about if accumulating foreign currency is linked to a projected shortage of bank services, as in the anticipated imposition of bank “holidays?” That makes sense, the “holidays,” which would be “closures,” of course, have been on the table sporadically for a while…and just to make the matter more deadly, potentially, are usually linked with official devaluing of the dollar. Uh-oh. That one has a ring of plausibility to it greater than ding, dong, the Bear is dead.

You don’t need my (possibly paranoid) decision that the two best things we can do with money are to get it out of banks and to turn it into durable goods with all due dispatch.

I am definitely putting my remaining funds where my fears are. If Jesse James raids the banks he isn’t going to find much of mine to steal. Now, if Sherman marches through raping the pigs and stealing the chickens he’s going to do pretty well, at least on the first pass through. Yuh cain’t bury the livestock, but you could be hiding the smoked hams and great-grandfather’s gold-headed walking stick. And your clunkers.

Y’all do as you deem best, but here at the Whiskey Outpost the big pit over on th’ South Forty isn’t to bury the Bear in. We’re going to have a pig roast–and all my instincts say that so is the market!

Linda Brady Traynham

August 11, 2009

P.S.: It is said that “Hindsight is 20-20,” which is another very large piece of nonsense. Few people ever figure out what happened in most instances. They do not learn from experience. A pertinent example is those twin debacles, the policies of FDR and the purported efficacy of socialized medicine.

The US is heading to the Greater Depression and our dear leader is determined to foist not only Canadian-style medical practices on us, but also the biggest “budget” deficit since the world began, the business-killing tax known as “Cap & Trade,” and the destruction of the small farmer and rancher under the noble title of the Food “Safety” Act, while Congress is hoping to add a VAT. I’ll discuss the everything-less “recovery” soon.