Donald Trump Is Dead Wrong - Fact or Opinion?

Alexander Green
by Alexander Green, Chief Investment Strategist, The Oxford Club
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Donald Trump believes foreign competitors are leaving America in the dust. He says they “are killing us.”

My column rebutting this charge ranked among the top Google News articles yesterday.

But it prompted a sharp response from some quarters.

“Everything in your article is based on false premises,” said one reader.

“Your comments are pie in the sky,” said another.

“What planet are you living on?” asked another.

I relish hearing opposing points of view. However, it’s a bit disconcerting how many readers cannot tell the difference between a fact and an opinion.

Are you one of them? Here’s a short test. Tell me whether each statement is a fact or opinion:

  • The U.S. is responsible for almost a quarter of the world’s economic output, and our share of global GDP is growing.
  • In 2013, the U.S. surpassed Russia to become the world’s largest oil and gas producer.
  • The dollar - the world’s reserve currency - recently hit a 10-year high.
  • America dominates the world in agriculture, communications, medicine, finance, social media and entertainment.
  • We are the world leader in technological innovation.
  • No country attracts more direct foreign investment.
  • Our economy grew at 3.7% in the most recent quarter, faster than not only Japan and Europe, but also most emerging markets.
  • The U.S. stock market has outperformed all other major markets since the financial crisis.
  • U.S. household net worth just hit an all-time record $85.7 trillion in the second quarter.

If you said each of these is a fact, pat yourself on the back. If you said they are wildly out-of-touch opinions, put on the cone-shaped hat and go stand in the corner.

Listen, I’m no Pollyanna. I’m as furious about the shenanigans in Washington as you are. In that same column, I mentioned some of the many problems we face, from the national debt to the regulatory state to the education monopoly.

But recognizing the negatives doesn’t mean you can’t see the positives.

However, many simply don’t. They’re fed up. They’re angry. And they want Donald Trump for president.

For investors, this actually has a bright side.

According to Bloomberg, investor sentiment has fallen at the fastest pace since Fed Chairman Paul Volcker pushed short-term interest rates above 20% in the early ‘80s.

The VIX - the so-called “fear gauge” - has jumped. Put prices are soaring. Valuations are contracting. And professional investors are the most bearish they’ve been in three decades.

This is fantastic news for stock investors. Since 1963, the S&P 500 has gained an average of 11% in the year after newsletter writers were as pessimistic as they are now.

History shows that investors are not scared and worried at market tops.

“This is the least-believed economic recovery and the least-believed bull market of our careers,” says Bob Doll, chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management.

Most are too busy listening to the merchants of doom. You know, the folks who have told us for six years now that inflation is about to soar, the dollar will soon tank, the economy is about to go into a depression, the stock market will crash and gold will skyrocket.

Sounds scary.

Yet inflation is negligible, the dollar is at a multiyear high, our economy - which still hasn’t kicked into gear - is among the best-performing in the world, U.S. stocks have nearly tripled, and gold has spent the last four years looking like the last flight of the Hindenburg.

Maybe you should consider an alternative point of view. One that is fact-based.

I’ll leave you with a short passage from Abundance by technology gurus Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler:

What does the world really look like? Turns out it’s not the nightmare most suspect. Violence is at an all-time low, personal freedom at a historic high. During the past century child mortality decreased by 90% while the average human life span increased by 100%. Food is cheaper and more plentiful than ever (groceries cost 13 times less today than in 1870). Poverty has declined more in the past 50 years than the previous 500. In fact, adjusted for inflation, incomes have tripled in the past 50 years. Even Americans living under the poverty line today have access to a telephone, toilet, television, running water, air-conditioning, and a car. Go back 150 years and the richest robber barons could have never dreamed of such wealth...

Right now all information-based technologies are on exponential growth curves: They’re doubling in power for the same price every 12 to 24 months. This is why an $8 million supercomputer from two decades ago now sits in your pocket and costs less than $200. This same rate of change is also showing up in networks, sensors, cloud computing, 3-D printing, genetics, artificial intelligence, robotics and dozens more industries.

You disagree? Read the last two paragraphs again.

Fact or opinion?

Good investing,

Alex

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