These days, it’s nice to be offered a question to which there is an objective answer.
“What’s the temperature going to be like today?“
“It’ll be cool. You can wear long sleeves.”
Simple. Unless I’m addressing a person with some really weird medical issues or a bizarre desire to be very hot or very cold, I can rely on the fact that, let’s say, I know there’s going to be a high of 67 degrees today, and I can offer an answer which is helpful and accurate.
Would that it were so for most other questions these days. Like, say, “What’s the situation with Covid?“
Well, pick your poison. Do you want to be scared that a second wave is not only coming, but coming in furiously, ready to destroy everything on the planet? That’s a cinch. This is from just moments ago………
Or you would prefer reassurances that Covid is such an out-of-fashion Spring 2020 thing, and we might as well not even worry about it.
For instance, ZeroHedge, almost without fail, has a feature story every morning about Record This and Surge That and Deaths the Other Thing. You would thing it was the plague. And yet if you read David Stockman, as I do, he will not shut up about how utterly overblown and insane the shutdown has been, and how we were fools to shelter in place for even one day.
Of course, the two gargantuan topics these days are Covid and the Election. And Lord knows you can pick your poison when it comes to politics. I’m not just talking about Fox=GOP, CNN=Dem, which even three year old children know. It’s more sweeping than that.
It’s all too easy to read stories that Biden has this election in the bag. I actually regularly check out data from a variety of respected pollsters, including such esteemed publications as The Economist:
The response to this, of course, is universal: “The polls were wrong in 2016, so they’ll be wrong in 2020. Whatever the polls say, the opposite is going to happen.”
It seems shortsighted, I think, with a sample set of ONE data point, to make such a supposition, and yet………….
Since I’m in the financial information business, I naturally focus on that, and market data tends to be a better arbiter than human-written articles, since people voting with their money tend to be more sincere than opinion pieces. Based on the sane liftoff we’ve seen in equity prices, it would be utterly plausible to declare that, yes indeed, Trump is going to win again, considering what the market is apparently anticipating.
Of course, there’s going to be no way to tell what’s going to happen between November 3rd and November 4th, because utter mayhem is almost guaranteed that night. Think back to what happened in 2016:
Limit down, and then a total recovery! Incredible stuff.
I’m afraid there’s no answer to any of this. There simply is no truly objective place to go, and we humans tend to seek out opinions roughly in alignment to our own, so a populace immersed in self-reinforcing opinions is a given.
With a mere days left to the election, let me share the results of the poll that took place on Slope early in September; I will probably remember to trot this out again once the dust has settled following the election, but be sure that I do!