Congressional Democrats seemed almost giddy over their first day of public impeachment hearings on Wednesday, aimed at reversing the votes of more than 60 million people who put Donald Trump in the White House.
The Dems struggled, fecklessly, to create “gotcha” moments and build hearsay upon hearsay into anything resembling the “high crimes and misdemeanors” that the U.S. Constitution requires to remove a president from office. Their efforts have absolutely nothing to do with anything constitutional, but, anyway.
Meanwhile, on Wall Street, impeachment prospects amount to One Big Yawn.
“This is just a big bunch of nothing,” a wired-in wealth advisor tells me from his perch in the Pacific Northwest. Stocks continued notching new highs as all three major stock indexes (the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq) rose today and closed at new records. The Dow jumping more than 200 points higher to close above 28,000 for the first time, as the second day of public hearings came to an end.
How can that be? A president facing an imminent impeachment should be sufficient reason to jar investors into selling stocks and hunkering down. Too much uncertainty. Yet, instead, stock prices keep rising: up almost 1% from the start of the first hearing on Wednesday up till today, as measured by the broad S&P 500 index of the 500 largest public companies. And up 7.6% in the past five weeks.
Wall Street focuses forward on the future, trading today based on how investors think conditions will be 6 months to a year from now. And right now, the markets are saying this entire Dem witch hunt is one big fake — and that the most likely outcome is that Donald Trump survives it and wins re-election.
That prospect would be great for stocks. A re-election for @realDonaldTrump could spark a new run for the bull market, as the beneficial effects take hold for the many unseen policy and political changes he is imposing. His administration has cut thousands of outdated and burdensome regulations. He has appointed 45 new federal appeals court judges to lifetime terms, fully 25% of all appeals judges now serving on the circuit court bench. All of them conservative rather than ultra-Obama-liberal.
Tax cuts for companies and workers remain in place, putting more money in Americans’ pockets. Wages are rising at twice the rate of inflation, especially at the low end. And if his trade war strategy pushes China into a better deal for us, you’re talking a standing-O in the stock market.
Compare that outlook with a possible Dem win next November and their on-the-record promises of trillions of dollars in tax increases levied on businesses and “the rich.” In the case of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, she wants to force 156 million working people to give up their employer health plans to enroll in a single government program. And let student borrowers walk away from a trillion dollars in college debt. And provide free college for all and free daycare for all children.
The gimme gimme handouts are endless. No wonder market sage Paul Tudor Jones recently said stock prices will fall 25% if #GreedyLizzie wins the White House.
In the hours after Donald Trump won the election, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize Laureate in economics, predicted a market crash and a global recession, “with no end in sight.” He added, dolefully, “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.”
How embarrassing. His slant was showing: instead, stocks rose 6% from Election Day (Nov. 8) to Inauguration Day (Jan. 20, 2017). The markets then soared 25% in the ensuing year, and over all they now are up 44% since the start of Trump’s first term.
While Wall Street yawns at impeachment, the American people do the same. In a nation of 330 million people, a grand total of 13 million people watched the start of the House Select Committee on Intelligence on six major cable networks on Wednesday. That audience was one-third smaller than the one for fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to Congress in June of last year, Deadline.com points out.
Among the news viewers that advertisers covet most, people ages 25 to 54, not a single network managed to attract even half a million viewers: ABC News ranked tops with 496,000. MSNBC, the most virulently anti-Trump net, drew fewer than 400,000 viewers in this group.
Wall Street and the American people seem to agree: this impeachment spectacle is a political sham. Worse, it falls short of being interesting or entertaining at all, it is void of intrigue and sizzle, and it lacks any victim who got hurt in all this, because no one did.
It does, however, shine a blindingly bright spotlight on the Democratic Party’s leaders in Congress, and their real intent regarding this president. That is worth watching.
Dennis Kneale is a writer and media strategist in New York. Previously he was an anchor at CNBC and at Fox Business Network, after serving as a senior editor at The Wall Street Journal and managing editor of Forbes. He helped write “Wealth Mismanagement: A Wall Street Insider on the Dirty Secrets of Financial Advisers and How to Protect Your Portfolio,” by Ed Butowsky, published in August 2019 by Post Hill Press. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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