Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Photo by Pexels from Pixabay

Guess what. The stock market seems to like Joe Biden. More precisely, investors seem to like that his lead in the polls is solid enough to lessen the prospect of President Donald Trump setting off an explosion of doubt, anxiety, and possible violence if Biden wins narrowly.

"A Clear-Cut Biden Win Is Emerging as a Bull Case for Stocks," reads a headline on Bloomberg News. Biden's widening lead in polls "signals there may be less room for dispute over the results of the November elections, which would be welcomed by markets," says The Wall Street Journal.


Trump's statement that Biden could beat him only through a "rigged election" and his telling right-wing goons to "stand by" should the results not go his way have been spooking the markets. That's why jumps in Biden's poll performance have been sending the S&P 500 higher, according to strategists at Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Or, as the head of market strategy at Swissquote Bank put it, polls pointing to a clean succession are "reducing uncertainty and increasing risk appetite."

The markets' apparent pleasure at seeing Biden so far ahead goes beyond the obvious point that the former vice president isn't nuts. Biden is an economic moderate who proposes restoring some but not all the taxes cut in 2017.

Another plus for the economy would be Biden's intention to work on pressing problems that Trump denies exist. Biden has an interest in actually containing the coronavirus plague, which has flattened key industries. And he's onto dealing with the threat of climate change in a way that could grow green businesses and jobs.

Wall Street may not care for the Biden plan to raise taxes on rich people and tighten regulation, but it very much likes the part that combines government spending at a time of low interest rates. That's called economic stimulus.

The chief economist at Goldman Sachs says a "blue wave" that would give Democrats control of both the White House and Congress would probably "prompt us to upgrade our forecasts."

Moody's Analytics predicts that Biden's proposals would create 7.4 million more jobs than would Trump's. Its economists also see a Democratic sweep as the best outcome for investors as well as workers.

This, of course, goes counter to the Trump fable that he is the driver of stock market wealth. It's true that his 2017 tax cuts goosed stock prices for a while. But it helps to recall that under Barack Obama, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 118 record highs, and he came into office during a stock market crash.

Fresh out of the hospital and with steroids coursing through his veins, Trump issued a tweet vowing to walk away from the latest stimulus package proposal — mere hours after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned of a "tragic" scenario if government doesn't rush to the rescue with aid. Stock prices plunged. Then, Trump tweeted the opposite and stock prices rose. Someone with advance knowledge of the tweets could have made a fortune trading on them. Just saying.

The Nomura-Wolfe Biden Election Basket showcases stocks that will do well if Democrats take over Washington. Its stocks soared after the anti-stimulus, market-wrecking Trump tweet, the expectation being Biden will be president soon.

To show what a laugh-riot Trump's economic gyrations have become, JPMorgan analysts established the Volfefe Index — a takeoff on Trump's incomprehensible "covfefe" tweet from 2017. The index, which measures the U.S. Treasury market's sensitivity to Trump tweets, hit a peak in May. That was the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News national poll gives Biden a 14-percentage point lead over Trump. Investors should take heart.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

Trump speaking at Londonderry, NH rally

Screenshot from YouTube

Donald Trump once again baselessly claimed on Sunday that the COVID-19 pandemic was "going to be over" soon, just hours after his chief of staff suggested the administration was unable to get it under control.

"Now we have the best tests, and we are coming around, we're rounding the turn," Trump said at a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire. "We have the vaccines, we have everything. We're rounding the turn. Even without the vaccines, we're rounding the turn, it's going to be over."

Trump has made similar claims on repeated occasions in the past, stating early on in the pandemic that the coronavirus would go away on its own, then with the return of warmer weather.

That has not happened: Over the past several weeks, multiple states have seen a surge in cases of COVID-19, with some places, including Utah, Texas, and Wisconsin, setting up overflow hospital units to accommodate the rapidly growing number of patients.

Hours earlier on Sunday, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows appeared to contradict Trump, telling CNN that there was no point in trying to curb the spread of the coronavirus because it was, for all intents and purposes, out of their control.

"We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas," he said. "Because it is a contagious virus, just like the flu."

Meadows doubled own on Monday, telling reporters, "We're going to defeat the virus; we're not going to control it."

"We will try to contain it as best we can, but if you look at the full context of what I was talking about, we need to make sure that we have therapeutics and vaccines, we may need to make sure that when people get sick, that, that they have the kind of therapies that the president of the United States had," he added.Public health experts, including those in Trump's own administration, have made it clear that there are two major things that could curb the pandemic's spread: mask wearing and social distancing.

But Trump has repeatedly undermined both, expressing doubt about the efficacy of masks and repeatedly ignoring social distancing and other safety rules — even when doing so violated local and state laws.

Trump, who recently recovered from COVID-19 himself, openly mocked a reporter on Friday for wearing a mask at the White House — which continues to be a hotspot for the virus and which was the location of a superspreader event late last month that led to dozens of cases. "He's got a mask on that's the largest mask I think I've ever seen. So I don't know if you can hear him," Trump said as his maskless staff laughed alongside him.

At the Manchester rally on Sunday, Trump also bragged of "unbelievable" crowd sizes at his mass campaign events. "There are thousands of people there," he claimed, before bashing former Vice President Joe Biden for holding socially distant campaign events that followed COVID safety protocols.

"They had 42 people," he said of a recent Biden campaign event featuring former President Barack Obama. "He drew flies, did you ever hear the expression?"

Last Monday, Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) endorsed Biden's approach to the pandemic as better than Trump's, without "any doubt."

"The more we go down the road resisting masks and distance and tracing and the things that the scientists are telling us, I think the more concerned I get about our management of the COVID situation," he told CNN.

In his final debate against Biden last Thursday, Trump was asked what his plan was to end the pandemic. His answer made it clear that, aside from waiting for a vaccine, he does not have one.

"There is a spike, there was a spike in Florida and it's now gone. There was a very big spike in Texas — it's now gone. There was a spike in Arizona, it is now gone. There are spikes and surges in other places — they will soon be gone," he boasted. "We have a vaccine that is ready and it will be announced within weeks and it's going to be delivered. We have Operation Warp Speed, which is the military is going to distribute the vaccine."

Experts have said a safe vaccine will likely not be ready until the end of the year at the earliest, and that most people will not be able to be vaccinated until next year.

Trump also bragged Sunday that he had been "congratulated by the heads of many countries on what we have been able to do," without laying out any other strategy for going forward.

Nationally, new cases set a single-day record this weekend, with roughly 84,000 people testing positive each day. More than 8.5 million Americans have now contracted the virus and about 225,000 have died.

Trump, by contrast, tweeted on Monday that he has "made tremendous progress" with the virus, while suggesting that it should be illegal for the media to report on it before the election.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.