Traders love volatility and that’s what the S&P 500 has been supplying over the last few months. Despite the low volume summer trade the S&P futures have been moving. Last week the Dow closed down 4.45% for the month, the S&P down 3.13% and the NASDAQ off 1.01%. With the S&P and the DOW posting their worst monthly declines since May 2012 it doesn’t seem like it’s over yet.
While your trading desk has been part of every major stock market event since 1985, we have never seen a rally the likes of the current one. Despite that rally, we also have never seen the US surrounded by so much turmoil, not even during the Iraq War. It does not seem the US can find a happy medium both at home and overseas. Now when Congress reconvenes Sept. 9, the big topic will no longer be the economy, but Pres. Obama’s request for authorization to use force in Syria.
With our biggest partners the British jumping ship last week it may be time for our own review. At home, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds just 9 percent of Americans supporting intervention in Syria. In other words, it’s less popular than Congress and cockroaches. I try and stay out of politics but there is just too much of it going on to overlook it.
Global Big Dog
The economic downturn in the U.S. has had unending financial consequences. The American people have suffered and continue to suffer at a record pace. Like President Obama or dislike him, those consequences are his to deal with at this point. He faces every two-term president’s transition from post-election honeymoon (if he even had one) to the event that labels him a lame duck president.
Not only are the American people suffering, but so is our global stance. At home, the economy has turned turned around but job growth is not there. Cheap money may have kept rates down and helped the housing market, but it has done nothing for the poor. According to the most recent data, the number of Americans on food stamps has risen from 26 million people in 2005 to 47 million people today, at a total cost of $80 billion a year.
That number would be higher, except that 25% of Americans who are eligible for SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, never sign up. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2010 51 million Americans qualified for SNAP but only 38 million received it.
How can we fight another war when we can’t find jobs or feed our own people? I use that word, “war,” knowing that right now the stated mission is only a cruise missile attack without “boots on the ground.” But in the asymmetric warfare we now live with, borders don’t matter and size doesn’t matter. Syria and its allies, whether nations or organizations, will use terrorism as easily as conventional tactics. And instead of boots on the ground there, it could be loafers, pumps, and little sneakers here or at one of our embassies or in a cafe in Tel Aviv.
I know this is a complicated time but it really seems like the United States is stumbling on itself. We are not the global big dog like we used to be and with so much work to do at home, maybe its time to attend to our own problems.
[youtube id=”TCm9788Tb5g” mode=”thumbnail” align=”right” autoplay=”no”] I have always taken the point of view that your own home needs to be fixed before you start to work on someone else’s home. With so many possible difficulties facing the US in the coming months we (the American people) need to readjust our sights. I have never worried about myself. I worry about the elderly, the sick , the downtrodden. A lot of us capitalists do. Most of all, I worry about my family.
[youtube id=”TCm9788Tb5g” mode=”thumbnail” align=”right” autoplay=”no”] Sending cruise missiles into Syria with no plan is NOT in the best interests of the American people or the world. Please, Mr President, start working on things that matter and stay off the golf course…It brings back memories of another president and another round of golf ten years ago.