The Trump Bubble is Real
Last week we elected an anger golem fracked out of the ground when the first black president hurt his feelings. An avatar of nativism, misogyny, and daddy issues, Trump has wasted no time reinstituting a peculiarly American synthesis of white nationalism and corporate interest. Meanwhile, NeverTrumpers compete to kiss the ring, Clinton voters go house to house searching for Stein voters, and leftists gibbet the Twitter accounts of unreflective liberals according to the logic that sharing Dumbledore memes lost the most consequential election in our lifetimes.
The market hasn’t waited for our consensus. As I write this on Monday morning, the Dow reached a new high after market open, reorganizing our economy around old-money construction, energy, and financial stalwarts to the detriment of tech/media stocks like Facebook that flirted with disaster and got fucked. We should never have been fooled by the fall in futures Tuesday night. Agnostic money sought the high ground in the basically defunct industries that will receive dear leader’s halting benediction.
The slug king reposes in his tower as our portfolios thrive. But then, a 2am thought: The stock market assumes that the future will be more prosperous than the present. Do we believe this?
We now have little hope of holding the global temperature temperature anomaly to two degrees Celsius. As it rises, crops will fail and water wars will carve a new fourth world out of the Middle East, Africa, and the American Southwest. Refugees will test the cringing welfare states of Western Europe. The airline and tourism industries will crater as more of the world become unvisitable to those without security details. Global demand will plummet. It will become impossible to coax profits out of a world brushing up against its thermodynamic limits.
In the near term, cuts in capital gain taxes will allow more money to sluice into a stock market that is already struggling to support current valuations. Financial deregulation and the erosion of consumer protections will make credit an act of magical thinking. America’s trade aggression and bad faith in climate agreements may cause China and India to abandon even a market as large as ours. Then we’re really going to need those manufacturing jobs.
Always shaky, the logic of investment is nearly broken. Investors have been too thoroughly burned by unreliable renewable energy stocks to put their money in the few places that may ensure that there’s a future waiting for those forward price-to-earnings ratios.
Now we’ll just contribute to our S&P 500 index funds and pray. Or buy gold, I guess? Maybe we’ll use it to buy our lives back from some wasteland warlord.