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A world of crazy emotions. One is panic. The other is insanity. You can make money with either, or both

Here’s how to make the market explode:

Write a blog on Reasons to get thoroughly .depressed.” Like I did two days ago. Here. 

I wrote that Washington had swallowed a gigantic anti-business pill. I still believe that.

It’s gotten worse. Two items:

First, this insane tweet:

And now an escalating tariff on Mexican goods coming into the U.S. — unless Mexico jumps through some impossible hoops:

First, Mexico must sign a “safe third country” agreement.  This would mean that non-Mexican migrants arriving at the United States-Mexico border would not be eligible to apply for asylum or even be allowed entry into the United States for a hearing, since they would be considered “safe” in Mexico. (This violates U.S. law.) Second, Mexico must  major crackdown on what the White House calls the transnational criminal organizations managing the transportation of migrants through Mexico. And third, Mexico must seal off its border with Guatemala, if not at the border itself then at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, which is more than 100 miles wide. It’s alsoMexico’s narrowest point.

I’m writing this at 5:00 AM on Thursday June 6. And our president has just announced “no deal” with Mexico. Hence, the tariffs go in on Monday. 5% to start, then rising to 25%.

Republican senators have signaled the White House that they’re almost universally opposed to the tariffs. The president has responded that lawmakers would be “foolish” to try to stop him. I suspect that they can’t.

If he declares a National Emergency, he can pretty well do anything.

I can only guess at the devastation to trade with Mexico — our largest trading partner — might cause. There are many goods that pass back and forth across the border before they finally go on sale in the U.S. So, who knows what the effective rate of 5% might be, or what the disruption to business might be, or how it might hurt American consumers — driving our economy into recession?

The Fed is already concerned. It’s signaling the chance of a rate cut.

My own read of the immigration crisis at our southern border is simple: People from Central America don’t want to leave their homes. No one does. They’re rushing to escape violence, corruption, gangs, you name it. Their situation appears to be a worsening — aggravated more since we stopped trying to help them fix their economy. We cut off our aid. Hard to police the lawlessness, if you’re poor.

Here’s the tweet:

How Mexico will remedy illegal immigration when we couldn’t .. remains one of life’s great mysteries.

When God closes a door, she always opens a window

On Monday, we closed on the sale of our California house — at a loss of 26% over what I had in the house — cost plus fixes. Depressing.

By Tuesday, and then Wednesday, the stockmarket rebounds and I’m overwhelmed with what seem to be some magnificent investment opportunities.

The opportunities are outside the market. They’re syndicated residential real estate and a venture fund  — wich appears to run its business the way I would. They’ve figured a path to finding opportunities, staffing them, funding them and continuing to nurture their on-going growth. I wish I were 25 years younger and could work with them. Maybe there’s a small role for a smart-ass alta kaka — like me?

Fortunately, I have cash. I can fund these new opportunities.

Those much-hyped Opportunity zones

Develop real estate in these newly-designed “opportunity zones” and you get hefty tax benefits.

Opportunity zones are hot. Wall Street is peddling them with an enthusiasm once reserved for sub-prime mortgages and auction rate preferreds.

Think of opportunity zones as the condiment in the sandwich, but not the meat. They enhance the sandwich — but the sandwich better make sense on its own two feet.

Wall Street’s business is creating product. Wall Street’s business is taking fees up front. It is not Wall Street’s job to ensure your investment’s success. And, based on my experience with the stuff they peddled me over the years, they never do ensure success. Never. Ever.

Saying No today is a useful skill. The window will open tomorrow on a much better deal.

Short useful thoughts

+ Cannabis is biotech with a focus on only one drug. There’s a huge oversupply of product that will only get worse. The stuff is easy and cheap to grow.

+ Backup is good. But practice restoring, please. You can destroy your precious backup if you don’t know what you’re doing.

+ Trailhead.com is a useful site of free online training, funded by Salesforce.com. I’m impressed.

+ The farther you’re away from your WiFi router, the weaker your signal. You’ll get the best signal plugged in by wire. The second best is move closer. The third is an WiFi extender.

+ Though many places — like airports, coffee shops, conference rooms – have WiFi, many don’t work or have privacy problems. Hence I tend to use the Personal Hotspot on my iPhone and hook my laptop to it.

+ Shipping pictures around the country? FedEx is truly great. Take your art into your local FedEx store. They have the most brilliantly designed boxes. We just sent six framed works of art from California to New York. They arrived in pristine perfect condition. The price was right. Thank you FedEx.

Peace in the middle east

The U.S. will shortly propose another peace idea for the middle east. The Palestinians have said they won’t attended the meeting – though they have zero idea of what’s in the U.S.’s proposal.

The Israeli diplomat Abba Eban said the Palestinians “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

It’s amazing the royals will even talk to Donald

In the lead up to the Trump Tower’s February 1983 opening, a persistent rumor kept appearing in the local New York City press that Prince Charles and his then-new wife Diana were looking at buying an apartment in the building.

The developer, Donald Trump, made up the rumor, floated it and then denied he was the originator.

It was brilliant marketing.

In Search Of The Perfect Fake Hamburger

I bought some Beyond Meat, waited a little, then sold it. But now it’s up — way beyond what I sold it for.

According to Yahoo Finance, the company is losing $4.75 a share.

My curiosity has no bounds. I bought a package of two Beyond Meat patties from our local supermarket. Here’s my “testdrive.”

Take four pieces of cardboard. Join them together with fake blood (a la Game of Thrones). Cook them for three minutes per side. Then eat.

You won’t be impressed.

The primary ingredient is Pea Protein Isolate, which, according to Google, is a natural vegetable protein derived from peas. It’s considered one of the best protein sources for vegans and vegetarians due to its balanced amino acid spread and high protein concentration.

I like peas but not in fake hamburgers.

The Beyond Meat Patties are about twice as expensive as real hamburgers.

My next adventure into fake hamburgers is to try the Impossible Burger, which I understand you can get at several real meat hamburger chains. My friends say Impossible Burgers are “delicious.” Check your local listing.

The British have their own welcoming way

This is a 20ft statue they built of our president on a golden throne tweeting his latest from Trafalgar Square, London.

I haven’t lost the hibiscus, yet. But I am feeling good. This weekend I see all my children, all my grandchildren and all my classmates from eons ago. It’s my 50th reunion of the class of 69 at the Harvard Business School.

Harry Newton, who wonders about the estate planning document that contains this delicious question: “Please list any children you may have.” I believe I know most of them.

Oh, yes. Don’t panic. Despite Washington, the American economy will bumble through. I have faith. Want proof? It’s not 1969. We’ re not in Vietnam. It was far worse then. We bumbled through.

All these were yet to be invented: the Internet, cellphones, fiber optic, the cloud, laptops, fracking, artificial intelligence, noise cancelling headphones, GPS satellites, drones and fake meat.

Life is wonderful. I’ll be back on Monday with reports on how my classmates changed the world for the better.

 

  • Mike Nash

    Trump is willing to destroy the economy to appeal to his base, a group of mostly ignorant, uneducated losers who know him as the guy on their TV sets when he did Apprentice. I’m fascinated how he screws them over constantly – especially farmers – and they continue to support him. There’s never been anything like this before. Trump could take their land, take their wives and send their sons to die in some ridiculous foreign war and they’d still support him.

    In other news I’ll bet you and your readers wished you’d listened when I recommended Beyond Meat off the IPO.

    • TomFromVa

      So if you believe all this, presumably you are shorting the market?

  • TomFromVa

    Hey Harry – I am in Cambridge for the 50th of the year ahead of me. Stop by Catalyst in Kendall Square at 4:30 – our fraternity reunion will be breaking up about then

  • Mike D

    One of my favorite NYU Professors is from your class – Mel Horwitch!

  • Tom from CA

    How about a Grand Deal: A single bill that both creates Medicare for All and all money and resources needed to stop illegal immigration, including a border wall where the Experts say it’s needed.

    Both sides get both what they want and what they don’t want.

    But for sure: the Dems would never do it because they hate Trump more than they love America – just that simple.

  • gerryb

    from doug kass this morning:
    This cycle is much different than previous cycles as there are a host of anomalous conditions that will work against the likely rate cuts that lie ahead.

    What has occurred in the last decade?

    * $4 trillion of QE

    * $4 trillion of corporate debt piled up

    * $4 trillion of corporate buybacks

    * A Potemkin-like expansion in earnings per share as the share count drops to a two decade low.

    Meanwhile, capital spending has failed to revive (leading to negative productivity growth).

    And, as a three decade low in birth rates and fertility are combined with restrictive immigration policies around the world, labor force growth has dropped to about only 0.5%/year – and with it has been accompanied by a secular reduction in the prospects for global GDP .

    While this is not a short term call for an imminent drop in the equity market, if my concerns are prescient and fully realized we will likely see more than the process of a market making a broad and important top.

    Rather, we will probably see a sustained Bear Market.

    The Fed is pushing on a string.

    • Mike Nash

      Kass is a perma bear. Ignore him