A Market Outlook in Three Acts
This election is the most important ever.
Heard that recently? Yep. We hear it every time the party out of power needs to turn out the vote. In other words, this election is no different than any before it.
Sure, the problems, people, and platforms are updated, but every election is important.
One of those problems has proven a major economic hurdle. Yea, we’re talking about Covid-19, too.
JP Morgan Asset Management’s US Equity Specialist Joshua Feuerman joins us to discuss the concerns, misconceptions and opportunities for investors as we approach the most important election of … 2020.
Joshua has decades of experience in the investment world, including stints at portfolio and hedge fund manager, following his University of Chicago MBA and Bowdoin College Economics degree.
Join us in this town-hall meeting as we take a long-term view of the health of the U.S. Economy, corporate earnings, and the importance of separating political views from investment decisions.
RALPH: Okay, I have a couple things I’ve got to say. First, we’re recording this session. If you don’t want to be recorded you can keep yourself muted and you can hide your video and you won’t become part of the video recording. But we use the video for future marketing and internal purposes, as well. I have disclosure that Josh Feuerman and John Leonard and JP Morgan are not affiliated with LPL or Enduring Wealth Advisors.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly. The economic forecast set forth in this material may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
First, I want to thank everybody for joining us today. We put this on the calendar probably 2-3 months ago and a few things have happened in the last couple months, not to mention a few things that have happened just in the last couple weeks. But, we’re starting to get these things going and the next one we have is October 14th, we’ve got a Medicare workshop coming up hosted with our friends at one of the fund companies, I won’t mention them for JP Morgan’s sake on this one. But, they’ve started to go pretty well and we’re starting to get some traction with it.
So, I want to introduce Josh Feuerman. Josh is, oh, let’s see here…
JOSH: Old, I’m old.
RALPH: He’s old, okay. Well, a lot of us on this call will qualify for that. But he’s a CFA, which, if you don’t know this industry, just having a CFA, that is a very significant accomplishment. He is a managing director and a senior US equity strategist for JP Morgan, whom he has been with since 2012. He’s got 30 years in the industry and he’s worked as a hedge fund manager, he’s headed up global and international teams at two other big firms. He’s lectured in finance at Pace University. He is a graduate of Bodin College, and he got his MBA at the University of Chicago, which anybody who knows economics and schools of economics, knows that there is a certain mystique about coming from the University of Chicago, we’ll leave it at that. John is on board to do the slides.
For Q&A we have what’s called slido, so if you have the opportunity, you might have gotten it in a message, if you have a smart phone or another screen, you can go to slido.com and enter this code, #Y532 and we’ll have some questions, it’s a place where you can put up questions and you can vote on other people’s questions.
You will notice on the top right here, we got a thumbs up, so you can vote them up, you can vote them down. If you’d like to put your name on a question, that’s fine, and we’ll be running a poll or two, well, I got just one good one, but I might think of another one while Josh is talking, as well. So, go to slidoif you can get on there, and the code #Y532. That being said, I will stop sharing this. You all got that now? Thumbs up? Got it, okay, good deal. Josh, I’m turning it over to you for now.
JOSH: Great, Ralph. We’re probably going to work around without the slide deck just because we want to be careful for compliance purposes about recording some of these images, as well, so I don’t really need the pictures, so you guys are just going to have to deal with me. The one thing Ralph didn’t tell you about my background, because it’s not in my bio, is I grew up in Brooklyn, New York and I mention that only because back in Brooklyn we used to say, “Nobody knows nuttin’ about nuttin’.”And that’s pure Brooklyn philosophy for you right there. Knowing nuttin’ about nuttin’ is true about life, it’s also true about the stock market and now more than ever, because we’re dealing with something that nobody really knows nuttin’ about, which is COVID-19 and the virus. Can everybody here me okay, I want to make sure that you guys can hear me, as well. Carl, you good, buddy? Give me a thumbs up, Carl, perfect, thank you.
So, in regards to the stock market, I’m about 35 miles right now from Broadway and if you’ve been watching the news at all, Broadway has been dark since March, they haven’t been running Broadway plays. So, the closest I could get to a play these days is thinking about the outlook for the economy and the market, in terms of a play. I think there are three acts to it.
Act I goes from today until we have clarity on two things. We need to know who is going to be the president of the United States next year and we need to know when is there going to be a vaccine available for the masses such that everybody who wants to be vaccinated can be vaccinated? We don’t have to get to that date, we just have to know that there is a date, as well. I’m concerned about the market in Act I and we’ll flesh that out a little bit more, because I think there are a whole bunch of things that will happen in Act I that could potentially drag the market down, but not a lot that could boost the market up. Now, the good news is Act I probably ends by the end of this year, or very, very early next year, because we’ll have clarity on those two things, as well.
Now, in Act II, I turn super bullish on stomachs and the market takes off like a rocket. To a degree, how long Act II runs in the Broadway sense is somewhat impacted by The Election; not a lot, but somewhat. So, The Election affects both Act I and Act II and then there are some longer term issues that you and Ralph need to be prepared for as it goes towards your financial planning, and that comes into Act III, as well.
Okay, so let’s dive into Act I. I told you in Act I, I’m concerned about the stock market, because we need to get clarity on two things. The first one is who is going to be the president next year? Now, this may be shocking to a lot of people, the market doesn’t really care who is going to be the president next year, the market just wants to know who is going to be the president next year.
Now, what does that mean? The one thing the stock market hates more than anything else is uncertainty, because it can deal with anything except for uncertainty. The market doesn’t really care if it’s President Trump again or if it’s a President Biden, it just wants to know who it’s going to be. And we won’t have clarity on that situation until election day, however, this election cycle has the possibility to be one of the most tumultuous in history in regards to the stock market and it has nothing to do with the actors involved, it has to do with how a large majority of Americans are going to be voting this time.
And the reason I say that is historically we go to the polls, now, by the time your polls close, I’m already in bed and asleep, so by the time I wake up Wednesday morning, I know who the president of the United States. That’s probably not going to happen this time and the reason why is usually most of vote in person and so the percentage of mail-in votes is usually a very small part of the total votes, and mail-in voting, therefore, doesn’t really sway the outcome in any specific state.
This year it appears as though a larger percentage of the total ballots cast are going to be mail-in votes and the reason why that’s important is in almost every state they don’t begin counting the mail-in votes until Election Day. I’m in Connecticut, the state right next door, maybe about three miles from me is New York. New York state, which is one of the popular states in the country, right behind yours, or right behind Texas and you guys, or the other way around, doesn’t start counting mail-in votes until the polls close on Election Day.
Think about that. We’ve got 30% of the population in New York doing mail-in voting and you can’t start counting them until 8:00 Tuesday night, we’re definitely not going to know which way New York is going. California, your state, I had to Google this, because I didn’t really know the answer, if your county is all mail-in voting they could start counting the votes as soon as it comes in. If it’s a mixed county, they could begin counting the votes 5:00 p.m. the night before Election Day.
So, you could imagine that it’s most likely we’re not going to know who the president is going to be Wednesday morning, and the market is going to hate that, most likely, because the market hates uncertainty. So, for those of you, and not everybody has their camera up, but almost everyone is pretty much old enough to remember the Bush and Gore election in 2000, remember the hanging chad in Florida? The markets hated that time period until Al Gore dropped his case in front of the Supreme Court, and then the market took off, because the market just hates uncertainty.
Now the comment I’m about to make, up until yesterday, I always felt somewhat sketchy or slimy making it, because I always felt it was a bit controversial, and what I was telling people is that my personal belief was that if this election was not a blowout either way in the electoral college, I was concerned that this was going to be dragged out in the court system just like Bush and Gore was for weeks and weeks, and weeks.
The reason why I said, you may recall, yesterday President Trump said he thinks this is going to end up in the Supreme Court. Right? The market is going to hate that, alright, because the market hates uncertainty. But, ultimately we will have a president and we will know who that president is. So, that’s one of the two things we need clarity on. Let me just pause one second, Ralph, let’s try to do this a little interactively. Let me pause a second and let’s talk about COVID-19 in a second, but let me just see if there are any questions so far. We’ll talk about the implications of the election, but let me just see if there are any questions so far on what I just laid out there in terms of my concerns around election day.
RALPH: Josh, we do have one on the slido, a direct response to what you just asked, and that is how long do you think it will take to get a final decision on the election?
JOSH: Okay, according to the Constitution, remember the way that we vote is we vote, and then the Electoral College actually elects the candidate from each state. The Secretary of State for every state has to certify the election results in his or her state. The Secretaries of State have until December 8th to certify the election.
Now, the Electoral College meets on December 14th, so the Electoral College has until December 14th to select the president. If the Electoral College says look, there’s not enough states that have certified the votes, it goes to the Senate, and the Senate then selects the next president. For those of you who are history buffs, I believe that’s how John Quincy Adams defeated Andrew Jackson, and I think it took 30-something votes in the Senate, because it kept getting split, and split, and split, and split, and split, and split.
RALPH: I thought it went to the House.
JOSH: Oh, I’m sorry, you’re right, it went to the House, the reason why I’m confused about the Senate, each state gets one vote, that’s what it is. I’m sorry, so that’s the problem, I’m sorry, my bad, because I knew it could be split. Each state gets one vote so that like in the House, there’s only, I believe, in Alaska, for example, they only have one representative, but in California, for example, you guys got a lot of representatives. Your representatives have to agree on one candidate and you only get one vote, as well.
And so the issue is that you could end up with a split vote in the House, and it can take quite some time. So, the answer is we’re hopeful by December 14th we will know who the President of the United States is, but it could potentially drag on. Remember that the other thing that could be tumultuous this cycle is that if this ends up in the court, and let’s say you demand a recount in a state, well, let’s say somebody demands a recount of California, normal what happens is they [pop] pop them back in the voting machines and they tally it all up. If you have to do a recount, think about it, you have to recount all those mail-in votes again, you can understand how this could add time to the process.
Ultimately, the market doesn’t really care, it just wants to know who is going to be the president next year. So, it would be nice if we would know by November 10th, one way or the other, it could be all the way into December, as well. And once again, that’s what the process is, but then if it’s at the Supreme Court, or anything else, that could drag it out.
RALPH: One could make the case, Josh, you selected two states that everybody on the call and most people in the country recognize New York and California are probably heavily blue states, or safe states for the Democrats. I think it really only matter in the swing states that are really contended, and are the procedures significantly different in Florida, Ohio, Michigan, the states that are actually make a difference, because I’ve lived in California long enough to recognize that it used to be pretty evenly divided and all my conservative friends are leaving the state, I mean, literally leaving the state. Just an interesting factoid, you can rent a U-Haul truck to leave California for roughly 10 times the cost of renting a U-Haul truck to come into California, which tells you something right there about demand.
JOSH: So, you’re right, Ralph. This whole election is going to come down to voter turnout, and it’s going to come down to voter turnout in the swing states. Now, here’s a factoid, we’ll see if it plays out, or not. There has never been a US President reelected if a recession happens anytime within the two years leading up to Election Day.
Now, if you’re going to quickly google that, you’re going to call me out and you’re going to say, well, Josh, Calvin Coolidge, and I’ll say okay, you’re right, Calvin Coolidge got reelected, the reason why we don’t talk about Calvin Coolidge, he was reelected in 1924, because he took over from Harding who died in office in 1923, and the recession actually ended in 1922.
So, realistically there has never been a US President reelected, so history is not on President Trump’s side, but it’s going to come down to voter turnout, Ralph, exactly what you said, in the swing states. And there are more people in the United States who vote democratic than Republican, so if you get a high voter turnout, that would favor Biden, if you get a lower voter turnout, as in the swing states, it would favor President Trump. Okay, but ultimately we’re going to get a president.
Now, the other thing we need clarity on, is when is a vaccine for the masses going to be available? We don’t have to get to that date, we just have to know what that date is, because what is the one thing the market hates, uncertainty. Alright, now realistically, by the time everybody in America who wants to get vaccinated is going to get vaccinated, you’re talking probably close to next summer.
And the reason why I say that is that there are four candidates right now that are in the final stage of testing before they can submit their results to the Food & Drug Administration to have the vaccine approved. One of them, you may have heard this morning, Johnson & Johnson, remember, the Band-Aid people. They have a drug that just entered Phase 3 clinical trial. Usually it takes about six months of data before they can submit it to the FDA.
Now, people say why don’t they submit it sooner than that? Here’s the math of it; there are 50,000 people who are in the Johnson & Johnson trial. There are 30,000 in the Pfizer trial. In order for Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson to be able to submit their data, they have to inject 50,000 people and a certain percentage of them have to develop COVID-19, because some of them they’re injecting with their vaccine, and some of them they’re injecting with sugar water, a placebo.
So, you need about 150 COVID-19 cases before you can even start analyzing results, and you can’t rush that. We could blow COVID-19 into the room, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to get it. Then you’ve got to look at the 150 people who end up with it and say, well, how many of them had the actual vaccine and how many of them had the placebo, and you’re hoping that everybody who got the vaccine, not the placebo, because that’s how you figure out whether it works, or not.
So, you can’t rush that point. Once you have all that information you give it to the FDA, the Food & Drug Administration, they take about a month or so to approve it. So, Johnson & Johnson just entered today, so six months from now, that’s March, the three other candidates, you may have heard one from AstraZeneca with Oxford University, that’s where they had that one person who had spinal inflammation, and they had to hold off on the testing, now we’re down to two. We have Pfizer and Moderna, you may have heard both of them.
Now, with both Pfizer and Moderna, and this is why I say it’s going to take springtime or summer, you have to get 2 inoculations within a 40-day window, and the Pfizer vaccine has to get stored at a temperature below -90 degrees Fahrenheit. Think about that, go take a look at your freezer, it’s 0, now you’ve got to 90 degrees below that. So, your doctor’s office and your pharmacy is not set up for that. So, even is Pfizer is one of the finalists that makes it, now you’ve got to go to a hospital or you have to go to a special facility set up by your local government, and they’re going to inoculate you, then they’re going to track you to make sure you come back within the 40 days, because if you don’t do it, it doesn’t count.
Now, multiply that by at least 150 million people, because that’s how many people have to get inoculated for all 350 million in the United States to achieve what they call herd immunity. It’s going to take some time, right? But that’s okay, you’re going to remember this one thing: What’s the one thing the market hates? Uncertainty. Given the amount of data we need, we’re hopeful by Thanksgiving or Christmas time we’ll have enough of those 150 cases from the Pfizer studies or the Moderna study for them to be able to say, look, we’ve had enough cases now, we’re seeing some good results, we’re going to give our stuff to the FDA, hopefully the FDA will approve those drugs by the end of the January, then we can start that whole logistical problem.
That’s why I said Act I, while I’m concerned about the market, it’s not going to last that long, it might be taking 4 or 5 months, or so. Any questions on Act I and why there may be a bit of volatility between now and then? We’re going to talk about how the election affects Act II in a second and we’ll talk about taxes, everybody’s favorite. But let me just see if there’s any questions so far in terms of Act I and the election and/or the vaccine.
RALPH: Okay, let me go back to the Q&A. I don’t have any questions specific to that, there are a couple portfolio questions which I think we’ll get to later. I wanted to throw up a poll for everybody here, I think this is relevant and there is a live poll now on your slido, let me pull it up on the present mode so you can all see it here. So, this is very relevant to what Josh has already told us about. What is the longest running Broadway play of all time?
And at this point I’m supposed to sing, we’ll give you another 15 or 20 seconds. If you’re not on slido, just on your smart phone or on another device, just go to slido.com and enter code #Y532 and you will be able to see this, and you will also be able to see the Q&A that other people have up there. The correct answer is the Phantom of the Opera, which is still running, by the way, for those that don’t know.
JOSH: Okay, so, once again, once we get clarity on the president and once we get clarity on the vaccine, I’m super bullish on stocks, I think the market takes off like a rocket, and the reason why I say that is there are 4.4 trillion dollars sitting in cash, basically like money market funds right now, there’s only 4.4 trillion in mutual funds and ETFs that invest in the US equity market, as well. So there is an enormous amount of cash that wants to leave cash, and the reason why is that it’s afraid to leave cash until we get to the end of Act I, because it’s concerned about losing money. It’s concerned if you come out of cash and you go to the stock market and any of those things I talked about happens, you lose part of your principal, as well.
Now, it’s a natural human reaction to run to cash in the investment world when there are period of fear and uncertainty. Now, when we get to Act I or the end of Act I, because if you’re thinking about it, that 4.4 trillion dollars is losing money every single day when you account for inflation, you’re losing your purchasing power, as well. So, it wants to go to higher returning assets, it’s just afraid to go there until we get clarity on the end of Act I, and then I think it’s going to come to the stock market and the market is going to take off like a rocket.
Now, this is kind of, sort of where the presidential election comes back in again. Because how long Act II runs in the Broadway play sense, is somewhat impacted by who the president is, but not 100%. So, what does that mean? If President Trump is reelected it’s four more years of the same policies which have been good for the stock market and good for the economy, so Act II could go all the way to 2024, which is the next presidential election cycle. At a minimum it should go to 2022 which is the midterm elections, because then the congressional deck gets reshuffled again.
Now, when I talk to either financial advisors, like Ralph, or end clients, as well, a lot of people are so freaked out to a degree that all of a sudden is going to be elected president and taxes are going up [snap] like that. It’s not going to happen. And the reason why I say that for a couple different reasons. The first is that Biden’s economic advisor actually came out and said 2021 is all about COVID-19. It’s about getting the virus under control and getting people back to work.
That is not an environment that’s conducive to raising taxes. Because if corporations are finally hiring workers back and you raise their tax rate, what do you think they’re going to do? They’re going to stop hiring workers, because they’re profit-motivated, they’ve got to make money. So, realistically, what you want to do is you want to wait until corporations have hired everyone back that they’re going to hire, then raise the taxes, because it’s much easier to stop hiring than it is to lay people off. That’s the first thing.
The second thing is that even if Biden wins with this blue wave that everybody is talking about, there are not enough seats up for grabs in the Senate in this cycle for the Democrats to end up with a 3/5 majority, which would be 60 seats, and therefore they would be able to railroad through whatever they wanted. So, it’s going to take some sort of bipartisan horse trading as well, so the best guess is that if anything is going to happen with taxes, it would be voted on in 2022, to be enacted in 2023, because 2024 is a presidential election year and you don’t want to raise taxes in that environment. Two other points on taxes, and then I’m done, and we’ll open it up for whatever questions we have.
The next thing, remember, they only tax you on what you earn. So, for two decades corporations made money every single year with tax rates in excess of 30%, so going to the 28% that has been talked about in the Biden plan is not the death knell for stocks. It doesn’t mean that taxes are going to go up and corporations are going to stop making money and the stock market is going to drop, it just means earnings may grow more slowly, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to be negative.
Additionally, you’ve got to think about it, it’s always a tradeoff, there is a rate you pay on taxes and then you have deductions. So, I live in Connecticut, actually, you guys have the same issue, too, in terms of I lost my state and local tax exemption under the new tax code, I lost a big chunk of my mortgage write off, and I paid more taxes last year under the new tax code than I did under the old tax code. So, as far as I’m concerned, I’m all in favor of changing the tax code, because it works out financially in my benefit.
Now, there are people in other states who may feel differently about that, as well. And this may be the most shocking thing I tell you this time, Carl, you ready for this, buddy? Do you know sometimes politicians say things on the campaign trail that they don’t intend to do? Sometimes they just say things to get elected. That’s shocking isn’t it? Yeah, wow, and Carl, I hate to do it, but no Easter Bunny, either, if I’m going to burst the bubbles, I’m going all in, sorry Carl. The fact is that it’s always good for us to remember that laws on the United States are made in Congress, not the White House. The White House can beat the drum on an issue, but Congress has to decide if it’s going to dance to the beat.
Now, once again, presidential candidates say things on the campaign trail, but it’s up to Congress to make them into law. So there is data going back to the Nixon Administration and if you look at the percentage of White House initiatives that make it to law unadulterated or undiluted, the average percentage of White House initiatives that make it through seamlessly, 5%. And the highest percentage ever was 8%, and that was under Reagan, George W and Clinton. So, Carl, 90% of the stuff they talk about on the campaign trail as president either doesn’t get done or gets watered down eventually.
So, this election is close to call at this point, while Biden may be winning the popular vote, the electoral college is still a tossup, and as Ralph pointed out, it’s going to come down to basically a handful of swing states, but it may be a couple of days or weeks until we know the answer. Even if Biden is elected, it’s not as though taxes are going up immediately and just because the tax rate changes it doesn’t mean the check you cut to the IRS necessarily goes up. So, at this point it’s too early to do anything. We should expect some volatility in the market until we get clarity on those two things, but once we have clarity on those two things, I think the market is going to take off like a rocket.
The final point, the best piece of financial advice I could ever give you, turn off CNBC, it is financial pornography. You watch it, you feel guilty, it’s bad for your relationship with Ralph. Because if you think about it, those guys get paid to instill fear in hour. Because if Jim Cramer comes on TV and tells me everything is left knee for the rest of the year, I’m going back to Guy Fieri in Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. They have to instill fear in you because if you’re not fearful, you’re not watching, if you’re not watching, they don’t get ad revenue. That’s what you pay Ralph for. If there is something important happening in the financial markets, Ralph will let you know and then together you will make an investment decision. I’m a big fan of Guy’s Grocery Games, and Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, that’s much more informative to my life than Jim Cramer and those clowns on CNBC.
RALPH: Josh, you do have a couple questions, and I think you kind of in a roundabout way answered them. But one has been up here for a quite a while. What do you think will happen to our portfolio if Trump loses the election?
JOSH: Well, first it depends on what your portfolio is, if you’re in cash, nothing will happen. I’m going to interpret that as the stock market.
RALPH: I think it would be best to think in terms of a 60/40 mix.
JOSH: Yeah, the 40% is fine, interest rates are not going anywhere any time soon. That means you’re not going to make a ton of money in fixed income, but you’re also not going to lose a ton of money in fixed income, either. The “60” which is your stock market allocation is uncertain. Now, if President Trump loses, but it takes weeks and weeks in the Supreme Court and this goes to the House of Representatives, the market may be dropping like a stone all through that process, so by the time, in the instance of your question, Biden is announced as President, you may just get a relief rally out of it. If it’s a blowout in the electoral college and Biden wins on November 5th or 6th or 7th, you may see a kneejerk reaction for all those people say, oh, taxes are going up.
But remember what I told you, it’s not happening, so you should be using that as a buy opportunity, as well. If the market pulls back 20% or 30% on election fears, I would be buying into that, because ultimately, remember there is 4.4 trillion dollars in cash, not all of it is coming your way behind the market, but you’re all So-Cal people, right? You know about surfing. You wait, and the wave comes, and it pushes you along. Once the wave has passed you, you don’t start paddling to catch up to it. So, you want to be there waiting for the waves to push you along, and there is a 4.4 trillion dollar wave waiting to catch up to you.
RALPH: So, we have another question, as well, and this is again portfolio strategy and probably more directed towards us, but I’d like to hear your comments on it. What shall we do with our portfolio between early November and the time when a president is declared.
JOSH: Nothing is the answer. And the reason why is that nobody should have 100% of his or her wealth in the stock market, or your immediate cash in the stock market. If you need money for the next six months or a year, you shouldn’t be in the stock market, you should probably be with that other 4.4 trillion dollars. That’s the first thing.
The second thing is that everyone has a diversified portfolio. You have both stocks and bonds because that’s an all weather portfolio. You might not go up 100% with the market, but you’re not going to go down with the market, as well. Market timing is a loser’s game. No one has ever made money consistently with market timing, and the issue is, if you think about it, let’s say we don’t know who the winner is on November 4th and the market falls 10%, I made that number up completely.
Well, how do you know when it’s going to snap back? How do you know when the results are going to be declared? Because it could be that you find out two days later, and all of a sudden you know who the president is, and it’s such a blowout in the electoral college that whoever it is doesn’t contest it, and all of a sudden the market snaps back and you already got out of the market.
So, once again, just like surfing, you’ve got to be prepared before the wave happens, and that’s why, if you have 100% in the stock market now, which hopefully you don’t, maybe you should think about making those adjustments. I wouldn’t be playing with it between election day and that point. However, if you see a big pullback in the market, I would think if you had some dry powder, which is a nice way of what we call cash, I’d be thinking about deploying it because you get some bargain shopping opportunities.
RALPH: I think we’re ready for Act III, but I do have another poll, if you all want to play along. Let me go live with this other poll here. This has more to do with economics. Which of these organizations is responsible the measure and report the GDP of the United States? National Bureau of Statistics, Federal Service of State Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Central Statistical Office, and the National Economic and Social Development Board.
And by the way, these are all legitimate organizations, they do exist and they do report GDP, but only one of them reports the GDP in the United States. I don’t see anybody taking a guess at it. Can you see it? So, the correct answer is the Bureau of Economic Analysis. It’s interesting, the different names that are up there, what was the other one that was answered, the National Bureau of Statistics, that’s actually for the People’s Republic of China, as well as Nigeria’s agency that reports for statistics also goes by that name, but People’s Republic of China,the National Bureau of Statistics. We don’t care too much about goes on in China, but Nigeria, that’s important to us, a little facetiousness there.
JOSH: Very quickly on Act III, because I don’t want to overstay my welcome. Taxes are going up ultimately. If you look at the size of the national debt as a percentage of GDP, it’s over 100%. The debt as a percentage of GDP is higher than it has ever been at any point in our history and the only time we see debt as a percentage of GDP spiked is usually after wars.
So for those of you who are history buffs, debt as a percentage of GDP was 20% after the Revolution, it was something like 50% after the Civil War it was about 80% after World War I and just about 100% or so after World War II, and we’re a little over 100% now as well. I know, Carl, I burst a lot of bubbles but you know politicians are really bad at cutting spending, too. So, that’s one way you get that as a percentage of GDP down is you stop spending, but Washington doesn’t have a good history of that, so the way they’re going to get debt as a percentage of GDP is you start taxing more.
So, whether or not taxes go up under President Biden, or whether or not they go up under whoever takes over for President Trump in 2024, it’s going to happen. But remember, we shouldn’t be afraid of it, it just means earnings, both our own and corporations, may be a little bit lower, but it doesn’t mean we’re going to be negative. Think about the extreme, if the tax rate was 100% you’d stop working, what’s the purpose of working if everything went, right? So the idea is that they only tax you on what you earn, so we should be prepared for that. And the other big issue that we all have to wrestle with is that interest rates are going to be very low for a very long time.
So for those of us in retirement or approaching retirement, Ralph is going to have to earn his keep because he’s going to have to figure out for those of you who need income retirement, how are we going to get you to those income goals that you need, as well. So, we need to be prepared for that. That’s a big issue that we’re going to be struggling with for years. Taxes are eventually going to go up and interest rates are going to be low for a while, so we just need to be prepared for that.
RALPH: So, that’s Act III.
JOSH: Yep. Once again, we’re good for a while once we get through Act I.
RALPH: Does anybody have any other questions? By the way, you can unmute yourself and just jump in if you would like to. I know we’ve got several people that don’t have videos going. Thank you Carl and [INAUDIBLE — 00:42:44] for sharing your video so we can see your reactions to the polls. Josh, thank you so much, I think this has been very helpful, can we get a round of applause from the group? There we go, it has been a pleasure. I want to remind everybody that we have a Medicare 101 coming up on October 14th at the same time on our Zoom Open Hour.
You can go to our website, enduringwealth.com/events to see all the future events as we get them dialed in and lined up. We do have some other things in the pipeline that we’re working on, a social security things, we do want to get one for post-election, as well and we’re working with our partners like JP Morgan which has been a good partner to us for many years, and I want to thank them for making Josh available to us. If anybody has any specific questions they want to ask me, I’ll be hanging out for a little while afterwards after we stop the recording. That being said, we’re going to stop the recording and say thank you everybody for joining us.