“The market plunge on the Fed rate hike ‘is completely overblown”, said Steve Mnuchin, on Thursday, just as the bottom fell out again for U.S. equities.
The proximate cause for Thursday’s midday swoon appears to be Donald Trump’s (modified) Patrick Henry impression.
For Henry, it was “give me liberty or give me death”.
For Trump, it’s “give me steel slats or give me death.”
“[The President] does not want to go further without border security, which includes steel slats or a wall”, Sarah Sanders said, hours after Trump delivered a series of ridiculous tweets including this one:
And, later, this one:
That throws things into doubt just as Congress was pressing ahead with a bill that would keep the government funded through February.
As absurd as this already was, it’s made even more surreal by the fact that somebody called Brian Kolfage (a 37-year-old Florida resident and an Iraq war veteran) has started a GoFundMe campaign for the wall which, as of this writing, has raised almost $5 million. That puts it a “mere” $995,000,000 short of its “goal”.
As you can see, nearly 77,000 people have contributed to this crowd-sourced effort to help Trump construct a 2,000-mile-long barrier, a testament to widespread stupidity among the American electorate and a poignant reminder of how Trump got elected in the first place.
This is made all the more ridiculous by the fact that the existence of this GoFundMe campaign is stone, cold proof that Trump was lying about Mexico paying for the wall and you can be absolutely sure that nearly all of the 77,000 people who are now committed to paying for it themselves believed Trump when he said Mexico would be footing the bill.
Speaking of bills, all of this throws into question the existing bill that the Senate has already approved. Trump could well veto it if he doesn’t get his “steel slats” (or if Brian can’t raise another $900 million in the next 12 hours).
If you’re wondering whether the sheer stupidity inherent in all of the above is lost on markets, the answer is definitively “no”. The Nasdaq plunged into bear market territory on Thursday from its intraday highs.
And here’s a two-day, annotated look at S&P futs which tells you everything you need to know:
Only utilities are green amid the bloodbath, which, as of noon, is worse than Wednesday’s rout.
In case it is in any way unclear, the combination of tighter monetary policy and a White House run by a man who is quite obviously not in full possession of his faculties, is a noxious mix.
This is another one of those times when the English language is not a sufficient tool to communicate how absolutely crazy all of this really is. We’ll trust readers are just as dumbfounded by it all as we most assuredly are.