Scheduled for Squawk Box: January 2, 2020 6:50 AM EST: Talking Points

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From: xxxx@nbcuni.com Subject: Your Squawk Box segment this Thursday, January 2: Please get to the studio at UC Berkley by 6:40am est Body: The anchors will be Joe and Becky. You’ll share the segment with Shermichael Singleton, political consultant, contributor at The Hill. The discussion will be about “running against the Trump economy”. Trump has had the best 3 year performance out of every president since Reagan, since being elected. How does one run against this? Who has the potential to compete? Can Trump keep it up, how? Please send thoughts and talking points.

Jump in the S&P over the past eight years from 1300 to 2600

A 1.5x in the valuation ratio
A 1.16x due to inflation
A 1.15x due to an increase in the fundamental earning power underpinning each share of stock
All of that is due to buybacks. None of that is due to greater business earning power
Thus the optimism with respect to the valuation ratio—even given limited opportunities to earn money elsewhere—somewhat puzzles me
Plus there is the joker in the deck: will the wage share remain depressed indefinitely?
Usually I’m a “150% of your net worth in stocks” guy
Now we are moving money out, and I’m a “50% of your net worth in stocks” guy

The talk I hear about the “strong Trump economy” makes no allowance for the difficulty of the dive he has faced relative to that that other presidents face…

Trump was handed very good cards
Taking account of the difficulty of the dive, I think you have to say that:
The Clinton economy turned out much better than expected (due to good policy)
The Obama economy turned out better than expected (due to good but inadequate policy)
The Trump economy has turned out as expected—but with extra damage done by the trade war, which has on net hurt manufacturing and agriculture, and with no investment boom
The Reagan economy turned out somewhat worse than expected—policy incoherence between the tax cutter, the defense spenders, and Paul Volcker really stomped the entire economy over 1981-3 and the Midwest over 1981-1987.
The George H.W. Bush economy turned out worse than expected—they took their eye off the ball on the S&L crisis
The George W. Bush administration really _ _ the pooch…

It looks like we have dodged a recession…

We have had a manufacturing recession, but domestic manufacturing is no longer an important enough sector for a manufacturing recession to bring down the economy as a whole…
The Trump economy is very weak in productivity growth and the wage share, and those are very worrisome for long-term trends.

The most striking aspect of the political situation is the strong divergence between Trump’s good unemployment and inflation numbers and his lousy approval numbers

Yet perhaps what should surprise me the most is that his approval numbers are so high
Policy incoherence while you insult people on Twitter would not have seemed to me to be a governing strategy that many Americans would approve of…
It’s not just not doing your job…
It’s undignified
Yet he has his fans—and very few of them are beneficiaries of his tax cut, and there are no beneficiaries of his trade war or his foreign-born sliming…
Perhaps all his fans think they will benefit from his tax cut?
Recall John Steinbeck: “We didn’t have any self-admitted proletarians. Everyone was a temporarily embarrassed capitalist…”
A new paper out by Alberto Alesina and Stephanie Stantcheva on how Americans think there is much more and Europeans think there is substantially less upward mobility than in fact there is—and how in real life there is more in Europe than in America

#economics #forecasting #highlighted #politicaleconomy #politics #talkingpoints #2020-01-01

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