Russell Wood @PieFarmer: are you selling stocks ahead of the tax change?
The newspapers have found a new way to scare the shit out of you. This election was like a gift from god for them. Last year they had “Greece” and “Fukishama”. It turns out nothing radioactive leaked out of Fukishama and Greece, a simple beach resort in the Mediterranean, will have no ramifications on the global financial system. But the newspapers won’t apologize about that. They were simply reporting the “news”. The news wasn’t about Greece. It was about fear. And why was the fear there? Because of the news! It’s a circle jerk.
One time I was behind the scenes at a news show. The producer told me, “we’re just trying to fill up the minutes between commercials”.
Always remember that about news. It’s not about the content. It’s about how to get you to look at ads. They get you to look at ads by first attracting your attention with the scariest headlines possible:
(Charles Dingle, above, was last denied parole in 2010)
So now the newspaper publishers are calling each other up: “we hit the jackpot Rupert!” “I know, Jeff!” and then they shout in unison: “FISCAL CLIFF!”
I write about financial stuff all the time. But I am also a borderline functional idiot (I hope I am not offending any idiots out there but it’s true so it can’t be offensive if it’s true). I had to finally call someone the other day and ask: “I don’t read the news, so what is this ‘fiscal cliff’ everyone is talking about”? He explained it to me. And I was like, “WHAT! THAT SCARES THE SHIT OUT OF ME!”
Which means this: it’s not going to happen.
I can’t think of the last time the predictions in the scariest headlines ever came true. So I will tell you exactly what will happen.
Obama doesn’t care anymore about elections. He wants to build a lasting legacy. So he doesn’t want the country to plunge into a recession. Clearly if you take money out of people’s pockets, they will spend less money, and the result will be bad for the economy. I’m not saying he should print more money. Just don’t put your hand in my pocket. That’s all I ask. So he won’t do it. Nobody is stupid.
What about the Republicans? They don’t want to be seen as “blocking” a functioning government. Their best hope now is to fight for small changes up and down the system rather than massive changes that have no chance of getting past the Presidential veto. So here’s what will happen: taxes will be raised but in such a way as to create more press releases but won’t really affect too many people. Government spending ultimately won’t be cut but will shift from one bucket to another. Is this good or bad? I have no opinion. But that’s what will happen.
And then what will newspapers do? I don’t know. Because I take pride in the little sanity I have left, I won’t be reading then.