And I can’t help but blamin’ your going
On the coming, the coming of the roads.

– Peter, Paul and Mary

BALTIMORE – “Bill, you just don’t understand how we feel. This whole country was going down the drain. Now we have someone in the White House who might save it.”

This weekend, we drove down to Virginia for our sister’s 50th wedding anniversary. There, we got into a long discussion with an in-law, an avid Trump man.

It helped us understand why readers are so revved up by the new administration.

It also helped us refine a non-emotional way to score Team Trump’s moves.

Positive Moves

Which policies are likely to make America great again? Which will not?

We’ll lay out the logic. You decide how it will play out.

So far, we’ve counted at least three positive economic moves by Team Trump: a freeze on Obamacare implementation, tearing up the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, and pruning funds to the United Nations.

All may reduce the burdens placed on American families… at least as far as they go.

Tomorrow, we look at some of his moves that are likely to cut the other way.

But for now, r emember the formula from Friday’s Diary:

W = rv (w-w – w-l)

Wealth (w) equals the real value (rv) of win-win (w-w) transactions minus the cost of win-lose (w-l) transactions.

We realized two things over the weekend…

First, this formula is far more fertile than we had thought. And second, it needs amendment.

When we say “wealth,” we’re not talking about GDP. We’re not talking about “growth.” We’re not trying to guess stock prices or interest rates.

Instead, we are aiming – modestly – to overthrow all modern economics and provide a deeper insight into what real people actually want.

A Simple Choice…

Here’s a question for you: Which would you prefer?

You grow up with an inferiority complex. You hate your mother. She hates you. You compensate by starting a successful business, hiring thousands of people, and making millions of dollars.

You work night and day. Your wife hates you, too. And nobody much cares when you drop dead at 40 after battling a terrible, disfiguring disease for years.

Or…

You come from a good family. You always feel loved. You marry the woman of your dreams. The two of you have a small family and live on a small farm.

You never make much money. In fact, you eat mostly from your own garden. But you are in good health and live happily into your 90s.

Which would you choose?

The problem with economics – especially the voodoo variety as practiced by the witch doctors in universities and at the Fed – is that it cannot tell the difference. It can’t measure quality. It can only measure quantity.

So it focuses on quantity of output – new roads… trade… and dollars earned and spent.

Everyone assumes more is better. So economists are always trying to get more people into the first example. Not the second. More jobs. More factories. More malls. More credit.

The fellow who creates and spends a fortune is the hero of the trade. He has more stuff.

This concept of “economics” is warped and confused.

And it leads to popular delusions – for instance, that more infrastructure spending is “good for the economy,” or that government deficits “stimulate” growth, or that more inflation “creates jobs.”

Trillions of dollars have been misspent as a result.

Shockingly Revolutionary

We have a solution – so breathtakingly simple… so bewitchingly useful… and so shockingly revolutionary… we can hardly believe we didn’t steal it from someone else.

And perhaps we did. We just can’t remember whom.

So, let’s get to the amendment:

S = rv (w-w – w-l)

We’ve replaced “w” for wealth with “s” for satisfaction.

And there is the whole secret: Economists can measure wealth. They can’t measure satisfaction.

But our formula tells us – beyond a shadow of a doubt – how to get satisfaction… and how to know, for sure, if President Trump’s government programs will help us increase it.

More to come, as we see in which direction the U.S. is really heading…

Regards,

Signature

Bill

 

Market Insight


BY CHRIS LOWE, EDITOR AT LARGE


The post-Election Day stock market rally isn’t just a U.S. phenomenon.

Today’s chart tracks the Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT).

This ETF holds over 7,500 stocks from around the world, including the U.S.

As you can see, it’s hit a series of new highs in 2017.

– Chris Lowe


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Mailbag

Yet another overflowing Mailbag today… in response to the following piece of reader feedback Bill referred to in last Wednesday’s Diary, “Whoopee! POTUS Has Our Backs”:

Now, four days after his inauguration, you declare the president’s “policies” DOA. Your opinions are not based in fact. You have nothing but your own inflamed ego to back up your crazy predictions. I cannot stomach such ignorance anymore. Post this on your daily, Bill, and see how many of your subscribers agree with me. If you have any left, that is.

Here are some more of your responses…

I have also noticed that your comments about Trump are for the most part condescending. If everyone on your staff is so smart, why don’t they run for political office and fix the mess that we are in?

It’s almost as if you want Trump to fail so you can say, “I told you so.” I think that it would be much better if you just shut up and stuck to legitimate policy discussions. You give the impression that our country may have been better off with “Crooked Hillary,” which is a sick joke. If you can’t say something constructive, you should keep your mouth shut.

– Richard B.

Regarding Bill’s comment that the reaction to his writings regarding our new president are running 3-to-1 against, count me strongly on Bill’s side. I think his insights are spot on.

– Mike F.

I am a lifetime subscriber [of Bill’s monthly publication, The Bill Bonner Letter]. And I am sick of reading Bill Bonner’s negative and sarcastic comments on President Trump and what may or may not result from his leadership.

It is not a balanced or even respectful communication. Trump has been president for less than a week. Let’s be objective and see what actually is accomplished. I think he has already accomplished a remarkable amount of substantive changes that are consistent with his campaign promises.

– Chip H.

I agree with your appraisal quite heartily. I’m glad he will be naming the next Supreme Court justice and I like the sound of tax cuts and deregulation. But we have to remember that Trump is not really a businessman. He is a promoter – a hustler – and his executive style of government by tweets seems to bounce between hopeless naiveté and worrisome ignorance.

I may start praying again; I started drinking a long time ago.

– Doug V.

Just forget about the folks who are overly sensitive about comments about Trump. To tiptoe around on this seems stilted. Trump is the president and it is perfectly legitimate to make comments about him – both positive and negative.

Regardless of a person’s point of view, how could any thinking person not be concerned by some of Trump’s antics?

– Terry T.

You’re doing fine. I support your observations and, usually, your analysis 100%. Like you, “I observe, laugh, and try to understand.” And probably like you, I seek the truth – and avoid those who have found it! Illegitimi non carborundum! (Don’t let the bastards grind you down…)

– Jack H.

Have to agree with the one who criticized your position stating that Trump’s ideas are DOA. However, you have a perfect right to address the future, same as everybody else.

– Bill E.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoy your daily perspective. I have been down and out on society for so long that I can’t remember when I wasn’t. I am a veteran and a patriot. I love the flag. I worry about my children and my grandchildren.

I suspect most of America has the same doubts you do – I certainly do. But I also love “The Donald” and hope he can somehow make some things better without making [them] too much worse – yes, I am a pipe dreamer, too!

I think what your readers really want is for you to abandon your daily perspective and come with a little rah-rah for a change. I for one don’t want you to change a thing. Keep up the good work and writings. I know we all want the same thing you do!

– Gary L.

Reading the comments you have received from your detractors, I am reminded of a quote by Robert Frost: “Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.”

What may we conclude about your detractors’ education?

– Carl N.

I find Bonner’s Diary comments and opinions a refreshingly honest view of political, social, and economic events in a sea of partisan media shills.

– Grant M.

Saying the emperor has no clothes will always upset those who think he is dressed. Keep up the good work.

– Jim M.