Readers Hit the Hot Buttons

It’s been a week of very provocative Afternoon Editions. I say that not as a matter of just qualitative assessment, but also as a matter of quantitative analysis. That analysis is based on the unusually high number of interesting and thoughtful reader responses we’ve had since last Friday’s issue.

Recall that we started the current string of topics featuring Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders with a discussion a week ago about why the two seemingly polar opposite candidates have such strong appeal with their core supporters.

The topics this week all had some relationship to either the Trump phenomenon, or the appeal of Sanders.

On Monday we told you about chess champion Gary Kasparov, and why he disagrees with the solutions to our economic problems posed by Bernie Sanders.

Tuesday we went over the importance of what political types were calling "Super Tuesday 2.0." We included many reader responses as to what you thought of the current hot-button issues.

Wednesday we concentrated on the Federal Reserve and its "dovish" decision on interest rates. Still, there was so much more reader response about how politicians are addressing our economic issues, we included even more of your feedback.

Yet it was Thursday’s issue that really got reader juices flowing. We presented an assessment from the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Forecasting Service that called a Donald Trump electoral victory one of the top 10 global risks.

Now I know for some of you, you’re probably tired of reading about Trump, Sanders, Clinton, Cruz, Kasich, etc. And, I totally understand that politics isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, especially in a year where that tea tastes decidedly bitter.

Still, it is incumbent upon us to know about what’s taking place in the country, if even just for the completely selfish purpose of how it affects our money.

So, if you’re tired of politics in the Afternoon Edition, rest assured next week we’ll venture into more diverse ground.

Today, I had to devote one more issue to your extremely thoughtful feedback on the "global risk" concept. Here the opinions ranged from complete agreement with the Economist to complete dismissal of the notion. Of course, the most-interesting reader responses were those that saw a bit of truth in both extremes.

00slevin writes:

While I have always respected the Economist, I feel that they fell into the easy trap of taking Mr. Trump at his word, which makes him an easy target for the popular press looking for dramatic headlines. The man is no blustering fool. His stances on issues resonate with many Americans as the voting shows, and he realizes that negotiation is the key. A skilled negotiator does not does not start with "half measures."

John writes:

Is Trump a threat? Yes! His business resume is not inspiring unless you like bankruptcy and lies. His understanding of foreign policy is almost nil. And don’t get me started on the wall. Would you really consider this blowhard know nothing to be the commander-in-chief of the most powerful military in the world? If this somehow happens, I truly fear for the future of our country.

F Voltz writes:

Whoever wins will be a threat to the establishment and the status quo in politics and big business. Bernie would jettison the last vestiges of capitalism remaining in the U.S., sending the worldwide economy into depression. "Hillbillary" will dither and always look for the politically correct approach to any issue, i.e., the one that maintains her power for the maximum period of time. Her perpetual dishonesty should be cause for any rational person or foreign government to pause and wonder whether anything she says can be relied upon. The traditional media, such as the Economist, doesn’t like a politician they can’t control or who doesn’t follow a linear, dogma-based approach to elective office.

Eileen writes:

Although I don’t agree with Trump’s economic policies, I disagree with their [Economist] assessment. China does manipulate its currency and free trade is two-sided. You can’t have free trade with one side not having any tariffs and the other having 100% tariffs. The group is jumping on the anti-Trump bandwagon and unless they’ve met payroll or actually produced something that people want to buy, I take their comments with a grain of salt.

Marielle writes:

Excellent article. I do agree with many of the dangers of Trump’s positions on numerous issues. I like many things about the man, however, in many ways he is dangerous (I am aware of that fact at the gut level).

Joe writes:

While the Economist is well-written and has outstanding coverage of all regions, it is a member of long standing of the British Establishment, which, much like the European and American Establishments, will say or do anything to maintain the status quo which is obviously in trouble. They couldn’t care less if the peasants suffer as a result of trade, taxation, welfare and immigration policies. Trump is not my candidate (Cruz is), but the hostility to him tells us that the Establishment feels very threatened by him.

Brad response: I think there are many unknowns with a Trump presidency, and the unknowns combined with the extreme Trump rhetoric are understandably of great concern to thoughtful people.

Arguments in favor of Trump’s policies, and hopefully more details on those policies, will come to light further if he does win the nomination. But for now, it’s a bit too early to deem him a top global risk the way the Economist has.

Of course, if you’re worried about the unknowns of a Trump presidency, well, I understand that sentiment completely, and I share your concerns.


OK, here’s another chance to weigh in on a week of politically oriented Afternoon Editions.

Let me know what you think by leaving me a comment on our website or by sending me an e-mail.


Stocks finished off another week in positive territory, as traders continue to bid up equities in the wake of the dovish Fed meeting early this week. The S&P 500 now is in positive territory for 2016, the first time we’ve been able to say that this year.

Elsewhere in the news today:

•  One oil rig returned to operation this week, according to Baker Hughes’ data. There are currently 387 oil rigs operating in the U.S., which is about 75% fewer than their October 2014 peak. WTI crude closed nearly 2% lower in Friday trade.

•  Anbang Insurance Group’s $13 billion cash bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (HOT) could become the biggest U.S. deal by a Chinese company. Marriott International, which is in the process of buying Starwood, has until March 28 to counter the offer. HOT rose 5.5% today.

•  Apple’s (AAPL) "Let Us Loop You In" event on Monday is set to be a non-event as far as new products, as the latest-and-greatest iPhones typically debut in the fall. Apple followers suggest that a 4-inch version of the iPhone, plus a new iPad and perhaps new Apple Watch accessories will be on Monday’s announcement list.

Good Luck and Happy Investing,

Brad Hoppmann


Uncommon Wisdom Daily

Your thoughts on “Readers Hit the Hot Buttons”

  1. Donald Trump comes across as very direct and seems to be posturing himself to those that believe America has lost its mooring base. I can’t say that I don’t agree, but exactly how Trump will handle the position of President is a very unknown question. Based upon his handling of debate questions and responses to the other candidates was quite a mixed bag. A definite distaste for the policies of D. C. are evident, but saying “make America great again” is the same as Obama saying “change” was the necessary ingredient. What that all entails is an enormous unknown and giving one’s vote based on that is shallow like the political talk. At this juncture, I would say as a successful businessman yes, but running the government will be totally different and the percentage of success is not in his favor–unless he intends to majorly revamp the inefficiencies and overreaches of it. John Kasich speaks of his successful record while in . C. and Ohio, but while being governor he put a lot of taxes on the backs of the residents, so attempting to do so in D. C. rests in the hands of those who know his policies and I don’t think there are enough to put him in office unless the election finds neither candidate with a majority; that could create a riot based upon those who support Trump.

  2. The most under rated factor in analyzing Trump and Sander’s support is the actual degree by which they distrust politicians. They don’t just not trust most politicians, they actually detest them. Till Trump and Sanders came along these detesters had no way to influence our elections for their choices were more of the same. Of course the main stream politician thinks him or herself to be a likable person who can’t possibly be so detested………..he or she is wrong, very wrong.

    Why they are so disliked is not so much a matter of policies, bills or laws as it is their demeanor. Most are lawyers and any cogent person knows that lawyers, especially lawyer politicians, demand the truth from the common folk, while they believe themselves to enjoy a forgiving relationship with it. Spin is NOT LYING, words under the law have special meaning (what the meaning of “is” is) and to “dis-remember” is quite OK if it’s them, and not us, under oath.

    Now is the time for this “lawyer, politician” class to be quiet and listen and learn. I doubt such learning will occur as I believe their monumental case of hubris won’t allow it.

    Remember the “Socratic Paradox” you don’t know unless you know you don’t know, and almost to a person the political class believe they know………what a pity.

  3. The Trump/Sanders Phenominon is due to a dissatisfaction and distrust of D.C. politics. Both parties have failed their constituents miserably. The politicians are self-serving, parasites that only care about re-election. The country has serious problems that require common sense, practical solutions. It’s obvious the political elite have no desire to resolve them.

  4. Trump,right or wrong, is self-funding and doesn’t have to “cow tow” to anybody while the other”patsies” have to abide to their donors. This is the most CRITICAL time in AMERICA’S history. Our POTUS is weak and incompetent and has led us to failure in our economy , globaly. and heading towards BANKRUPTCY! “God help us”!

  5. Do the unknowns about Donald Trump scare me? Yes, but no more than the knowns about the other candidates.

  6. The political elites all over the world are afraid of both. The fact is both parties in the US are controlled by elites. For the most part they are identical. They both want the same thing, to stay in power no matter the cost to the folks. So l say the voters should stick it to the establishment elites and run them all out of DC.

  7. Years ago I subscribed to The (Socialist) Economist but cancelled due to it’s Leftist bias. A particularly nasty eulogy of Ronald Reagan sealed the deal. I cancelled. Only a small minority of the stories were of the depth and quality I had expected. The magazine was a big disappointment and not worth the subscription price.

  8. Wonder why the more people dump on Trump, the stronger and more popular he seems to become ? Simple. People, the ‘common folk’, are totally fed up with politics as usual and politicians of all stripes. Under Obama more people than ever are on welfare / food stamps. The economy is in a funk. And employment is lackluster unless you want to believe the phony statistics DC feeds us. The national debt is a gigantic problem that will haunt whoever the next President is, as well as all of us, in a very dramatic way. And none of this is as serious as Obama’s decimating of the military. We’re at a point now where only a dramatically different approach has a chance of possibly saving our once great Country and our capitalistic system that produced the greatest nation the world has ever seen. Trump is right. We’re no longer the great Country in the eyes of the world and indeed our enemies no longer fear us and our friends no longer trust us. So, with that in mind, I for one want to ‘Make American Great Again’ !

  9. Short Answer: Do the unknowns about Trump scare me? Yes, but not as much as the knowns about the other candidates: either status quo or move further to the left.

  10. The Economist article was an unfair attack on Trump. Ask those same questions about Hillary, Sanders or Obama. None of them have been called a threat to our country but look at what each of them have done or wants to do? Are they not a threat also?

    Trump may not be perfect or even know exactly what he’s getting himself into but neither do any of the other presidents. Worried that Trump has filed bankruptcy in the past? Well he might be the perfect president when the US fails. Wouldn’t you rather follow a billionaire than people that have never run a business before? ….just spend other peoples money!

  11. The nominees will be Trump & Clinton. They have a somewhat cozy past so one must think that Trump is a Clinton operative, sent in to enemy territory to disrupt the Republican party to pave the way for a Clinton victory.

  12. I have over 19 trillion reason why going down the same road is dangerous and it’s called our national debt that has been racked up by both parties…and Trump is dangerous?

  13. I am a very happy optimistic guy, but when we look at the garbage politicos now it is sick.
    Phycopath liars and a communist jew that wants to bring Swedish style socialism/communist to America. Trump is a zionist, So we are in trouble.

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