It is still not as easy to stay in touch on the road as the puff from high-tech peddlers would have you believe. After all, even if quick access to high-speed connectivity were available everywhere -- which it is not yet -- one travels for reasons other than to watch the screen. So I got only the highlights of
market reaction to the September
, in which a flat job growth number was muddied by confusion about the effects both of Hurricane Floyd and of the lack of growth over the past year in the supply of available labor. With average hourly earnings up 0.5%, or 6% annualized, a quick conjuring of an Econ. 101 set of coordinate axes suggests that job growth is held back not by lack of demand for labor, but by scarcity of supply.
Bonds adopted a cautious stance in response, but the stock market has the Oct. 5
meeting behind it and a vibrant third-quarter earnings season right in its face, so it was not immediately intimidated. Nor was it disturbed to see the official version, in
minutes, of the warning Chairman
had issued when he objected to a characterization of Fed policy as asymmetric. "We are not asymmetric, the market is." And he went on to explain that the Fed would react to an outsized move
in either direction
by the market.
What is the symmetrical equivalent of a safety net?
But, out of touch or not, I could not miss the scintillating news that
has formed an exploratory committee to consider his candidacy for the office of President. Of the U.S.
There has never been any doubt in my mind that this is a great country, but I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't think it was quite ready for this groundbreaking development. It's about time we got around to having some asset-class representation in the White House, and real estate is a huge asset class. Americans are heavily invested in it, to the tune of trillions of dollars. Real estate is big, bigger perhaps even than the stock market, depending upon which authority you consult. And The Donald is big, bigger perhaps even than real estate itself, depending upon whom you ask, Trump or anybody else.
We have elevated senators and governors by the score, but such ordinary sorts have not displayed the vision, the entrepreneurial zeal, the intergalactic chutzpah that we can count on with The Donald.
And why not a towering figure like Trump? Why not a real estate developer as president? After all, there is a whole new millennium ahead; time to set a solid foundation -- and time enough to recover. We have voted generals into office before, but military matters are not what's hot today, given that our superpower status is unchallenged. Having as president a man who is himself a superpower seems fitting. We have elevated senators and governors by the score, but such ordinary sorts have not displayed the vision, the entrepreneurial zeal, the intergalactic chutzpah that we can count on with The Donald.
Perhaps you are not aware that, even to this day, this great country has entire states with nothing but low-rise buildings. The tallest edifice in this country, to this very day, is nothing but a mountain. Snow-capped it may be, but there are no elevators, no parking and no concierge services. And by the way, it is not
, which is really more accurately described as a hill than a mountain. You can bet that President Trump would not settle for that.
Of course, getting Trump elected may not be as easy as it appears at first blush. Campaign finance is not the problem; the candidate himself will pay for it out of his tip money. But a competently run campaign is still necessary, with solid blocking and tackling. Ticket balance is crucial. Geographical balance is a standard tactic, so right away, of course, we think of
. Hollywood is even farther west than Las Vegas. Trump himself told
, live, that
might be available as a running mate, but I took that straightforward gender-balance ploy as a misdirection play on his part. Trump's strategies would never be so conventional, so derivative. Surely he is thinking ahead, to a well-diversified ticket, to
, the first really
ticket in American history.
With real estate development at the top of the ticket, you might think immediately of someone from fixed incomes for a running mate. Fixed incomes are, for the most part, steady and reliable, just what we want to have "only a heartbeat away." But this is an exceptional moment and an exceptional candidacy. A new millennium demands more excitement, more growth, more volatility -- it's got to be equities. Equities, by acclamation.
But who? Who can team with Trump in triumph?
might be a great choice, but he actually has more money than Trump and so is unacceptable.
is a man of great renown and deeply held convictions about markets and politics, but he's more a macro man than purely an equities guy, and, anyway, the U.S. Constitution is sticky on the issue of foreign-born candidates for the vice presidency.
I'm convinced that, after deep thought, Trump will realize that diversification is for those who don't really know the truth, the score, the eventual outcome in the way that he does. His sense of timing will come to the fore. He'll see that equities are peaking and real estate is coming on. A concentrated portfolio makes sense when you know the answer, and therefore so does a concentrated ticket.
It's got to be Trump. Trump, alone at the top of the ticket as Trump is alone on the top of buildings. After all, if by some calamitous eventuality, he might happen to die during his term, he would surely rise from the dead to succeed himself in office.
The upcoming election year is shaping up to be quite a spectacle. It's great to be an American, and to have a voice, and a vote. And a passport.
Jim Griffin is the chief strategist at Aeltus Investment Management in Hartford, Conn. His commentary on the financial markets is based upon information thought to be reliable and is not meant as investment advice. Aeltus manages institutional investment accounts and acts as adviser to the Aetna Mutual Funds. While Griffin cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at