I’ve seen my fair share of adversaries over the years.
In terms of the threat to me, though, one of them beats the others pretty handily. He’s worse than the bully who beat me up once in kindergarten. Worse than my worst boss, or fiercest rival, or even that wasp that stung me in the neck that time.
Who is this bugbear, the most dangerous menace I may ever face? It’s me, of course. For most of us, we are our own worst enemy. When we see a bad hombre, we recognize the danger and make sure to protect ourselves. But when when it’s our own actions and poor judgment posing the threat, we’re blind to the risk and can hurt ourselves far worse than anyone else can.
I was reminded of this during the debate this week between Hillary Clinton and former Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Trump had a very intelligent and experienced opponent and a tough moderator, but the greatest enemy he faced on the stage was, by far, himself. Many of the hardest questions had to be anticipated, and I have a sneaking suspicion Trump went a smidge off script in answering them. It appears, based on the odds (see below), that his campaign is at an end.
I won’t limit this “we’re our own worst enemy” line of logic to Trump, though. If Hillary Clinton was looking to have a rewarding, meaningful, enjoyable next four years, I think that ship has sailed for her. She’s wanted to be President for a very long time and has fought like mad to get it, but in the end, I doubt she’ll be able to say, “That was TOTALLY worth it, I’m finally content, and I am filled with peace, happiness, and love for my fellow man.” I wonder if someone who really disliked Clinton (if there are any such folks in the world) could devise a more grievous punishment than her being President in her golden years. When I’m pushing 70, I’d like to chill out with my grandkids and take a nap every day, but to each his own.
Now that a Clinton win is almost a lock, perhaps we’ll realize Bernie Sanders’ dream of tuition-less college for everyone, a big college debt bailout, and free ice cream. The only issue with the college-related plans (I’m all for free ice cream) is that I think we already have too many folks going to college, not too few. Lots of kids go to college with no concept of how they’ll justify the investment, and subsidizing college further will only exacerbate the problem. I think this young lady agrees with me.
From the Economist, on paid parental leave: “The United States is the only OECD country that offers no national-level paid leave at all.” Ummmm, we’re number 1??? U.S.A.! U.S.A.!!! Or maybe we can actually fix that with a new President. Maybe.
Also from the Economist, we hear that the traditional MBA is under pressure. I’m worried that means my precious MBA asset is reduced in value. Once they get done bailing out undergraduates, I’m hoping they can start helping us downtrodden MBAs.
And finally, for those who want to get their Christmas shopping started early, I offer the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog. Go nuts.
The Market for President
This is the main reason I wanted to write today. There’s been some major movement, and this contest looks done.
It was a good run for Mr. Trump, but your favorite never really looked at risk. Now the more interesting odds (you can view them all at Ladbrokes) deal with margin of victory and the like.
I am a little surprised to see no odds for Evan McMullin. It sounds like he may win Utah, and that could be the beginning of a Disney movie about how he turned his 6 electoral votes into a Congressionally-awarded Presidency and stuff. He should have better odds than Paul Ryan, but that’s just a reminder that markets, including the Presidential odds market, are efficient over time, not always instantly.
Teaser for Upcoming Post
You were hoping today would be another HVAC-inspired financial lesson, weren’t you? Well, I have great news – that post is nigh near written and should be in your hot hands early next week.
Happy Friday everyone!