The Prudent Retiree - July 2017

“Never Give an Inch.”

          -Ken Kesey in Sometimes a Great Notion.

Kesey was one of America’s great novelists. He was part of the so called “counter culture” of the 1960’s and a member of the Merry Pranksters. Their main claim to fame was heavy drug use, most notably LSD. Expanding their minds supposedly led to greater enlightenment. That’s a question for another day.

My parents of course were not fans of the Merry Pranksters. Like many high school boys, I was a rebel without a cause and loved Kesey’s books. My favorite was Sometimes a Great Notion. The book chronicled the lives, fortunes and tragedies of the Stamper family. Their credo was “Never give an inch”. The book became a movie starring Henry Fonda as the Stamper family patriarch. Sadly, never giving an inch caused great misery and misfortune for the Stampers.

Prudent Retiree believes the Stamper’s have taken over Washington, D.C. Nobody gives an inch, nothing gets done and partisan conflict goes on without end. The Stampers live in both parties and all their various factions. The misery and misfortune they cause falls on us. Kesey also wrote One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Washington is certainly a cuckoo’s nest.

The Stamper/ D.C. antics have not, as of yet, harmed the markets. Federal Reserve Chairperson Yellen said she expects to continue normalizing interest rates unless the economy proves sluggish and inflation continues to wane. We are still well below the Fed’s target inflation rate of 2%. Low inflation and low interest rates have been positive drivers of the markets. At the moment, we’re not likely to see conditions change.

Here’s a great notion. Perhaps those we elect and their pressure group cohorts will give an inch and actually get something done. That would most likely be good for everyone and the markets. You decide who the cuckoos are.

Leubsdorf, Ben. "Economy Chugs as Market Soars." The Wall Street Journal CCLXX.12 (2017): 1. Web.

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