Memorial Holiday. Today is Memorial Day. My views on war are mixed. World War II was for a just cause and I'm proud of the service of my grandfather, Manny Berkowitz and my father-in-law, Fred Dutton in that war. But there hasn't been a war in my lifetime that I feel good about. Vietnam was essentially designed to stem China's influence in the world and I think the only conclusion is that it was a disaster for us. The war in Afghanistan was clearly justified, and I support retaliation, but it's not clear to me why our military is still there. I don't feel more protected as a result of their presence. It seems to me that terrorism is everywhere...Osama bin Laden simply moved to Pakistan and terrorism will follow the supply of money...war is no longer a place or a people. It seems now wars are fought for whose ideology and influence is the largest. I want no part of that. The first Iraq war was designed to protect Kuwait, but Kuwait was hardly a true US ally. We wanted to enforce the world honor and protect our oil. Protecting our oil, in my mind, is not a reason to send young people to die. The second Iraq war was a regime change effort. We didn't support it when Germany did it and I don't support it when we do it either.
This Memorial Day I appreciate any person's willingness to serve his or her country. I appreciate that my freedom's came because people stood up to power and fought for the right to be free of a monarchy. But not all war is justified and loss of life in these wars hurts even more. Today my thoughts are with today's warriors. There is no debating that their cause is just. Front line workers are today's warrior and the lives that they are fighting to save. Thank you for your service.
Cash or Equity. The stock market is up 2.5% this morning. It's over 34% above it's virus low and only about 11% below it's pre-virus highs back in February. The stock market is pleased to see the country opening up again. The stock market is thrilled to see people leaving their homes and crowding into public spaces. The news was filled with images of people without masks enjoying life as if nothing was different. People say things like, "I think we tried isolation for long enough" or "I feel fine" and generally demonstrating a level of ignorance about what the doctors are saying. What are the doctor's saying? Stay away from people! Wear a mask! We're not seeing a lot of that.
Is the stock market right? Is the worst behind us? I'm torn. I initially thought that the immediate drop was a buying opportunity (and I did) and then as I realized that this is likely to be with us for another fully year plus before we are all vaccinated, I started to move money into cash thinking that I needed to have at least 2 years of cash on hand to manage the likely bumps in our economy and essentially prepare for an economic disaster. As I watch the stock market grow today (and our retirement savings along with it), I'm torn. I'm happy for the strength but far from comfortable that we are seeing a trend that will continue into the fall. Cash is good today. Less risk and less reward seems like a reasonable trade off right now.
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