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Five Things Podcast, the Transcript: The Age of Self Evidence


It's just like the Five Things You Need to Know Podcast, only quieter.


Editor's Note: What follows is a transcript of the Five Things You Need to Know Podcast, featuring Professor Kevin Depew and Cory Bortnicker.

Cory Bortnicker: Welcome to 5 Things You Need To Know: The Podcast. I'm Cory Bortnicker, and with me, as always, is Minyanville Executive Editor, Kevin Depew.

Kevin Depew: Hey, Cory.

Cory Bortnicker: Let's get started with number one. Kevin, in your column on Wednesday you talk about living in The Age of Self Evidence. What do you mean by that?

Kevin Depew: Well, The Age of Self Evidence is something I've written about before, and I came up with it to characterize what I feel like we're living through now, which is this age where simply asserting something makes it true.

Cory Bortnicker: Right.

Kevin Depew: We're waist deep in facts that are based on someone's theories that have no grounding in anything other than the fact that someone had the audacity or the ability to say it in a public forum, so that automatically lends it some credence or some weight. Nobody even bothers to check up on things. And so that's where it really came from, and I trotted it out again today. I think it's an ongoing thing that we're going to continue to see for a while.

Cory Bortnicker: And there was a Bloomberg headline that was especially, perhaps, fitting for this. What was that?

Kevin Depew: That's right. This morning going through some of the headlines to see how headline writers and financial columnists were characterizing the Obama presidential election, I came across one on Bloomberg that said "Obama may inherit bull market after $6 trillion loss."

Cory Bortnicker: Right.

Kevin Depew: And, you know, the election is not even six hours old and someone is saying that the President-Elect is going to inherit a bull market. In fact, the only thing he's really going to inherit that we know for sure are two wars and the worst economic crisis in modern history. So it's a little bit early to be asserting that he's going to be inheriting some kind of bull market --

Cory Bortnicker: Sure.

Kevin Depew: -- that's going to ride him into a second term.

Cory Bortnicker: Right. Now, Obama having been elected just yesterday, did we see any reflection of his win in the markets today?

Kevin Depew: No, I don't think so. I know that people are going to try to read into that, and I think the rally -- if you want to say that anything you could read into the rally yesterday, on Election Day, it's that -- the fact that we were actually, apparently, going to have an election was a relief in some way.

Cory Bortnicker: Right.

Kevin Depew: But from a socionomic standpoint, it's the economy that chooses the president, not the other way around. And so presidents, based on social mood, are either going to be interpreted by social mood as benefiting the economy or destroying it, and neither is really accurate.

George W. Bush, for example, will probably, through some historical lenses, be viewed as the man who ran the economy into the ground. It's simply not the case, any more than it's the case that, say, Jack Welch for GE was the one that built up the company and Jeff Immelt ranit into the ground. It's just an accident of timing.

Cory Bortnicker: Right. Let's move on to number two, the service industry. You wrote in Wednesday's column that, "the Institute For Supply Management reported that service industries in the U.S. contracted the most on record in October." Why is that significant for us today?

Kevin Depew: Well, I think going back to your question, what does the election say about the market today, if anything, the one headline we should have seen and we didn't was, "Obama Elected President. We Now Return You ToYour Regularly Scheduled Depression," or recession, or whatever you want to call it.

I mean, the facts are that the economy is in terrible shape. The fundamentals are terrible. They're getting worse and worse with each passing month, and so this is yet another sign that we're not out of the woods. And what's happened on Wall Street over the past year is now beginning to reverberate and echo out onto Main Sreet.

Cory Bortnicker: Let's move on to number three, which is jobs. What can you tell us about the current rate of joblessness right now?

Kevin Depew: Well, there was an interesting report this morning. The payroll processing firm Automatic Data Processing (ADP), they do their own private employment report. And there are a variety of reasons they started doing this. Most of it had to do with the inefficiency or the inaccuracies built into the government's employment data.

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