Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discussing the prospect of a Biden presidency, the consequences if either candidate/party loses; and a friendly wager on the presidential election for charity.
Get The Full Seth Klarman Series in PDF
Get the entire 10-part series on Seth Klarman in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues.
The Prospect Of A Biden Presidency
1) All eyes are focused on the election a week from today... and a lot of people are losing their minds – panicked at the consequences if their candidate/party loses.
This fear isn't entirely irrational, as this election will indeed have major, lasting implications for many important issues.
But when it comes to the stock market, I urge you not to panic – either today or after the election – because I think stocks are going to do fine, no matter what happens (unless there's a contested result that leads to major instability, which I think is unlikely).
We know that President Donald Trump has been good for the stock market – just look at where it's at: the S&P 500 Index is within 5% of its all-time high reached on September 2, despite the massive damage the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted on our country.
As for former Vice President Joe Biden, I think he's unlikely to push for radical changes that sink stocks. If you look at his nearly half-century career, it's clear that he's not part of the far left like Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren (both of whom he defeated in the primaries, which says something about where the center of the Democratic Party is), much less Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Many businesspeople are coming to this realization, as this front-page story in yesterday's Wall Street Journal highlights: Business on Biden: Not So Bad, Given the Alternatives. Excerpt:
Former Vice President Joe Biden is running for president on the sort of platform that usually makes business sweat: higher taxes on corporations and investors, aggressive action to phase out fossil fuels, stronger unions, and an expanded government role in health care.
Yet many business executives and their allies are greeting the prospect of a Biden presidency with either ambivalence or relief. Credit that not to who Mr. Biden is, but who he isn't: Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, senators with a much more adversarial approach to business who lost to Mr. Biden in the Democratic primary, or President Trump, whose administration has been marked by economic-policy unpredictability.
A Friendly Wager On The Presidential Election For Charity
2) According to nearly every poll and betting site, President Trump is likely to lose the presidential election.
I've said it many times: Biden is likely going to win (but to be clear: I'm not making a political statement about what I want to happen – this is merely my best, unemotional assessment of the odds).
If you disagree and think President Trump will win his re-election bid, then let's make a friendly wager to benefit either your favorite charity or mine (KIPP charter schools in New York City, on whose board I've served for the past two decades).
I've done these wagers for each of the last three presidential elections, and they've raised nearly $100,000 for KIPP and various other wonderful charities.
To participate, just e-mail me at WTilson@empirefinancialresearch.com and let me know how much you'd like to wager – ranging from a minimum of $100 to a maximum of $2,500. I'll accept all offers up to a total of $25,000.