The Corner

Economy & Business

Confusion at Politico

On the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, July 2018. (File photo: Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

At Politico, Ben White writes that the impeachment of Donald Trump would not tank the stock market. “No, impeachment will not crash the stock market,” the headline says, with the familiar if inexplicable cocksure tone.

(Seriously, the hectoring tone of the headline writers of our time is both annoying and intellectually unwarranted.)

White bases his argument on the fact that many Wall Street professionals say that an impeachment would not crash that market. I have no doubt that he is accurately reporting what he has been told.

But what is the actual record for Wall Street professionals’ predictions about the behavior of markets? Maybe we should ask the experts at Lehman Brothers about that.

The thing about absolutely unpredictable market events is that they’re notoriously hard to predict.

White writes:

Wall Street analysts generally agree that a protracted impeachment fight and potential Senate trial could weigh on stocks, giving Trump the opportunity to claim vindication for his market crash prediction. But they say any drop on Wall Street would be based on the uncertainty of the outcome of such a fight rather than real fear of a post-Trump presidency.

That, of course, does not exactly match up with the headline or with White’s central thesis, that the long-running bull market “will probably not be slain by an impeachment of President Donald Trump.” (I might have written “would” rather than “will” in that sentence.) Unless we are to believe that by some occult means there might emerge uncertainty about the outcome of an impeachment fight without, you know, a fight over impeachment.

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