Don't Get Off the Boat

Photograph by Ted Clutter/Photo Researchers/Getty Images

I think the election relieves uncertainty, O.K.? I think a lot of purchasing people—I was at a machine tool show last week in Chicago. Every two years they hold a show. This year they had 90,000 people from a lot of small manufacturing firms, not Caterpillar and John Deere. But you walk around and you look at their badges. They’re mom-and-pop shops waiting to buy $1 million to $9 million big machine tools that cut parts. And what they told me—right, they cut this desk, they cut the metal parts of your computers and the Apples and all that, and they measure things. And what they told me is that the tools that wear out, the razor blades of that business, are being used up all the time. In other words, their shops are running. But they’re not buying the big machines because they don’t want to make a mistake if the wrong economic and tax policies come in to have another double dip, a recession, O.K.? So they’re really worried. And we need to get past this log jam and this election, and then there’s tremendous pent-up demand because since ’08, ’09, right, there have been huge technological advances in a lot of this kind of equipment.

—Michael Price, MFP Investors: Bloomberg Surveillance, Sept. 21, 2012

“This log jam and this election.”

Wisdom is an earned phenomenon and may be defined as the number of times the boat leaves the dock and you’re on the dock. It may be that real estate deal they did and you did not. It may be the real estate deal you did and they did not. It may be the uncountable times you did not invest. (See Google’s initial public offering.)

Then there is the less-spoken wisdom. The one the gurus, pundits, and media types always—always—miss and dismiss. That is: staying on the boat as it comes up to the dock at Worry. (Worry is NNE of Cape Fear across the Straits of Kahneman & Tversky.)

Michael Price has earned our respect and attention. Our log jam will break. There will be a first Wednesday of November. Don’t get off the boat. Discuss.

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