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Tyler Cowen

American Pessimism Doesn’t Extend to Shorting the Market

Even investors who are skeptical about U.S. prospects are sticking with their portfolios.

What’s your position?

What’s your position?

Photographer: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP

“But are you short the market?” That is my favorite rejoinder to expressions of radical pessimism. It came to mind recently when I read an opinion piece suggesting that “the United States as we know it could come apart at the seams.”

I am sufficiently old-fashioned to think that you ought to put your money where your mouth is. The trouble is, I’ve never met a pessimist who will steadfastly short the market — or even lie about doing so.