Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason.
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent
To blow up the King and Parli’ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s mercy he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Hulloa boys, Hulloa boys, let the bells ring.
Hulloa boys, hulloa boys, God save the King!
–Traditional English nursery rhyme
Yesterday, November 5, was Guy Fawkes Day. While it doesn’t get a lot of press on this side of the Atlantic, it really should.
It’s the day that the English remember one of their most notorious villains (or one of their most celebrated heroes, depending on their mood or ideological leaning).
In the early hours of November 5, 1605, Fawkes was found hiding under the House of Lords with a cache of gunpowder large enough to turn the building into a pile of rubble. He had planned to take out the entire English government — king, ministers, parliament and all — during the State Opening of Parliament. Now that’s one way to cut government spending!
Fawkes was tortured and executed, of course. Kings tend to frown on attempted assassinations, after all. But he is remembered, in typically dry English humor, as “the last man to enter parliament with honest intentions.”
Today the English celebrate Guy Fawkes Night with fireworks displays and by burning effigies of Fawkes or of contemporary political figures… but it’s always a little ambiguous as to whether they’re celebrating the foiling of the gunpowder plot or the spirit of rebellion behind it.
More than anything, it’s an excuse to have one too many beers and light things on fire… something that every red-blooded American should appreciate.
It’s pretty frustrating to follow politics these days. We’re 10 months into a new administration, and there has been a lot of drama suitable for reality TV… yet very little real policy progress. Healthcare remains unreformed and as unaffordable as ever, and even corporate tax reform – which should be an easy slam-dunk with Republicans in control of both the White House and Congress – appears to be getting bogged down.
And not to throw the Republicans under the bus here; the Democrats haven’t exactly been models of maturity and responsible governance either. They seem to prefer rolling around in the muck with Trump to coming up with sensible policy alternatives.
But as tempting as it might be, I’m not going to recommend that you follow Guy Fawkes’ lead by putting barrels of gunpowder under Washington D.C. and lighting the fuse. (And let me tell you, it is tempting…) That’s the sort of thing that will get you locked up in Guantanamo for the rest of your life.
Instead, I invite you to turn off the cable news and focus on something far less depressing – like making money.
Stocks are expensive today, as I wrote back in early October, and we are very likely in late stages of this bull market. But stocks were also ridiculously expensive in late 1996 when former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan warned of “irrational exuberance,” yet the S&P 500 still proceeded to nearly double again before finally crashing in early 2000. Some of the best profits come at the tail end of the bull market, when the fear of missing out is the strongest.
That’s why we remain fully invested in Boom & Bust. As I write this, we’re up nearly 80% in one of our long-term thematic picks, and up nearly 40% in another.
I’m continually raising our stop-losses, as I have no intention of getting greedy and letting those gains slip away. Eventually, this market will crack, and it won’t be pretty. But, for now, this is a raging bull market, and we’d be fools not to take advantage of it.
Enough about business. Here’s a belated happy Guy Fawkes Day to all of the libertarians, anarchists and other assorted good-hearted ne’er-do-wells out there. I hope you didn’t get in too much trouble.
Portfolio Manager, Boom & Bust