The Clinton Discount


It took me two years at Brigham Young University to earn an MBA, but I can boil down that whole experience into three words that summarize everything I learned during that time. So, after reading this post, you can consider yourself a Master of Business Administration, too. Heck, if you’re a Clinton, you can probably put that on your resume.

Ready for your three-word Master’s Degree?

Here it is:


That’s it. That’s the summum bonum of all business wisdom in three little words. Please feel free to send me your tuition payments.

The idea is that the market operates efficiently based on all available information. If there is a known demand, the market swings into action to create the supply. And if a stock is selling at a certain price on the NYSE, the market has incorporated everything that is known about that stock into the price. So when people who tell you they are smarter than an efficient market and can get you a return better than the market as a whole, they’re generally full of crap.

This info is also helpful in understanding the concept of “discounts.” Suppose, for instance, that you’re a publicly-traded company teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, and you’re going to miss your earnings targets for the next quarter by a wide margin. Surely that means your stock price is going to collapse, right?

Well, yes and no. Yes, your stock prices are going to collapse if the public doesn’t already know your company is collapsing. But, as is more likely, all your travails and woes have played out online and in the press and at your competitor’s water cooler, then that misery has already been discounted and is reflected in your current stock price. The earnings reports confirming what everyone already knows won’t have any additional impact, because the discount has already been applied. In fact, if your next earnings report shows you missing your targets by a smaller margin than the market expected, you will likely see your stock price rise even as your company is collapsing.

Which brings me to Hillary Clinton, who is all but assured to be the next President of the United States.

I don’t say that because I want her to be president. I don’t. Good gravy, I really, really don’t. I think Bill and Hillary Clinton are the two most despicable human beings to ever live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And, here’s the irony – a clear majority of the public agrees with me, and they’re still willing to vote for her.

From the New York Post:

A majority of US voters — 54 percent — say Hillary Clinton is not honest or trustworthy according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday. Only 38 percent said they trust the Democratic frontrunner. …

And she beat every Democratic and Republican rival in head-to-head match-ups.

This is why I have no patience for those who think this latest round of Clinton scandals – the deleted emails, the multi-million-dollar slush fund known as the Clinton Foundation, the transparent bribes from foreign governments – are going to somehow do her in. Remember, this is the wife of a man who perjured himself before a grand jury while he was the sitting president, who spent the final two years of his office telling people that felonies committed to cover up sexual dalliances are no big deal, who has been credibly accused of both rape and sexual assault and dismissed the charges by calling his accusers trailer park trash, who sold the Lincoln Bedroom to the highest bidder, who bilked seniors out of their life savings in Whitewater, who collected FBI dossiers on his political opponents and unleashed the IRS on his enemies…

Need I go on? Because I could. (The Travel Office firings based on false accusations. Rose Law Firm billing records. Foreign campaign donors. Stealing tens of thousands of dollars of White House property on their way out…)

You get the idea. And so does everybody else.

So remember that the next time you hear a news report with some breathless anchor saying, “This just in! The Clintons may have taken bribes!” Consider that it’s a bit like the lousy earnings report of the company everyone already knows is a complete mess. There’s nothing in an accusation of bribery that isn’t already factored into the Clinton Discount. What, a bribe to the Clintons? You mean like Marc Rich’s wife buying a pardon? Or Hillary making a 1000% return in the commodities market from a broker buying influence? Tell me something I don’t know. Tell me something an efficient electoral market hasn’t already discounted into the Clinton stock price.

This, incidentally, is why the Clinton defenders lean so heavily on the idea that “this is old news” every time another tiresome scandal rears its head. These pundits are applying the Clinton Discount. They’re saying, “Remember, Joe Q. Public, these are the Clintons were talking about. You know them, and you know what to expect.” A Romney taking bribes? Well, that’s outrageous! A Clinton taking bribes? Well, that’s usually just twice before breakfast.

Keep in mind, too, that the Clintons earned this discount by actively degrading expectations while in office. People forget that when the Lewinsky news broke, nobody thought that Bubba could possibly survive if the allegations were, in fact, true. Even Hillary Clinton admitted as much.

Anyone remember this little exchange with Matt Lauer on the Today Show?

MATT LAUER: If an American president had an adulterous liaison in the White House and lied to cover it up, should the American people ask for his resignation?
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, they should certainly be concerned about it.
LAUER: Should they ask for his resignation?
CLINTON: Well, I think that—if all that were proven true, I think that would be a very serious offense. That is not going to be proven true.

Yeah, okay. But by the time it was proven true, the Clintons had subjected the nation to months on end of relentless apologetics designed to discount the initial outrage. When Bill was finally in front of a grand jury dancing around what the meaning of the word “is” is, the nation had been deliberately exhausted into acceptance. “OK, fine, he lied, blah blah blah. But the economy’s good, and this is all old news.” This discount applied to every aspect of Clintonism. In 1991, when Clarence Thomas allegedly suggested to Anita Hill that there was a pubic hair on his soda can, it was an outrage. But in 1998, in the midst of Clinton tirelessly grinding away at the nation’s patience, Juanita Broaddrick showed up with a credible charge of rape and nobody even noticed.

So once the country looks at that squarely in the eye and just shrugs its shoulders, what could the Clintons possibly do to go beyond the boundaries of decency that they spent their entire administration obliterating?

Well, there are some things they could do, certainly. Perhaps they could campaign for the return of slavery. Maybe Bill could kill somebody, although that probably wouldn’t shock anyone. (“What? You mean he’s a rapist and a murderer? Well, who isn’t? And wasn’t his victim a Republican?”) Or, worst of all, perhaps they could become conservatives.

None of those things are going to happen. Which means that the American voters already know everything awful about these awful people, and they’re still prepared to let them back to defile the country regardless.

Markets are efficient. Sadly, so are elections. Which is why Hillary Clinton will put her hand on a Bible in January of 2017 and take an oath that nobody in the country will expect her to keep.

Post-American Possibilities

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