Stocks Always Go Up. Until They Don’t.

by Doug French

Economist Irving Fisher famously said just before the 1929 stock market crash, “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” Whoops. Fisher wasn’t just any old economist. Joseph Schumpeter called him “the greatest economist the United States has ever produced.” Milton Friedman and James Tobin agreed.

After the sharp March COVID crash, stocks have come roaring back: nevermind the pandemic, protests in the streets, shuttered businesses, and double-digit unemployment rates. In Fisher’s day the Federal Reserve was but a pup; now Chairman Powell decided to print and ask questions later, expanding his central bank’s balance sheet by $3 trillion dollars in four months, a 75 percent increase.

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