Kingsview CIO Scott Martin discusses the state of our economy, the Omicron surge, wage growth and inflation.
Station: Fox Business News
GUY BENSON: President Biden today announcing an extended pause on federal loan payments until May of twenty two, claiming the COVID pandemic is the cause bit of an odd decision considering the administration seems to like promoting the idea that inflation and supply chain concerns are blown out of proportion. And despite lots of job openings all over the country, a new poll from Gallup shows 67 percent of Americans believe economic conditions are getting worse. A number not seen since the beginning of the pandemic. So what is the true state of our economy right now? Here to discuss is Fox News contributor Scott Martin of Kingsview Wealth Management. Scott, first we talk about this sweater. Was this a you purchase? Was this a lost bet? What happened here?
SCOTT MARTIN: Well, basically everything and guy, to be honest with you, my mom still dresses me because I need that kind of help and it’s on her. She picked it tonight. And so that’s it, man. But it’s kind of like it’s a mixture, though, right? Is it an ugly sweater? Is it a fugly one? Is it even a sweater? But it’s on tonight.
BENSON: It appears to be a sweater. I’ll leave it to others to decide whether it deserves the fugly moniker. Let’s talk about something that many people believe is ugly the economy. How’s that for a transition? The talking points have come down from the White House and they say We are better off as a country on all of these metrics than we were a year ago. Clearly, public opinion does not agree. Why?
MARTIN: Yeah, the economy is fugly to use the word, and maybe that’ll that’ll sweep the rest of the year here because it’s kind of like, you know, the more you drink, the better the economy looks. And that’s not a good thing because if you look at the data guy, since we’ve had even the resurgence in the Omicron variant or the newest variant, Macron or even just kind of this, this fallout from this big resurgence we had in the economy where we were growing it, you know, double digits of GDP and now we’re back to single digits in GDP and we’re really creating a couple hundred thousand jobs per month and wage growth is slowing it. Inflation is going crazy. I think a lot of folks out there are feeling what what we all do, which is the fact that inflation is way higher than what people’s wage growth is. So when you look at like how much people are making versus how much they can spend and how that affects consumer confidence. Inflation is way outpacing what we’re all taking home. So we’re losing kind of that gap against what things are costing. And then certainly the fact, too, that when you have the stock market that is as volatile as it is, you know, every given day the market is up or down a couple of percent. Some of our favorite companies are down five percent, up 10, down 15 and so forth. That puts together a pretty tough environment in which to operate as we end the year here.
BENSON: So you just outlined a lot of the reasons for pessimism, and that is, you know, that’s a sense shared by most Americans, obviously based on the data. What would be maybe one or two points on optimism, not pessimism, as you look forward into 2022?
MARTIN: Well, the fact, too, that there is probably going to be, as you have talked about with your panel, maybe less of a devastating impact from the latest variant. In the fact, too, that the problem is is that the psychological damage that I think the lockdowns and the regulations and just the curtailing of a lot of business activity, the psychological damage there is pretty high. So the fact that we’re going to get further away, hopefully when we get past this latest deal with Omicron. God willing, is that we’re going to have hopefully a chance to get the psychological part of us rebuilt. And I think that’s going to take some time. But once we start realizing that we can win against this variant and we can win against this virus, and hopefully people will be able to make their own choice as far as their health. I mean, if people want to get vaccinations fine, don’t do it. I have mine. I had my booster the other day. It’s fine. But if people do want to do that, that’s fine. But the fact that the government still feel like they need to take care of everybody on this hopefully allows people maybe down the road to make their own decisions and feel comfortable about going out in the world and doing what they want to do as far as economic activity.
BENSON: Now, of course, you have the president, as I mentioned at the top with this new extension on the moratorium on the loan payments. I mean, at some point you can’t keep using COVID in the emergency as an excuse in the term moral hazard comes to mind as well. It’s a policy we’ll be watching here. Scott, great to see you and your sweater. Thank you.
MARTIN: Thank you.