Presidential elections risk drowning investors. Here’s how to stay afloat.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Kevin McHugh.

Presidential elections destroy everything they touch, or at least make them incredibly volatile.  

Provocative headlines, an ongoing pandemic complete with lockdowns, and the sheer possibility of a contested election with most of the country working and still learning from home is enough to send anyone into a frenzy. 

Nonetheless, we find ourselves begrudgingly participating in this ritual of panicking over the security of our money, including the retirement nesteggs held by 6 in 10 American households in possession of a retirement account. 

Many, as a means of protecting their assets, are questioning whether they should withdraw their money from the market, await a crash, and then re-invest in lower stock prices. Doing so, they insist, follows the general wisdom of “buy low, sell high” found from self-help classes to business school classrooms. 

This could not be further from the truth. Moving our eggs too often simply increases the risk of them breaking, especially when we don’t truly understand the meaning of  “high” and “low”. 

In order to prove this point, I analyzed every election year since 1972. This analysis was conducted by taking the beginning and ending price of the S&P 500 Index, starting on October 1, and calculating the average monthly return of the month prior against average monthly returns. Later, I used a similar process for the VIX to be explained further in this article.  

The S&P 500 has an average decline of -0.58% in October’s before a presidential election.  The average monthly return of the S&P 500 is 0.67%, meaning the market historically has increased on average every other month except the month before a presidential election when it declines.  

Furthermore, the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), which measures market volatility and overall investor confidence, has always been quite sporadic in the month before a presidential election. During this month, the VIX historically has had an average fluctuation of over 27%; whereas, the VIX’s average change over its nearly 30-year history is just over 6%.  

Meanwhile, after an election, data from the U.S. Bank shows that the stock market increases at an average of 5% when a new party gains power in the White House (in this instance, a victory for Joe Biden) and 6.5% when an incumbent keeps the White House. In fact, stock market averages have steadily increased by 9.5% from 1920-2019 when adjusted for inflation.

This data shows us a lesson that 100 years of data still struggles to teach Americans: we should learn to view major events, such as elections, in the context of long term investment rather than short term volatility. 

After all, research from JP Morgan shows that missing the 10 best days of trading in the past 20 years risks cutting your returns in half with 6 of the 10 best trading days occurring within 2 weeks of the 10 worst trading days.

Overall, the data paints a clear picture of the risks for attempting to time the market. It’s best instead to take the more prudent route: be consistent with your contributions and reevaluate your risks and allocations every 3-5 years. 

Taking these steps will truly help mitigate some of the biggest retirement blunders as most attempts to time the market are risky and lack prudence necessary for a serious investor. 

Kevin McHugh is a M.B.A. student at University of Baltimore and the founder and CEO of Bloombox. He is also SGA vice president.

Senate acquits Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress

President Donald Trump was acquitted by the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, February 5th 2020. Photo credit: Evan Vucci, AP Photo

By Bryan Gallion, Anna Hovey, and Charlotte Parker Dulany, Capital News Service

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will remain in office after Wednesday’s final vote in his Senate impeachment trial resulted in acquittals on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, bringing the four-month impeachment process to a close. 

A two-thirds majority of senators was needed to convict the president on the two impeachment articles. Democrats fell short with 48 votes to convict and 52 Republican votes to acquit on the abuse of power charge. There was a 47-53 vote on the obstruction of Congress charge.

Votes were along party lines except for Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who broke from Republicans, becoming the first senator to support removing a president of his own party from office. In what he called “the hardest decision” he ever had to make, Romney voted to convict Trump on the abuse of power charge, but voted against the obstruction of Congress charge. 

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement after the Senate votes saying “the sham impeachment attempt concocted by Democrats ended in the full vindication and exoneration” of her boss.

“This entire effort by the Democrats was aimed at overturning the results of the 2016 election and interfering with the 2020 election,” she said.

Trump tweeted that he would speak about the Senate proceedings at noon Thursday. He also tweeted out a video showing him standing behind Trump campaign signs with changing election year dates dozens, then hundreds, then thousands of years into the future. “Trump 4EVA,” the last sign said.

Trump was charged in two impeachment articles passed by the House in December in connection with his withholding of nearly $400 military U.S. aid to Ukraine in exchange for that nation announcing investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and alleged Ukrainian interference into the 2016 U.S. election.

Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, used the word “unimaginable” when describing what consequences and criticism might be in store for him, particularly from fellow Republicans, Trump and the president’s supporters. 

“He’s the leader of my party,” Romney said of Trump during his address to the Senate ahead of the final votes. “He’s the president of the United States. I voted with him 80 percent of the time… And yet he did something which was grievously wrong. And to say, well, you know, because I’m on his team and I agree with him most of the time, that I should then assent to a political motive, would be a real stain on our constitutional democracy.”

Still, Romney called Trump’s actions “perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of oath of office” imaginable. 

“Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?” he asked.

Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, also considered a swing vote in Trump’s impeachment trial, announced his decision to vote to convict earlier in the day. He’s facing re-election this year in the largely Republican state. 

“After many sleepless nights, I have reluctantly concluded that the evidence is sufficient to convict the president for both abuse of power and obstruction of Congress,” Jones said. 

After urging his fellow senators to censure the president on Monday, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia formally announced his “reluctant” intention to vote for conviction just minutes before senators voted. 

“The evidence presented by the House managers… clearly supports the charges brought against the president in the articles of impeachment,” Manchin tweeted. “While the president may assert executive privilege, that privilege has limits and is not absolute.” 

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, also announced Wednesday that she would vote to convict the president. She was often seen standing and clapping as Trump delivered his State of the Union address Tuesday as her Democratic colleagues remained in their seats.

“Today, I vote to approve both articles, as my highest duty, and my greatest love, is to our nation’s Constitution,” Sinema said in a statement. “It is dangerous to the fundamental principles of American democracy to use the power of the federal government for personal or political gain.”

Trump’s acquittal came the day after he delivered his third State of the Union to a divided Congress. He declared that “the state of our union is stronger than ever before” with no mention of his impeachment.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, spoke to his colleagues just ahead of the 4 p.m. vote. 

“Our nation was founded on the idea of truth,” Schumer said. “But this president is such a menace, so contemptuous of every virtue, so dishonorable, so dishonest, that you must ignore — indeed sacrifice — the truth to maintain his favor.”

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, countered Schumer’s final remarks, saying the Senate would “reject this incoherent case that comes nowhere near justifying the first presidential removal in history.”

McConnell added that while the “partisan” impeachment ended Wednesday, he feared the “threat to our institutions” that the proceedings posed would not. 

“Leaders in the opposite party increasingly argue that if our institutions don’t produce the outcomes they like, our institutions themselves must be broken…The response to losing one election cannot be to attack the office of the presidency,” McConnell said. “I hope we will look back on this vote and say: This was the day the fever began to break. I hope we will not say this was just the beginning.”

Following the vote, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, said he was fearful there had been “serious damage” done to the country’s democracy.

“President Trump has engaged in unprecedented stonewalling — a blanket cover-up that makes President Nixon look like an amateur,” Van Hollen said in a statement. “And because the trial was a farce, the final result will be seen by most of the country as illegitimate… There is no exoneration, no vindication, no real acquittal from a fake trial.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said in a statement following the final vote, “There can be no acquittal without a trial…By suppressing the evidence and rejecting the most basic elements of a fair judicial process, the Republican Senate made themselves willing accomplices to the president’s cover-up.”

Pelosi defended the passing of two articles of impeachment in the House, repeating what she has said previously: “The president has been impeached forever.”

Don’t Lose Hope: UB reassures DACA students

Advocates, immigrants, and faith leaders at the Supreme Court in support of President Obama’s DAPA/DACA.

By Olivia Dudley

Staff Writer

 

On September 5, 2017, President Trump had Attorney General Jeff Sessions speak on his behalf, on the topic of ending the federal government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This declaration sparked panic and fear into the hearts of many in the United States, many on our very own campus. People risk losing their status of being a legal immigrant if their DACA application did not make it to the U. S. Citizen and Immigration Service by September 5, 2017. Work permits can be renewed until October 5, 2017 if set to expire between now and March 5, 2018.

Photos by Br. Christian Seno, OFM

The day after President Trump’s controversial declaration, a meeting was held for UB students in the Business Center. This meeting was held by UB’s Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic, Elizabeth Keyes, and clinical teaching fellow Nickole Miller. The duo spoke passionately about protecting the rights of students under DACA; neither one provided false hope to the room packed with concerned students. This type of reassurance was greatly appreciated by the audience; no one wanted to be told “everything is going to be perfectly fine, don’t worry about it” because no one really knows exactly what a future without DACA holds for those who missed out on reapplication.

Keyes and Miller frequently referred to the website www.weareheretostay.org, which lists a variety of different methods and advice to both legal and illegal immigrants. One important point they highlighted was to know your constitutional rights, such as “Do not open the door if an immigration agent is knocking on the door,” “Do not answer any questions from immigration agents if they try to talk to you,” and “Do not sign anything without first speaking to a lawyer.” These reminders are listed on helpful red cards found on: www. ilrc.org/redcards. It is suggested that people undergoing the process of immigration keep these cards by their front doors in case they are questioned by the Immigrations Customs Enforcement (ICE).

According to Jens Manuel Krogstad of Pew Research Center, “Nearly 790,000 young unauthorized immigrants have received work permits and deportation relief through [DACA] since it was created five years ago by President Barack Obama.” If a DACA recipient has recently renewed their application, they may be eligible for other immigration options and services in order to get a work permit or green card.

On the topic of green cards, Keyes felt the need to insist that marrying an American citizen for the specific reason of obtaining a green card is one of the worst ideas; according to Ilona Bray of All Law, “Marriage fraud can expose both you and the U.S. citizen to criminal penalties (though the most severe penalties are reserved for the big-time criminals). It can also get you, the immigrant, an order of removal from the United States, which will come with a bar on reentering for some years into the future and a ruin of your credibility with the immigration officials.” Being an immigrant and marrying out of any reason other than love puts you, and whoever you are marrying, at risk.

Among the documents Keyes and Miller presented to the September 6th audience addressed contingency planning for Maryland families affected by immigration enforcement. It discussed the troubling fact that undocumented parents have been prompted to plan for potential separation due to immigration enforcement. Unfortunately, Maryland does not use Power of Attorney (POA) to its full extent; there is the MD Statutory Form POA, research conducted by Van Doan, Johnathan Greene, and Michael Stelmack on behalf of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc, which states “If the principal authorizes the agent to use the principal’s funds and assets for the benefit of minor children, the document should include such an authorization.”

President Trump has been in office for less than a year and he has already brought so much discomfort to so many of the people living in America. Happy families are being separated because of his policies and family outings are being disrupted, thanks to these ever strengthening policies that are being developed by our leaders. The best solutions offered are to call up our congress- men and senators, protest, and write letters. But I will be honest, it seems as if all our government is hearing is a faint whisper; we need to raise our voices and make more noise or we will never truly be heard.

Community Sound Off: About the presidential election

The election is just around the corner and such a hot topic, it was only right that it’s featured in this month’s Community Sound Off. This election has been filled with wikileaks, no’s, immigration reform, emails and it’s fair share of confusion. The two candidates have stated their respected plans and all the debates have come to an end. This election is coming to a close, with in a weeks time, the votes will be cast and counted and the United States will have a new POTUS. The UB Post wanted to hear what UB had to say about this election and share who they planned on voting for.

Sanders and Trump: Voices for American dissension in a time of dissatisfaction

By Sammie Lane, Contributor

The commercialization of American politics has become an interesting trend to observe in contemporary American culture. Watching presidential candidates sling verbal jabs at each other has become commonplace in televised debates. During this election season, two candidates, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, have progressed from relative political obscurity, to the political media limelight.  Both candidates come into direct opposition with the status quo involving politics in the United States.

The United States has long been considered a melting pot for cultures. This country was founded on the ideas of freedom and equality. However, growing inequality has led to tensions among separate communities. Josh Zubran, of The Wall Street Journal, noted in his article “Tracking Inequality in America” how the median income for whites and non-Hispanics was $123,000 greater than the median income for non-whites and Hispanics in 2013. The emergence of the “Black Lives Matter” movement over the last couple years, has led to protests across the United States. Uncertainty has settled in the air as the economy, military conflicts, education, and other issues weigh down the American conscience. In these times of turmoil, people who were once burdened by conformity have disregarded the consent of their peers. Adopting radical ideas to combat increasingly complex problems. As a result an influx of radical ideas have entered the political spectrum.

The ideological contrast between Democrats and Republicans reflect a nation that is becoming more divided. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both believe they are capable of improving the United States, but their versions of the ideal America are vastly different. These candidates are unorthodox in their approach to politics, yet they still represent sectors of society that want to bring about drastic change in America. The fact that their campaigns have garnered considerable support shows that there are people in America who believe in their bold ideas.

According to a poll conducted by Tim Malloy of Quinnipiac University, Donald Trump possesses 24% of Republican votes for presidential nomination. Trump has a lead of 1% over second place vote getter Dr. Ben Carson, for Republican presidential nomination, as of November 4th 2015. Malloy’s poll displayed that 63% of Republicans had a favorable opinion of Trump. His supporters are primarily male, as 44% of males had a favorable opinion of Trump, while only 31% of female voters had a favorable opinion of Trump. Also, Trump supporters tended to be middle aged or older. Only 22% of voters between the ages of 18-34 had a favorable opinion of Trump. That percentage rose to 38% – 43% among voters who were 50+. Trump supporters are distinct between race as well as age. Only 11% of black voters had a favorable opinion of Trump compared to 41% of white voters.

In terms of his political outlook, Bernie Sanders can be described as a Democratic Socialist. He has pushed for sweeping financial reform in the United States. Senator Sanders advocates breaking up large financial institutions that consolidate wealth. Sanders campaign has also amassed a youth following. According to the  “McClatchy-Marist Poll” Sanders possesses 58% of votes from democrats and democrat leaning independents between the ages of 18-29. That figure dips to 45% for the 30-44 age range. Support for Sanders drops rapidly as the demographic age increases, since Sanders garnered approximately 21% – 26% of votes from democrats 45+.

Donald Trump has alienated millions of voters because of his controversial statements, something that would have ruined a presidential campaign in times past. Ironically his controversial statements seem to be fueling his campaign as conservative voters admire his firm demeanor, emphasis on the white middle class, and refusal to censor himself in a politically correct society. Bernie Sanders has captivated the minds of disgruntled youth who want to revolutionize their parents’ America. He has risen in democratic polls despite the fact that he has revealed his acceptance to forms of socialism. Which has been taboo in American politics for decades.

On the surface both of these candidates appear to be complete opposites. Senator Sanders is a utopian socialist, and Trump is a financial kingpin. But they are actually quite similar.  Both are agents of change, who wield their social relevance as a tool to represent American citizens, who want their voice to be heard. Possessing the courage or audacity to proclaim radical ideas. Ideas that isolated groups of citizens believe, but individuals dare to speak.