John Ransom

Congress has inflicted frightful punishments on its members--now you know that. When they tried Mr. Fairoaks, and a cloud of witnesses proved him to be--well, you know what they proved him to be--and his own testimony and his own confessions gave him the same character, what did Congress do then?....Congress intimated plainly enough, that they considered him almost a stain upon their body; and without waiting ten days, hardly, to think the thing over, they rose up and hurled at him a resolution declaring that they disapproved of his conduct! Now you know that. –Colonel Beriah Sellers, The Gilded Age, Mark Twain, 1873

In the Transparent Age American’s are quickly finding out that Mark’s Twain’s adage that Congress is the only distinct criminal class in this country is as true now as it was in Samuel Clemens’ Gilded Age.

And, make no mistake; this isn’t a left-right problem. It’s a national problem that greatly needs attention if we can ever hope to restore the trust citizens must have that our political system works for us, not against us.

What’s becoming increasing clear is that the government exercises too much power in the daily life of our Republic and their own portfolio.

As more and more Bundy Ranches happen all over the country, and more green companies with ties to Harry Reid, Barack Obama or others with check writing authority amongst the Democrats, go belly up, people are getting the idea that the government is just playing a game on the rest of us.

You can find evidence of this in two easy-to-understand stock market phenomena that defies the typical left-right bias.

The first evidence is what’s known as the Congressional Effect.

“Specifically, since 1965, 46 years of empirical data demonstrates,” write fund manager Eric Singer, who manages a fund based on the data, “that over long periods of time the stock market performs dramatically better on days when Congress is out of session as compared to days when Congress is in session.”

Singer says that since January 1st, 1965 to December 31st, 2010 the market has returned less than one percent when Congress is in session versus a 16.57 percent return when Congress isn’t working. The numbers get worse for the last decade too. Since 2001 to the end of 2010 the market has lost 7.58 percent annualized when in session versus a gain of 12.68 percent annualized when Congress is out of session.


John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.