Barry Ritholz, in the course of dismembering Art Laffer's latest Wall Street Journal op-ed, asks something I've always wondered: Why do people who have money to lose, as opposed to ideologues, pay any attention to the Journal editorial page?
Basing your investments on “selective and incomplete” analyses is how you lose money in the captial markets.
Indeed, I have railed in these pages against the ideological, fact-free OpEd in the WSJ — not because of the politics, but because they have been such consistent money losers. That would not matter so much if it were the NYT or the Podunk Press, but this is the Journal, for crying out loud, It is supposed to be the paper of record for investors.
That the money losing OpEd page of the WSJ produces its most well read articles goes a long way in explaining one thing: Why 80% of money managers underperfom every year. Filling your head with Ideology, becoming a “magical thinker,” ignoring data, making up your own facts — these are a recipe for under-performing asset managers.
If I were to create a list of questions to ask potential managers of my money, one of them would be: “Do you read the WSJ OpEds?”
If the answer were yes, I would not walk but run in the opposite direction.