top of page

At Least Half of Us, Unhappy

2024 is a presidential election year, and we expect it will continue to be an interesting year in politics. It is important to remember that regardless of who becomes the next president in 2025, somewhere around 50% of the U.S. population will be disappointed in the result. In the past twenty presidential elections, only four have ended with the winning candidate securing more than 55% of the popular vote, and the last time that occurred was in 1984.[i]  Writing or discussing politics with clients is a tricky undertaking and the goal of this essay is for about 50% of you to think we were even-handed, 25% to think we were too pro-side A and 25% to think we were too pro-side B.

Source: Created by Redmond Asset Management using data sourced from U.S. News and [ii] [iii] [iv] 

Whether the Republican or Democratic presumptive candidate is elected, they will be the oldest candidate ever elected to the office of President of the United States of America[ii] [iii]. And, unfortunately, recent polls indicate that, “majorities of Americans say they would be “very” or “somewhat dissatisfied” with both Trump (58 percent) and Biden (56 percent) as the nominees, per AP-NORC Research Center polling.”[iv] So why are Americans left with such dissatisfying choices for president? It seems likely because there are fewer competitive electoral districts than ever before, as incumbent reelection[v] is the highest it has ever been. As such, most politicians cater to the whims of a political base and have become more ideologically cohesive and far fewer elected officials reflect an ideological center of the country. For example, only about two dozen moderate politicians are in office now, versus more than 160 in 1972.[vi]

Source: Created by Redmond Asset Management using data sourced from The American Presidency Project [i] [ii]

History teaches investors that political views and election results should not interfere with their long-term investment decisions. Instead, investors should focus on finding the best investment opportunities available and that the pillars of law, social freedom, and capitalism have fueled the United States economic engine for over 200 years. However, the general rule is that if you voted for the party in power, you are more likely to think positively about the state of the U.S. economy… and if you voted for the other candidate, then your disappointment in the candidate is also reflected in your view of the economy. Regardless of which party has been in power, or if power is divided, as it is currently and has been for 61% of the post-WWII period, both U.S. GDP and S&P 500 investment returns are positive. The American economy and capitalism have prevailed.

Source: JP Morgan Asset Management Market Insights, Guide to the Markets U.S. 1Q2024 as of December 31, 2023, p. 67 and p. 68

One hot topic in the current political environment is the subject of immigration, especially the influx of migrants entering at the U.S. southern border. We have not seen conclusive data, and we expect it will take significant time to measure the effects, but there are views purporting both that these migrants have had a net inflationary or deflationary effect on the cost of U.S. labor, and similarly, that they will have a positive or negative effect on U.S. fiscal deficits.[vii] Instead of opining on these aspects, we will focus on the effect of immigration on economic growth, as it relates to population growth.

The Aggregate Production function[viii] is an economic concept that states that economic output (GDP), or its growth, is a factor of the overall technology level, the amount of physical capital investment in the economy, and the amount and quality of labor available in the economy. From this model, we understand that investments in physical capital such as roads, manufacturing plants, machines, and computers will grow the economy. Likewise, an increasing population of producers and consumers provides economic growth. And, investments in people, such as education and job-training, fuels the increased productivity which can lead to economic growth. However, if the population is decreasing, then an economy faces a serious headwind.

The population of an economy is increased by the number of births, decreased by the number of deaths, increased by the number of immigrants (foreign nationals moving in) and decreased by the number of emigrants (those moving out of the country). Globally, population growth is slowing, and projections suggest that the current global population will increase from about 8 billion currently to 10.5 billion around 2080 and then begin to decline. Europe and China have already experienced natural population declines, where deaths have outnumbered births. For example, China’s population has decreased by over 2 million people in each of the last two years.[ix] The decline in global population growth is masked by the fact that globally people are living much longer lives, as life expectancy at birth has risen from about 46 years in 1950 to almost 72 years in 2022.[x] This can be seen when comparing the fertility and population graphs, below. When fertility rates, the average number of children a woman births, fall below 2.1, the size of a population begins to fall. The U.S. had a fertility rate of 2.1 in 1940, 3.6 in 1960 (near the end of the baby boom), has often been less than 2.0 since 1980, and is currently 1.8.[xi] 

Approximately one million lawful immigrants have entered the country, per year, since 2000.[xii] And immigration to the United States has contributed roughly 33% of overall population growth between 1990 and 2010 and 65% of the total U.S. population growth between 2021 and 2022, meaning that immigration contributes more to population growth in the United States than births.[xiii] 

Over the rest of the century, the U.S. stands out among developed nations, and even large developing economies, like India and China, as having a stable or slightly growing population. The majority of global population growth will occur in Africa while most developed nations will have fewer inhabitants in 2100 than they do now. For this reason, we believe that a great portion of the world’s economies will face increasing challenges to grow and that the U.S. remains in a relatively advantaged position. This advantage comes from significant physical and human capital investments, such as being a technological innovation leader, and upon the structural advantages that include our system of capitalism, social freedoms, and the rule of law, all of which support population growth, including immigration.

In summary, don’t let the politics of the presidential year get you down, and remember that as long as the U.S. continues to attract immigrants, and there are globally 160 million people that say they would like to permanently move to the U.S., then we think that’s a sign that there’s more good than bad going on in this country and a reason to be optimistic for the country and your investments. Ideally the government can develop a better policy around legal immigration, further fostering productivity and economic growth.



Redmond Asset Management, LLC                                                        April 2024

The opinions contained in the preceding commentary reflect those of Redmond Asset Management, LLC (RAM). The stated opinions are for general information only and are not meant to be predictions or an offer of individual or personalized investment advice. They also are not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security. This information and these opinions are subject to change without notice. Any type of investing involves risk and there are no guarantees. Redmond Asset Management, LLC does not assume liability for any loss which may result from the reliance by any person upon any such information or opinions.


Redmond Asset Management, LLC is an independent, SEC registered investment management firm located in Richmond, VA and is not affiliated with any parent organization. RAM was founded in 2005 and registered with the SEC on December 22, 2005. The company offers investment management services for equity, balanced and fixed income portfolios to corporate, institutional, and individual investors.




Recent Posts
bottom of page