"I think today's reasons to not own stocks are pretty weak."
I would agree with you for the long term if and only if fundamental structural factors in our society were not at the critical point of degradation and needing replacement, or if there was some sort of reasonably phased replacement plan and schedule articulated by any US government administration.
But that's not the case.
However, as I said I do hold out hope for the very short term--a couple of months--because traders have become more arrogant than they were years ago. What I mean by that is that there seems to be a broad perception among the large trading institutions that it is NOT economic, monetary, and social factors that drive the markets, but rather the markets that drive everything else. The big players really feel like they are in control--and to a significant extent, I believe that to be true as far as the equity markets are concerned.
That kind of bubble life is fine, as long as you never have to leave the bubble. Look what's happening now with Russia's responses to US sanctions...they are looking for, and will eventually find, a way to conduct their international trade in oil and arms without using the USD, especially with places like China. Yes, countries have been trying to find a way to do this for a while, but this is just another form of incentive, and a good one at that, especially for discrete sales, or merely bilateral agreements.
So I disagree that these are fundamentally normal times. We are at the end of an era in many ways, and will suffer growing pains entering the next. Within that renewal will be opportunities, but not like during the industrial revolution, with the possible--POSSIBLE--exception of Africa, if they can ever stop killing each other (unlikely).
But ultimately, I think there will be market problems this year, and that the Dow will show no gains at all. So far now, 3 months into the year, the DJIA is down .82%, even with the 115-point rally early this morning. As far as the DJIA goes, I have missed out on nothing except possibly some dividends.
As far as the next 3 or 6 months go, I think there will be some good trading opportunities, but as far as investment goes, I see no particular reason to buy within that period.