Three quick takes first:

1. INDICTMENT:  If Trump believes the Stormy Daniels crime was not a crime — or trivial — why didn’t he pardon the man he instructed to commit it?  (We all know the answer; but I’d love to hear his.)

2. INFLATION: Mike Pence said yesterday “the American people are facing record inflation.”  Really?  Leaving aside 1920 (23.7% ), how about 14.8% in March, 1980 — more than double today’s steadily falling rate?

3. GREAT MOOS: How single-celled yeasts are doing the work of 1,500-pound cows.

Labs have created exact molecular replicas of cow dairy. Some are already on shelves and being hailed as a way to reduce harm to cows and cut down dairy’s huge contribution to climate change . . .Precision dairy doesn’t have cholesterol, lactose, growth hormones or antibiotics.

That’s the top line of a — to me, thrilling — piece in the Washington Post by Laura Reiley.

A human.

(To the best of my knowledge.)

OK.  So now . . .

After I posted the “Guest Column” by ChatGPT earlier this month, I got me-mail:

Dick W.: “So bland. No meat. No spice. No bite. If this is the best the robots can do, the cognitive elite has nothing to fear.”

→ Ah, yes, but early days.  The singularity is near.

Merle G: “Your column is scary. Not to be too ignorant, but what does the closing phrase, ‘the singularity is near‘ mean?”

→ A nod to Ray Kurzweil’s book title – the point at which artificial intelligence exceeds humans’ and all kinds of wonderful/terrifying things begin to happen.

J.S.T.: “I had ChatGPT write you a fan letter. I couldn’t have done better myself.”

→ I’m not posting it. Narcissism has its limits. But it was really, really nice.

Bob: “I had ChatGPT write you a guest column on the topic of favorable capital gains tax rates on longer maturity Treasuries with low coupon rates.”  Behold:

Another Case for Cowardice

Investing in Treasury securities is a safe and reliable way to build wealth and preserve capital. Most investors are aware that Treasury securities are taxed at ordinary income tax rates. However, many may not be aware that Treasury securities with a maturity greater than one year may be eligible for favorable long-term capital gain tax rates.

This is an important point to understand, especially when considering longer-maturity Treasuries with a low coupon rate. When combined, these two factors shift almost all of the total return of the bond to long-term capital gains. This is good news for investors because everyone benefits from these capital gain rates. For some investors in lower tax brackets, they may not owe any tax at all on the capital gain portion of their return. This effectively makes the investment a nearly tax-free bond with a very attractive rate for the near-zero risk.

For example, consider a Treasury with a coupon rate of 0.25% maturing on March 31, 2024. This currently has a yield-to-maturity of around 5.3%. Assuming that the investor holds the bond until maturity, the total return will be around 5.3%. However, because of the low coupon rate and longer maturity, the vast majority of the return will be taxed at the favorable long-term capital gain rates.

This is a significant advantage for investors, particularly those in lower tax brackets. For example, a single filer with taxable income of up to $44,625 (or a joint filer up to 89,250) would owe no tax on long-term capital gains.

Of course, every investor’s tax situation is unique, and it is important to consult with a tax professional before making any investment decisions. However, it is clear that Treasury securities with a longer maturity and low coupon rate offer a potentially attractive tax advantage for investors seeking a low-risk investment.

In conclusion, Treasury securities are a great investment option for those seeking stability and reliability in their portfolio. When considering longer-maturity Treasuries with a low coupon rate, investors should be aware of the potential tax benefits available through favorable long-term capital gain tax rates. By taking advantage of these benefits, investors can potentially earn a tax-free return on their investment, making Treasury securities an even more attractive investment option.

→ And if you think the above doesn’t apply to you, remember: taxable income is what’s left after deductions.  (How to pay 0% capital gains taxes with a six-figure income in 2023.)  Thanks, Bob!

Allen B.: “Here’s what ChatGPT took 3 seconds to produce when asked to write 350 words about why a US citizen would believe Republican myths and fallacies:

It’s important to note that beliefs and political affiliations are complex and multifaceted. While there are several reasons why a US citizen may believe in Republican myths and fallacies, some of the most common reasons include:

  1. Confirmation bias: Many people tend to seek out information that confirms their existing beliefs and dismiss information that contradicts them. This tendency can lead individuals to selectively consume media outlets and sources that align with their political leanings, reinforcing pre-existing beliefs and myths.
  2. Group identity: Political affiliations can be influenced by group identity and socialization. People often align themselves with political parties and beliefs that are shared by their family, friends, and communities. This can create an echo chamber effect, where people are exposed only to information that reinforces their pre-existing beliefs and reject information that challenges their group identity.
  3. Misinformation: The spread of misinformation, particularly on social media, has been a significant factor in shaping political beliefs and attitudes. Studies have shown that misinformation is more likely to be believed and shared if it aligns with pre-existing beliefs or biases. In the case of Republican myths and fallacies, misinformation can spread rapidly, particularly if it supports a specific political agenda.
  4. Political polarization: The US has become increasingly politically polarized in recent years, with Republicans and Democrats holding increasingly divergent beliefs and values. This polarization can make it difficult for individuals to consider alternative viewpoints or to engage in constructive dialogue with those who hold different political beliefs.
  5. Economic concerns: Some individuals may be attracted to Republican myths and fallacies due to economic concerns. For example, Republicans often advocate for policies that promote free-market capitalism and limited government intervention, which may be appealing to those who believe that government interference in the economy is detrimental to their financial well-being.

Ultimately, belief in Republican myths and fallacies is a complex phenomenon that cannot be explained by any single factor. Rather, a combination of cognitive biases, socialization, misinformation, and political polarization contribute to the formation and reinforcement of these beliefs. It’s important to engage in critical thinking, fact-checking, and open-mindedness when evaluating political beliefs and information.

→ So I tried two things.

First, I tried the identical instruction, to see whether I’d get the identical result.  I did not.  Each time, I got a similar but different essay.

Next I tried the identical instruction — only swapping D for R: write 350 words about why a US citizen would believe Democratic myths and fallacies:

It is important to note that political beliefs and affiliations are often shaped by a multitude of factors, including one’s upbringing, personal experiences, and exposure to media and information sources. With that said, there are a variety of reasons why a US citizen may believe Democratic myths and fallacies.

One possible reason is the influence of media and social networks. With the rise of social media platforms, individuals are increasingly exposed to news and information from a variety of sources, many of which may have a partisan bias. This can make it difficult for individuals to separate fact from fiction and may lead them to believe in myths and fallacies that are perpetuated by like-minded individuals or groups.

Additionally, the Democratic party has historically been associated with progressive policies and ideas, such as social justice, equality, and environmental protection. For individuals who prioritize these issues, it may be easy to overlook potential flaws or inaccuracies in Democratic messaging and policies, leading them to believe in myths or fallacies that align with their values.

Furthermore, the political polarization that has increasingly characterized American politics may contribute to the propagation of myths and fallacies. When individuals are deeply entrenched in their political beliefs, they may be less likely to critically evaluate information or ideas that challenge their worldview. This can create an echo chamber effect, where individuals only consume information that reinforces their existing beliefs and may be more susceptible to accepting myths and fallacies that align with their political views.

Another potential reason why a US citizen may believe Democratic myths and fallacies is due to the influence of political leaders and influencers. Political leaders and pundits often have a significant platform and may use their position of power to spread misinformation or perpetuate myths and fallacies. For example, Democratic leaders may overstate the impact of certain policies or downplay potential negative consequences, leading individuals to believe in myths or fallacies that are not entirely accurate.

Overall, there are a variety of factors that may contribute to a US citizen believing in Democratic myths and fallacies. From the influence of media and social networks to political polarization and the influence of political leaders, it is important for individuals to critically evaluate information and consider a variety of perspectives when forming their political beliefs and opinions.

→ Asked to assess which are more extreme and widespread: Democratic or Republican myths and fallacies, ChatGPT diplomatically demurred.

Have a great week.