‘The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.’
— John Kenneth Galbraith
Ouch. But rich conservatives who want ever lower taxes must occasionally have a pang of doubt.
Well, some of them must.
THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT DRAWS A CONTRAST
In this clip, a Bush nominee is asked whether he thinks it makes sense to repeal the estate tax on the Walton family, which would save them $30 billion, while cutting back on healthcare for kids.*
As I have been saying for some time now, it is a grand time to be rich and powerful in America.
*The Senator notes that 18% of American kids live in poverty, ‘the highest rate in the world.’ Presumably, he meant the industrialized world.
SAD TIMES FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
From Bill Press‘s latest column:
Lured by the irresistible bait of $5 billion, the Bancroft family finally agreed to sell the Wall Street Journal to right-wing robber baron Rupert Murdoch. . . .
Will Murdoch be able to resist the temptation to push his political views off its editorial page and into the news stories? No way. Look at his track record. . . . He took the New York Post, once the Big Apple’s most liberal paper, and turned it into a far-right megaphone. He turned the mighty London Times into another British tabloid.
With every property he has purchased, Murdoch has pledged to run a “hands-off” operation – and broken that pledge within weeks. No doubt, sooner or later, he’ll do the same thing with the Journal and the new Fox Business Channel. It’s in his genes. He can’t help himself. . . .
And what does Murdoch do with all those media properties? He builds political support for his conservative politics. During the run-up to the Iraq war, for example, all 175 newspapers around the globe controlled by Murdoch enthusiastically supported an invasion of Iraq. Every last one of them. Coincidence? Hardly. But it shows the power Murdoch has and is not afraid to use to further his right-wing brand of politics.
The Bourne Ultimatum has opened at 8.9 stars, even as the Simpsons has slipped to 8.3. SiCKO holds firm at 8.5. (Harry Potter: 7.7.)
Andy Frank: ‘Andy, I know there’s no shooting fish in a barrel in the stock market, but aren’t the HAPC warrants at least pretty close? The warrants to buy HAPN at $5 are now selling at 29 cents with the underlying stock selling at $5.81. Since September 26 has now been set as the date to vote on the acquisition of InfuSystem, and since these votes virtually always pass, wouldn’t the warrants likely be worth more than 0.81 (or at least about that) once that happens? I know the warrants become worthless if the acquisition doesn’t go through, so this should only be with money one can afford to lose; but as the odds of this going through are likely greater than 90% while the warrants are priced as if it were a 1 in 3 chance – isn’t this a great bet? If I’m missing something here, please correct me.’
☞ As regards the bullet-ridden fish, you’re right. We’ve covered that. And, yes, it would appear the deal is likely to go through. But note:
- Warrant holders must wait four months after the deal closes to exercise. Who knows where the stock might then be?
- If the deal doesn’t go through, HAPN shareholders would get their $5 back sometime next year. (Or at least I think that’s how it works.) So maybe come September 26 the market has tanked and holders would prefer the cash to buy something else.
- I have learned through long, sad experience – starting in 1968 with a company called Nationwide Nursing Homes (which was in the steel business, and whose shares I was able to buy at $8 at the very same time as they were trading publicly at $22, because my shares could not be sold right away – and had become worthless once I could) – when things seem unreasonably cheap, there is quite often a reason.
Then again, sometimes they are just cheap. I hope this is one of those times. Because, ordinarily, a 44-month warrant on a $5.75 stock is worth a heck of a lot more than 29 cents.
Quote of the Day
Years ago, in the Carter term, a stockbroker tried to explain what Schlumberger did. 'It goes to 100,' the broker said, exaggerating only a little bit. 'Then it splits three-for-two and goes back to 100 again.'~GRANT'S Interest Rate Observer
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