But first a soybean rant . . .
In addition to wrecking our relations with our allies . . . walking out of the Paris Climate Accords we had led the world in adopting, walking out on the nuclear deal with Iran that, had we been able to get the same thing with North Korea would have been touted as a spectacular win (instead, we seem to be flirting with, perhaps even trying to provoke, a catastrophic war) . . . in addition to all that, look what Trump has accomplished for our farmers.
A third of the soybeans we grow are sold to China. It took 40 years to develop those trade relationships; Trump has ended them overnight, to the everlasting benefit of Brazil and other alternative soybean sources. Even if Trump does get a deal with China soon, as we all hope he will, much or most of those customer relationships will not snap back. Why would they? So Trump has badly hurt America’s farmers (and, at least with respect to this export, made our trade imbalance with China worse).
In the meantime, he’s giving $15 billion chunks of money to to farmers to lessen their current pain. But as the losses from these now-lost customers will last a very long time, will that make them whole? And where, exactly, do those $15 billion chunks come from? Either: your taxes that could otherwise have gone to, say, funding basic research or infrastructure revitalization or high-interest student-debt relief or aid to Central America to lessen the desperation that leads to migration . . . or from the tariffs you are now, or will soon be, paying for almost everything you buy at Walmart . . . or from your kids and grandkids, by simply adding this money to the National Debt that Republicans only care about when Democrats are in power. To be running trillion-dollar deficits when unemployment is 3.6% is crazy — and means two-trillion-dollar deficits, come the next recession.
And a portfolio suggestion . . .
As mentioned last month, the same smart guy who suggested FANH at $5.40 five years ago (it’s around $30 today) recently suggested a similar Chinese company, CNF (similar in the sense that it’s in the financial services industry and, like FANH, he knows it very well). There’s no guarantee history will repeat; but I’ve taken most of my profit in FANH and built up a position in CNF (most recently at $5.35). The company is growing at 20% a year and selling at 3 times earnings. There are risks; but if five years from now it were selling at 15 times earnings, and those earnings had grown (or even if they had not), well . . . only for money you can truly afford to lose.
What do you think of Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur’s argument? When she first arrived in DC, with Ohio’s congressional districts sensibly drawn, she was among 10 Democrats and 11 Republicans. In 2018, with Ohioans favoring Republicans by a margin of 52%-47% . . . a definite edge but hardly a rout . . . she is now among 4 Democrats and 12 Republicans. As you’ll read, Ohio’s Republican attorney general is working to keep it this way, even though Ohioans voted 75%-25% in favor of sensible redistricting.
And the problem of course, is not just that the 2010 Republican REDMAP project skewed Congress their way (read it here) . . . but that it empowered the extremes, who didn’t have to appeal to the moderate middle . . . that is, to voters who want compromise for progress.
I’ve got to think a lot of Republicans agree. How else could the tally in favor of bi-partisan redistricting have been 75%-25%?
Meanwhile, in Florida, by a margin of nearly two-to-one, voters last November passed Amendment 4, “to automatically restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences, including prison, parole, and probation” . . . bringing Florida in line with almost every other state in the union. (Many are even more liberal in their rules; a couple even allow felons to vote while behind bars.)
The Republican legislature aims to render the referendum moot, just as for years and years they delayed and distorted implementation of Florida’s “Fair Districts” referendum that voters had passed by a similarly wide margin.
What do everyday Republicans think about this? Most Republicans are fair-minded. My guess is, it makes a lot of them uncomfortable.
Maybe it’s time they became Independents.
Friday Bonus: What Did Rashida Tlaib Really Say About The Holocaust?
Have a great weekend.
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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