Do you think your fellow reader Richard Factor had a cold?  Or Covid-19?

My guess: the former.

His guess: the latter (and he’s the one who had it, after all).

Interesting story.

You know who has what must be one of the hardest jobs in the world?  The chair of the Democratic National Committee.  Fifty state party chairs have his cell phone, as do two dozen presidential candidates and their campaign managers, every Democratic congressperson and senator and governor and mayor . . . a whole lot of donors . . . the Party officers . . . his key staffers . . .  the leaders of all the allied blue-leaning organizations . . . the press.  And everybody thinks they could be doing his job better than he is.  Or it must seem that way.  That was true of every chair I’ve known since 1998.

But do you know what?  The first three years of Tom Perez’s chairmanship have gone rather well!

And, not to jinx it, this fourth year is beginning to look hopeful , too.

> I’m loving the gracious, constructive way Pete, Amy, Beto, and Mike, among others, have endorsed Joe Biden.

> And we might finally wrest the gavel from McConnell at the same time.

Wouldn’t that be something.

In addition to the likely wins, we could pick up the Montana seat if, as seems increasingly likely, governor Steve Bullock decides to run.  M.J. Hegar just might unseat John Cornyn in Texas — she has an amazing story.  And wouldn’t it be caviar and vodka if Amy McGrath unseated Moscow Mitch himself?

And here’s a sleeper: my new friend Al Gross, to pick up a seat in Alaska.  Watch his one-minute video, then read the bio directly below that clip — and tell me how any Alaskan could not vote for this guy.  I couldn’t help myself: I ponied up.

What to do, meanwhile, with money you don’t want to give the DNC or to Al Gross?

That calls for a longer post — I’m working on it — but for now let me offer just two gems.

One real, one fake.

> The real gem is Warren Buffett’s latest annual report.  His reports were legend four decades ago, when I was assigned to “review” them for Fortune magazine.  (At the time, Berkshire sold for $300 a share.  Yesterday, $326,000.)

> The fake gem may prove to be real, too — or at least semi-precious.  It’s the stock of Charles & Colvard, a company that makes an alternative to diamonds.  Even more brilliant and harder than rubies, they sell for a fraction of the price.  (So even if you don’t buy CTHR, buy your beloved the ring and use the savings to fund a Roth IRA.  Forty years from now, people will still think it’s a diamond — and marvel at the comfort of your retirement.)

A very smart friend who knows the company well finds its shares irresistible down here around 83 cents.  With money I can truly afford to lose, I bought a bunch.

John Seiffer:  “Thanks for the CNXM tip. But as I read it I couldn’t help but wonder what you do with the money you CAN’T truly afford to lose?”

→ Great question.  I have it on my to-do list.

Gregg R.: “Really? CNXM? Anything for a buck?”

→ I think buying their stock does no harm; but that using that buck to support worthy causes does some good.  What am I missing?

David Morrison: “I spotted the following in CNXM’s Annual Report: ‘Virtually all income [we distribute] to organizations exempt from federal income tax, including IRAs and other retirement plans, will be unrelated business taxable income and will be taxable to them.’  Does this mean if CNXM’s stock is held in an IRA, the dividends would be subject to double-taxation: First, when distributed by the company, and second, when withdrawn from the IRA?”

→ No. Here’s Fidelity’s explanation.  If you have UBTI income above $1,000, they file an IRS form for you and remit 15% of it to the IRS (up to the first $2,500, a higher percentage going all the way to 40%, as the amount grows*).  But having taken that cash out of your IRA, it won’t ever get distributed to you, so won’t ever be taxed on it again.

In the case of CNXM, if this does work out as hoped — with money you can truly afford to lose — we’ll still come out fine even after paying that tax.

*Page 20 of the IRS UBTI instructions lists the tax rate as 10%, not 15%, on the first $2,600, not $2,500, going up to 37%, not 40%.  The tax code is ridiculous.  Just let your brokerage firm worry about it fr you and do whatever it does.



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