But first — hey, look at this! FANH, first suggested here at $5.40 (when the symbol was CISG) closed last night at $23.75. Profits are way up and they have begun to pay a dividend. Sometimes, patience is rewarded. I’m selling half and letting the rest ride.
And also — turns out, now that I’ve read it, there’s much to recommend in Donna Brazile’s book, the unfortunate excerpt that fueled the notion the primary was rigged, notwithstanding.
That the news media seized on that excerpt is understandable, but later in the book Donna writes, more plainly:
[Bernie] had legitimate reasons to complain about the actions of a handful of people at the DNC, and I had been totally forthcoming to him about that. But overall the game was not rigged against him. He knew this and has said as much, but his staunchest supporters refused to accept it.
Personally, I would go a little further in characterizing the situation. My own perspective is that, especially in context, there was even less legitimate room for complaint than most Bernie supporters came to believe.
But however you look at it, nothing the DNC did could possibly be construed to have won Hillary 4 million more votes than Bernie. For better or worse, as Donna has gone on to say, Hillary won fair and square.
Where the rigging was real, aggressive, and almost surely history-changing — as you’ll see in some pretty scary detail if you read Donna’s book and continue to follow the news — was in the general election. Russia rigged it. That we as a nation are not going batshit over this successful attack on our democracy is just part of Russia’s victory.
(Donna’s book also devotes quite a few pages to the CNN debate question she was fired for having given Hillary in advance. If you read her account, I think you’ll believe her when she says she honestly has no recollection of ever having done this; can’t find any record of it on her computer; and can’t say for sure, but thinks this may have been Russian one more example of Russian disinformation, designed to screw things up.)
Because: disinformation is real, and a lot of Americans really do seem to be disinformed.
Here’s why — arguably — Hillary won by only 3 million votes when it should have been 30 million. (There’s no sound; just watch the captions that flash by. E.g., 40% of Trump voters think he won the popular vote; 39% believed the stock market went down under Obama; 67% believe the unemployment rate went up under Obama; 46% believe Hillary helped run a child sex slave ring out of a DC pizza parlor.)
Jim Burt on the estate tax (which they call the “death” tax but should really be called the “inheritance” tax, because it burdens not dead people, or estates, but inheritors of great wealth):
Our Founding Fathers considered the concentration of wealth in a few families dangerous to a free republic. They didn’t have tools like income taxes or inheritance taxes, as those had not yet been invented, but they wrote three measures to fight hereditary inequality into our earliest laws. The Constitution prohibits titles of nobility, with their baggage of hereditary status and privilege – ‘privilege’ being a word from two French roots, meaning ‘private law’. The other two measures were written into the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, enacted by a unanimous Congress before ratification of the Constitution and re-enacted by the first Congress under the Constitution. One of these prohibited primogeniture, the other, entail — two major devices for massive wealth accumulation in the 18th Century.
If the Founding Fathers had thought of the inheritance tax — a tax on wealth accruing to people by virtue of their wise choice of parents — the evidence suggests they would have adopted it, and likely at a high rate. How do we know this? Well, the laws I summarize above are the best evidence, but we can also look to their words:
“A power to dispose of estates for ever is manifestly absurd. The earth and the fulness of it belongs to every generation, and the preceding one can have no right to bind it up from posterity. Such extension of property is quite unnatural.” — Thomas Jefferson
“There is no point more difficult to account for than the right we conceive men to have to dispose of their goods after death.” — Adam Smith (not a founding father, but an inspiration to them)
“The great object [of political parties] should be to combat [this] evil: . . . by withholding unnecessary opportunities from a few, to increase the inequality of property, by an immoderate, and especially an unmerited, accumulation of riches . . .” — James Madison
“[America] will not be less advantageous to the happiness of the lowest class of people, because of the equal distribution of property.” — George Washington
“I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable. But the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind. The descent of property of every kind therefore to all the children, or to all the brothers and sisters, or other relations in equal degree is a politic measure, and a practicable one. Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there is in any country, uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labour and live on. If, for the encouragement of industry we allow it to be appropriated, we must take care that other employment be furnished to those excluded from the appropriation. . . . [I]t is not too soon to provide by every possible means that as few as possible shall be without a little portion of land.” — Thomas Jefferson (in reaction to the evils observed in France)
Our Founding Fathers considered vast disparities in wealth and the concentration of wealth in a few hands to be pernicious to the survival of a free republic. They were right. The inheritance tax is the least we should do to further the founding principles of our country.
Have a great weekend. a short, heart-warming clip tomorrow, while the turkey bastes.
Quote of the Day
Selling a soybean contract short is worth two years at the Harvard Business School.~Robert Stovall
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