REPORT CARD

Patrick Johnson:  “Here’s the latest. The stock market and your picks have both been on a tear the last several weeks.”

☞ Assuming Patrick has it right (click that link to download his spreadsheet and review his work), we’re now up to a 15% annualized rate of return . . . with an average holding period of 4.41 years for each position (some of which remain open) . . . and a maximum of $53,837 having grown to $393,018 . . . compared with $289,454 had those same trades been made with the S&P 500 index instead.

If we get lucky with BOREF, SIGA, and ETRM — the three speculations on which I have the most riding these days — that 15% IRR could go higher.  But for those new to this page (or newly liquid), I remind you that these are speculations to be made only with money you can truly afford to lose.

ETRM, especially, is just a gamble.  Having now doubled, it’s not something I’d start with if you’re not already in it (though I hope it will double again).  SIGA, I like to think, is worth more than it’s selling for no matter what and could be several times higher two or three years from now.  (“Famous last words.”)  If I didn’t already have a lot, I’d buy it here.  Likewise, BOREF — only in spades.  (“Famous last words delivered out on a limb holding chain saw in the hand closest to the tree trunk.”)

KANSAS SCHOOLS

Did you see, “What’s the Matter with Kansas Schools?”  In tiny part:

Even though the [Kansas] state Constitution requires that it make “suitable provision” for financing public education, Gov. Sam Brownback and the Republican-led Legislature have made draconian cuts in school spending, leading to a lawsuit that now sits before the state Supreme Court.. . . . Kansas’ current constitutional crisis has its genesis in a series of cuts to school funding that began in 2009. The cuts were accelerated by a $1.1 billion tax break, which benefited mostly upper-income Kansans, proposed by Governor Brownback and enacted in 2012. . . . The [lower court] judges called the school funding cut “destructive of our children’s future.”

It is just so important to the Republican Party — not most actual Republican voters, I think, but the billionaire-backed candidates they elect — to lower taxes for the rich at the expense of everyone else.  The surest path to the kind of America they want — and they feel we should want — is to cut funding for public education!  block investment in infrastructure!  cut food stamps for the poor and hungry!  terminate unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed!  block increases in the minimum wage!  kill unions!  kill ACORN!  kill affordable health care!*

What an agenda!!!

And — to increase the odds of success — the capstone of the agenda — make it harder for poor people and young people to vote!

These ideas are so wrong-headed economically (let alone morally) one could cry.  It’s exactly the opposite of what’s needed to juice up the mighty middle class who — not the wealthy, as Nick Hanauer demonstrates — are the job creators and engine of prosperity.

Vote Democrat, my fellow Harvard MBA moderates.  Break the gridlock.  Pass the American Jobs Act to put people to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.  Invest in kids.  Raise the minimum wage.  Restart that middle-class engine of growth.  Celebrate the progress on health care security.  Allow the pendulum to swing back toward the center when, sure, the rich did great and the stock market made records, but workers got a share of their increased productivity as well.  (They do do the work, after all.  That should count for something.)

How Roger Ailes and the Koch Brothers brought our beloved country to this sorry, polarized, know-nothing state of affairs (I’m short-handing it wildly here, but those three surely deserve outsize credit) is . . . well, read The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News–and Divided a Country.  It is, as I say, enough to make you cry.  Or at least switch the channel to MSNBC and Comedy Central.

 

 

*Because paying for it requires the best-off to be taxed more on their dividends and capital gains — though less heavily than when Ronald Reagan left office.

 

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