At one point yesterday, right around the time counsel for the plaintiff was calling me a liar, the Dow was down 370 points. Our legal system – while better than resolving things with a duel (I’m still reading the Alexander Hamilton biography) – can be so depressing. (The DNC, it will amuse the RNC to know, is being sued for discriminating against gay people.) At some point, if I can find anything constructive or entertaining or cathartic to say about this, I may inflict some of it on you, but my point is actually that there was a lot to feel good about yesterday (not least that I my upgrade came through and I got bumped up to first class! the grilled roast beef sandwich snack was delicious! I count my blessings hourly).
Not the budget, of course. At $3.1 trillion, I learned when I landed, the Republicans propose to increase military spending and cut back funding for health care to the poor and old.
The budget deficit, announced at $400 billion, will of course be higher, both because (if I got the news right) it doesn’t include what will be about $200 billion for the wars and because, as usual, it doesn’t include the money we’ll be borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund (another $200 billion or so) or what I assume will be the reduced tax revenues a recession could cause.
The Democratic majority will not pass this budget . . . but in round numbers, it sure looks as though the National Debt will be very much in the neighborhood of $10 trillion by the time the White House changes hands, as suggested here at least since March of 2005. About three-fourths of it will have been racked up under just three of our 43 Presidents – Reagan, Bush, and Bush.
This on the watch of the President who told us it was fine to slash taxes on the rich because, first, the cuts he proposed would actually not go primarily to the rich but – ‘by far the vast majority’ to those ‘at the bottom end of the economic ladder’ (now that, it seems to me, was lying) and because, second, we faced budget surpluses as far as the eye could see. Right.
But no, it wasn’t news of the budget that buoyed me, or the election results last night (I am enthusiastically neutral between our two superb Democratic candidates) – it was some greedy old money news.
For starters, thanks to your generous guzzling, Honest Tea – a private company whose product I have touted here shamelessly for almost ten years, since its inception – received an exciting new shareholder: Coca Cola bought 40% of the company, as explained (in case you want to read the Honest Tea story) here.
None of that does you any good, unless you were hoping for more readily available organic iced tea, but our Aldabra warrants were up about 20%, to $2.87 (about a double or more from where we bought them this past summer) on news the Boise Paper acquisition was approved by Aldabra shareholders. The new company will be called Boise, and trading will move in about a month from the American to the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BZ.
Meanwhile, SYMZ, which had recently gone the other way, from the American Exchange toward the pink sheets and deregistration with the S.E.C., jumped 16% to $13.25, which is still a far cry from the $20-and-change it was a few months ago, but back to double what we paid. Volume was light and I see no news, but it’s still better than most stocks did yesterday.
Lots to be sheepish about, of course. Poor old FMD is barely limping along, for example. How I hope you had the good sense to sell half your FMD at $56 – even though I didn’t have that good sense and in fact suggested that you hold on – because that would mean you’re now playing with house money, and just might do fine. (Otherwise, you’re down about 50%.)
But the oil and gas stocks are doing okay, and the one retailer I can remember suggesting – Wal*Mart – is doing well, no doubt because Wall Street thinks Wal*Mart is the only place most Americans will be able to afford to shop.
For the most part yesterday, my shorts went down and my longs slipped just a little – and did I mention I got bumped up to first class? Hard to beat that.
Quote of the Day
A veteran Massachusetts politician not so long ago was horrified at the conduct of a less savvy colleague who was indicted for bribery: 'Imagine taking money from a stranger.'~Wall Street Journal, 10/14/93
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