Price War!
Published on December 15, 2010


WHY 2011 IS DIFFERENT FROM 2001

George Galla:  “On most things I agree with you but not the tax compromise.  First of all Pres. Obama gave in much too quickly.  Second, he should have taken a tougher stance in defending the position he talked so much about.  Personally I’m 65 live on about 30 thousand a year and would rather see the tax cuts expire for all segments.  We can’t afford them.  We didn’t need the tax cut in 2001 why do we need it now?

 

☞  “We need it now” (and the other stimulants the President got as part of the compromise) because the economy is in a deep hole and the Fed lacks the ability it had in 2001 to lower interest rates – zero is as low as they go.  And because the Republicans block what would be far preferable: a massive infrastructure spending bill.

 

It’s shameful that the Republicans require their “ransom” for millionaires and billionaires – but they do.  All the tax cuts should expire as soon as the economy is moving again or (better still) as soon as we can pass big infrastructure programs to replace demand for Starbuckses and Xboxes with demand for investments in our efficiency and competitiveness.

 

In the meantime, the tax cuts for the best off should expire even if the economy does not pick up.  They just weaken our country.  Bernie Sanders was spot-on in his eight and a half hour tour de force on the Senate floor, at least the portions I got to see.  And Rachel Maddow was correct in lamenting that the media mainly covered its length, not the highlights of its substance.  But – because Senator Sanders failed to persuade his Republican colleagues – we are stuck paying the ransom.

 

JEFFERSON TO MONROE

These days, we forward a note with “FYI” in the subject line and click SEND.  In Jefferson’s day, it was not so simple.  I know this because I collect “historic documents” and thus get to see catalogs filled with all manner of wonderful things I can’t afford.

 

Here is how in 1820, in a handwritten note (remember those?), Jefferson passed on a now-lost letter to President James Monroe:

 

What can I do, my dear friend, with such letters as the inclosed, but forward them to you?  I presume you must have known the merits of the writer as well as I did: that he was an active Whig and officer in the revolution of 1776, and Jim Republican in that of 1800.  I reject the numerous applications made to me to be troublesome to you; but now and then comes one which principle or feeling does not permit me to refuse.  I am sure I deposit it in the hands of justice when I commit it to you. Ever and affectionately yours    Th: Jefferson

 

☞  Written from Monticello, January 16, 1820 (sans the hyperlink).  “I reject the numerous applications made to me to be troublesome to you; but now and then comes one which principle or feeling does not permit me to refuse.  I am sure I deposit it in the hands of justice when I commit it to you.”  Is that great or what?

 

Yours, for $29,500.*

 

*The dealer has been known to negotiate.  If you are wondering how to spend the tax break on your $15 million bonus, I’d suggest making a low-ball offer.  You never know.

 

YMI

If you have yet more money you can truly afford to lose, Guru suggests adding a few shares of YMI ($1.65 last night) to our latest speculative basket (to which we also added CRME at $4.60).

 

PRICE WAR

Barnes & Noble is now selling The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need for $8.30, an even more spectacular discount from the $14.95 list price – 32 cents cheaper than Amazon – and promises “free delivery by Christmas” if you’re a B&N member.



© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 Andrew Tobias