Bitcoin has plenty of runway if we look back to the 1960s and 70s and the Great Society

When the U.S. was founded, minimum voting age was 21. A man might start work at age 13 or 14 and therefore a voter would be someone who’d worked for 8 years and who would experience higher taxes and a bigger government as a requirement to work longer hours. Since 1972, however, the 26th Amendment has ensured that 18-year-olds can vote and an 18-year-old may not begin working full time for 10 years (or ever, if he/she/ze/they has figured out that welfare yields a similar spending power). The majority of voters either work for the government or don’t work at all (too young, too old, in “means-tested” living (not “welfare” since it is only housing, health insurance, food, and smartphone that are received rather than cash), collecting alimony or child support from a defendant worker, married to a worker). So the big surprise is that this majority hasn’t voted itself a vastly larger government to be paid for by private sector suckers who will have to work longer hours.

(Imagine how different our government would be if, except for the disabled, 8 years of full-time work history was a requirement to vote!)

There have been three major episodes in U.S. history when the voters hungry for more government benefits prevailed over the beasts of burden (folks for whom the main consequence of bigger government will be longer hours). One was in 1930s (FDR and the New Deal). One was in the 1960s (Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, though arguably started by JFK). One was in November 2020. If we think that Episode 3 will be a lot like Episode 2, it is worth reading Great Society: A New History a 2019 book by Wall Street Journal reporter turned economic historian Amity Shlaes. I’m just digging into this, but the author seems to have anticipated our current situation (Episode 3). She looks at what happened to last the time that the U.S. decided to “go big” on addressing inequality. The economic and stock market stagnated while the dollar fell and gold surged. If Shlaes is right, every Federal spending initiative is great news for Bitcoin investors.

Some excerpts:

As Stalin was said to have joked, America was the only country in the world that could afford communism.

In a recent book the author had itemized the kinds of reform America needed. Laws that backed up organized labor so it might represent a greater portion of the American workforce, including black Americans or immigrants from Mexico. Higher minimum wages—the current levels were a cruel joke. Minimum wages that covered more workers, even those who did not work in an office or full-time. A dramatic change in the training of bigoted policemen in the big cities. A reinvigoration of the poor so that they became a force in political life. America was a country made of classes, the author thought; it just didn’t know it. The money was simply in the wrong hands. The writer wanted a tax system that captured the elusive wealth of the superrich. The moment had come to level incomes in a systematic fashion. Poverty was the obvious lunch theme. Just days before, the president had tapped the author’s host to lead a new campaign against poverty. In his State of the Union address, the president had told the country he wanted not only to alleviate suffering but to actually “cure poverty.” No American leader had ever taken on poverty in this way before.

The focus of the author’s book was the cycle of poverty in one region, Appalachia. The man had also seen poverty in the city where he grew up, St. Louis. In St. Louis the poverty was in part caused by government plans gone wrong, as in the case of the bulldozing of streets people loved in the name of moving them into public housing slums they didn’t love. America, the author thought, should invest billions to abolish poverty. It was incredible that America knew so much about poverty and had done so little. The state governments could not do this work. State governments were beholden to retrograde conservative legislatures. For systemic change, the author had come to believe, there was “no place to look except toward the federal government.”

Still, as he sat in the makeshift offices, the author kept returning to what he saw as the problem behind the problem, American capitalism. He and his friend took to concluding their memos with a half-serious line: “Of course, there is no real solution to the problem of poverty until we abolish the capitalist system.”3 At one point the author stopped censoring himself and wrote a few lines of what he actually felt: “that the abolition of poverty would require a basic change in how resources are allocated.” The boss actually took this bold call for redistribution to the president, who, the boss reported, proved remarkably friendly. The boss said that the president, a Roosevelt fan, told him that if serious economic redistribution was necessary to realize the long-delayed completion of the New Deal, then redistribution might be worth it.

The president being pitched on what today we might call transferism was Lyndon Johnson and the year was 1964. The author was Michael Harrington, whom Wikipedia describes as a “democratic socialist.”

The economic boom that had preceded JFK’s election gave Americans the confidence that anything was affordable. (I’ve seen this among quite a few folks in my parents’ social circle. Born in the 1930s, they don’t agree with Margaret Thatcher that it is possible to run out of other people’s money. They imagine the U.S. to be so wealthy that no spending proposal could ever exceed Americans’ ability to pay.)

Most Americans shared something else with Harrington: confidence. In the 1930s, the New Deal had failed to reduce unemployment. The prolonged periods of joblessness were what had made the Depression “Great.” But the memory of the New Deal failure had faded just enough that younger people liked the sound of the term. And memories of more recent success fueled Americans’ current ambition. Many men were veterans. They had been among the victorious forces that rolled across Europe and occupied Japan at the end of World War II. Compared with overcoming a Great Depression, or conquering Europe and Japan, eliminating poverty or racial discrimination had to be easy. American society was already so good. To take it to great would be a mere “mopping up action,” as Norman Podhoretz, who had served in Europe, would put it.

First came a campaign, led by President John F. Kennedy, to rehabilitate troubled youth. Soon after, President Johnson led the passage of series of federal civil rights laws. Around the same time came Johnson’s War on Poverty. Next were Johnson’s national housing drive and his health care drive. Richard Nixon followed up with a guaranteed-income campaign and an environmental drive.

When government accomplishes little, how do you persuade the public that enormous achievements are occurring?

Ambitious reforms needed time to succeed. It would be a shame if a project aborted because early results didn’t look good. So, for display purposes, presidents emphasized inputs, not outputs. Congress, too, as the Hoover Institution’s John Cogan has put it, “measured success by labels and dollars attached to legislation”—not by results. The political success of a project mattered more than empirical success. Occasionally, the effort got a new name. The “New Frontier” of Kennedy became Johnson’s “Great Society,” which became the “Great Nation,” and then the “Just and Abundant Society” of Richard Nixon.

We hear a lot about the various $2 trillion spending plans, but we never see a New York Times article on what Americans actually got from the preceding $2 trillion spending program. (exception?)

How did the dreams of the 1960s play out?

… by 1971, for the first time, federal spending on what we now call entitlements—benefits for the aged, the poor, and the unemployed, along with other social programs—outpaced spending on defense.

In 1966, the [Dow Jones Industrial Average] moved tantalizingly close to the 1,000 line, a landmark. Soon after, however, the index stalled, and stayed stuck below the 1,000 line, year in, year out. By the end of the decade, inflation, always present, was expanding to alarming levels. The same period brought another alarm, this time from abroad. Foreign governments started to turn more of their dollars in for gold from the United States’ coffers. The U.S. papers went into denial, quoting a Yale professor, Robert Triffin, who argued that the withdrawals were the result of crossed incentives in the international monetary arrangement, a technical, rectifiable flaw. What came to be known as the Triffin dilemma provided a convenient explanation for the mysterious outflows.

The 1971 run on American gold also, however, reflected foreigners’ insight. Outsiders knew a tipping point when they saw one. America had moved closer to Michael Harrington’s socialism than even Harrington understood. The United States had locked itself into social spending promises that might never be outgrown. Today, interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies serves as a measure of markets’ and individuals’ distrust of the U.S. dollar. In those days there was no Bitcoin, but gold played a similar role. The dollar was the common stock of America, and foreigners used gold to short it.

The disastrous performance of the U.S. economy in the following years proved the foreigners’ 1971 wager correct. To pay for its Great Society commitments, the U.S. government in the next decade found itself forced to set taxes so high that it further suppressed the commercialization of innovation.

Eventually the market bounces back, right?

The Dow flirted with the 1,000 level throughout the decade, but did not cross the line definitively until 1982, an astonishingly long period to stagnate, nearly a generation.

You just had to wait from 1966 to 1982 to sell a stock for more than you’d paid… in nominal dollars. Shlaes fails to point out that you’d need $3 in June 1982 to have the same spending power as $1 in 1966. On an inflation-adjusted basis (chart), the DJIA didn’t exceed its 1966 high until 1996, i.e., 30 years later.

What about all the great stuff that happened in the 1960s? Going to war in Vietnam was a terrible decision, of course, but continuing Eisenhower’s work in desegregation wasn’t, surely. The author says “Well…”:

The early civil rights laws, as important as they were, set a precedent for federal supremacy over states to an extent some of the Constitution’s authors would have likened to tyranny. The later civil rights laws, with their emphasis on group rights, pitted Americans against one another. Both Johnson and Nixon conducted domestic policy as if they were domestic commanders in chief.

Already I can see some stuff that seems wrong or at least not supported.

For today, the contest between capitalism and socialism is on again. Markets do promise strong growth; we do live in a creative society, the most creative in the world, creative enough to lift the nation to new heights. Yet new, progressive proposals bearing a strong resemblance to those of Michael Harrington’s and his peers’, from redistribution via taxation to student debt relief to a universal guaranteed income, are sought yet again. Once again, many Americans rate socialism as the generous philosophy. But the results of our socialism were not generous. May this book serve as a cautionary tale of lovable people who, despite themselves, hurt those they loved. Nothing is new. It is just forgotten.

How does the author know that the U.S. is “the most creative in the world”? Why isn’t it equally plausible that our wealth was built on stealing a huge chunk of land from the Native Americans rather than on some sort of unique creativity? If it was the land that made us comparatively rich, combined with the wars and Communism consuming our competitors in the 20th century, then we aren’t guaranteed to get richer going forward. Taking the long view, it is the Chinese and Europeans who have

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The silver (and gold) lining of COVID-19

COVID-19 isn’t necessarily bad. From the NYT:

Lenox Hill, one of the city’s oldest and best-known hospitals, repeatedly billed patients more than $3,000 for the routine nasal swab test, about 30 times the test’s typical cost.

“It was shocking to see a number like that, when I’ve gotten tested before for about $135,” said Ana Roa, who was billed $3,358 for a test at Lenox Hill last month.

Ms. Roa’s coronavirus test bill is among 16 that The New York Times reviewed from the site. They show that Lenox Hill arrives at its unusually high prices by charging a large fee for the test itself — about six times the typical charge — and by billing the encounter as a “moderately complex” emergency room visit.

In one case, a family accrued $39,314 in charges for 12 tests this winter, all taken to fulfill requirements for returning to work or school. In another, an asymptomatic patient walked in because she saw the banner outside and wanted a test after traveling. Her insurance was charged $2,963.

Patient bills show that at least one additional hospital owned by Lenox Hill’s parent group, Northwell Health, has charged emergency room fees to patients at a mass testing site.

Overall, a system in which a river of cash flows from Washington, D.C. favors those already big enough to hire the smartest people to navigate the system. “Some of America’s wealthiest hospital systems ended up even richer, thanks to federal bailouts” (Washington Post):

As the crisis crushed smaller providers, some of the nation’s richest health systems thrived, reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in surpluses after accepting huge grants for pandemic relief

Last May, Baylor Scott & White Health, the largest nonprofit hospital system in Texas, laid off 1,200 employees and furloughed others as it braced for the then-novel coronavirus to spread. The cancellation of lucrative elective procedures as the hospital pivoted to treat a new and less profitable infectious disease presaged financial distress, if not ruin. The federal government rushed $454 million in relief funds to help shore up its operations.

But Baylor not only weathered the crisis, it thrived. By the end of 2020, Baylor had accumulated an $815 million surplus, $20 million more than it had in 2019, creating a 7.5 percent operating margin that would be higher than most hospitals’ profits in the flushest of eras, a KHN examination of financial statements shows.

Like Baylor, some of the nation’s richest hospitals and health systems recorded hundreds of millions of dollars in surpluses after accepting a substantial share of the federal health-care bailout grants, their records show. Those included the Mayo Clinic, Pittsburgh’s UPMC and NYU Langone Health. But poorer hospitals — many serving rural and minority populations — got a tinier slice of the pie and limped through the year with deficits, downgrades of their bond ratings and bleak fiscal futures.

Wealthy hospitals also benefited because HHS used a broad definition of lost revenue. If a hospital earned less than in the year before, or simply less revenue than it had budgeted for, it could chalk up that difference to the pandemic and apply the relief funds to it.

When government gets bigger, only the big can thrive? If so, that’s a good argument for buying the S&P 500. If Congress adopts all of Presidents Biden and Harris’s proposals, government is on track to consume more than 50 percent of GDP. A big publicly traded company is going to be able to tap into the new veins of taxpayer gold much more effectively than a small business. Even if the U.S. economy stagnates, the big companies can thrive as they get a larger share of the fixed or shrinking pie.

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Short Snowflake?

Snowflake (SNOW) is valued at $62 billion and had 2020 revenue of $265 million with losses of $348 million (i.e., they lost more than 100 percent of revenue!). The company was at one time worth more than IBM (now at $120 billion).

How can a startup data warehousing company be worth a substantial fraction of Oracle’s $200 billion market cap? Oracle’s 2020 revenue (admittedly flat compared to 2019) was $39 billion with $10 billion in profit. Data warehousing is a small fraction of Oracle’s business; the company competes with SAP in the ERP market and sells its core RDBMS for transaction processing. Data warehousing is sometimes useful, but if a company’s Oracle systems were shut down the company wouldn’t be able to take orders, manufacture widgets, pay employees, pay vendors, etc. The actual operation of a business (which is what Oracle supports) has to be worth way more than sifting through data to learn that customers buy more alcohol after they’ve been locked down by state governors (what you can learn in a data warehouse).

Snowflake says that they’re doing something exciting layered on top of Amazon Web Services, but what if a lot of their customers are motivated by the fact that Snowflake is selling services to them at a loss? If Snowflake buys storage and computer from Amazon, then marks it down by 30 percent, plainly it is better to buy from Snowflake until and unless the party with investors’ money ends.

This guy liked Snowflake in 2018, but notes that it competes with a native Amazon offering: Redshift. The Gartner folks picked traditional data warehousing leader Teradata as superior to Snowflake in four out of four use cases. This mid-2020 comparison shows that AWS Redshift has substantially more customers, but Snowflake is growing rapidly:

The author does not come out strongly in favor of Brand A, G, or S:

Ultimately, in the world of cloud-based data warehouses, Redshift, BigQuery and Snowflake are similar in that they provide the scale and cost savings of a cloud solution. The main difference you will likely want to consider is the way that the services are billed, especially in terms of how this billing style will work out with your style of workflow. If you have very large data, but a spiky workload (i.e. you’re running lots of queries occasionally, with high idle time), BigQuery will probably be cheaper and easier for you. If you have a steadier, more continuous usage pattern when it comes to queries and the data you’re working with, it may be more cost-effective to go with Snowflake, since you’ll be able to cram more queries into the hours you’re paying for. Or if you have system engineers to tune the infrastructure according to your needs Redshift might just give you the flexibility to do so.

If “the main difference … is the way that the services are billed,” how can Snowflake be worth $60+ billion? Amazon and/or Google could simply change the way that they bill their services.

Readers: What am I missing? I hate to think that markets are wrong, but I can’t figure out how SNOW is worth $60 billion. In our current bubble, the average P/E ratio for the S&P 500 is 40 (15 is normal and Oracle is only at 17 right now). So SNOW would need $1.5 billion in annual profit to justify its current market cap. If the company settles in at Oracle’s fabulous 25 percent profitability, that would correspond to $6 billion in required revenue. Teradata (TDC), after 42 years in this business, has annual revenues of $1.83 billion, with profits of only $129 million. TDC’s market cap is $4.2 billion. If SNOW has not come up with new and better algorithms for analyzing data, how can they be worth more than the database warehousing businesses of IBM, Oracle, Teradata, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google combined?

Happy April Fools’ Day again and remember that nobody is more foolish than an investor in a bull market! (Also remember that nearly all of my investment instincts, including refraining from buying Bitcoin, have proved to be wrong!)

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Clubhouse interview on early-stage investing tonight at 10 pm Eastern

Clubhouse users seem to care primarily about three things:

  1. Bitcoin
  2. Venture capital
  3. Self-improvement

I don’t own any Bitcoin. I am completely unimproved (some might say “a throwback”!). That leaves Topic #2: venture capital. I will interview Alexander Lloyd this evening at 10 pm Eastern on the subject of early-stage investing.

If you have an iPhone or iPad, but aren’t a Clubhouse member, text me from your Apple device at +1 617-864-6832 with your full name. I’ll add you to my contacts list and then invite you (one can invite only those who are in one’s contact list and it all seems to be based on phone number).

https://www.joinclubhouse.com/event/PQbKzGq8

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Windfall Profits Tax on Bitcoin?

Whenever other people are smarter and more successful than I am, I like to propose a massive tax applicable only to them. Since I neglected to buy Bitcoin…. it is time for a Jimmy Carter style Windfall Profits Tax on cryptoprofiteers! (spoiler: the Tax Foundation says that this is a bad idea)

One challenge with this is that it might be hard to hunt down folks who have a seed phrase and a passphrase written down on a Post-It note. Some Bitcoin success stories invested in ETFs and public equities that are somehow tied to Bitcoin and they’ll be easy to hit with Philip’s 95 percent windfall profits tax. But the richest/biggest fish may get away (renounce U.S. citizenship, pay the exit tax, move to a tax-free country, and then start cashing in the Bitcoin).

Is Bitcoin a bubble? Physicist and general smart guy Brian Keating points out that the “bubble” has lasted for ten years, much longer than tulip mania (six months) and other historical bubbles. Peter Schiff, smart enough to move to Puerto Rico in 2015 and skip on Federal taxes, points out that the Feds began inflating the stock market and housing market in the mid-1990s and the collapse didn’t come until 2008. Schiff: “If people are dumb enough to pay $50,000 for Bitcoin, maybe they’ll be dumb enough to pay $100,000.” Isn’t it a good hedge against governments printing money and inflation? “Maybe Bitcoin is a hedge against stupidity because if people are still stupid they will still buy it. If you’re worried about the dollar going down, don’t hedge it with something riskier than the dollar. Buy Swiss francs.” (watch Keating and Schiff talk)

A bad guy lair (for a Bitcoin early adopter?) under construction in Sarasota:

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Did 10 percent inflation happen during 2020 without us noticing?

One of the miracles of 2020 was that the U.S. government could borrow/print money like crazy in response to coronapanic and yet inflation, as calculated by the U.S. government, did not go up.

But what if inflation did happen and we just didn’t notice because we were locked down and prevented from leaving the U.S.?

Here’s the USD versus the Euro:

A dollar was worth 0.92 euro a year ago. As of February 15, 2021 it is worth 11 percent less, 0.82 euro.

How about versus the yen?

The USD is down from 110 to 105 in yen.

The USD is down against gold and silver. On February 15, 2020 they cost $1583 and $18. On February 15, 2021 it took $1819 to buy the same ounce of gold and $28 to buy the same ounce of silver.

Is it fair to say that we’ve had 10 percent inflation over the last 12 months?

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Late to the party: Why doesn’t GameStop (GME) come back down now?

This has been a tough month for fans of the Efficient Market Hypothesis. GameStop (GME) started out the month at less than $20/share and is now “worth” over $300/share. The market cap for this bricks-and-mortar retailer is over $22 billion:

Why doesn’t it come back down now? Mall-based retail isn’t a lot better than it was a month ago. The Wall Street shorts who got squeezed have presumably had to close out their positions by now. Unless the company can use its current high share price to issue more shares and invest them in some super profitable business, don’t the shares have to come back down to $20?

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Bitcoin being pumped up a fraudulent Tether?

Suggested by a friend who ran one of the most successful investment funds in the U.S. for 20+ years…. “The Bit Short: Inside Crypto’s Doomsday Machine”:

The upshot [from looking at some money flows]: over two-thirds of all Bitcoin — $10 billion worth of it — that was bought in the previous 24 hours, was being purchased with Tethers.

This is unusual: if demand for Tethers were real, one would expect Tether Ltd. to combine together multiple USD deposits from investors into a single issuing block. Combinations like that shouldn’t add up to perfectly round numbers every time. What’s more, the supposed USD inputs (e.g., 401,431,056 USD in the top left transaction) are giving perfectly round Tether outputs (e.g., 400,000,000 USDT in the same transaction) in every block — regardless of the prevailing exchange rate or anything else.

The last nail in the coffin was when I found out about the lack of visible reserves. If Tether Ltd. really was taking in 1 USD for each Tether it issued, then it should have as many dollars in its bank account as there are issued Tethers. And it turns out we can check if that’s true! Tether Ltd.’s bank is Deltec bank in the Bahamas, and the Bahamas discloses how much foreign currency its domestic banks hold each month.

From January 2020 to September 2020, the amount of all foreign currencies held by all the domestic banks in the Bahamas increases by only $600 million — going from $4.7B to $5.3B. (The table is in Bahamian dollars, but the Bahamian dollar is pegged to the US dollar, so 1 BSD = 1 USD.)
But during the same period, total issued Tethers increased by almost $5.4 billion — going from $4.6B to $10B!
The implication was shocking: there weren’t nearly enough dollars in all the domestic banks in the Bahamas to back the Tethers that were floating around in the crypto market.

So this was crypto’s big short: Tether Ltd. was short of US dollars — to the tune of about $25 billion.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to move to Puerto Rico (for the 4% tax rate) and sell those $millions in Bitcoin you’ve been keeping on a Post-It note, maybe this is the time!

(Disclaimer: I haven’t done my own research into the crypto market. I’m sure that if I were a Bitcoin billionaire I would have lost the password!)

Since the article mentions the Bahamas and it is almost MLK Day… statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Bimini (he was there in 1960 to write his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize):

(Photo from a January 2020 Cirrus SR20 trip, when it was legal to return to the U.S. without a COVID-19 test.)

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The stock market is up because Bigger Government is great for Big Business?

The stock market has been up lately, perhaps in response to the Biden-Harris electoral victory. I wonder if this makes sense. Democrats promise a bigger government. The companies that are well situated to harvest contracts, bailouts, etc. are the biggest American companies. Investors could expect a disaster for small business owners and the working class (i.e., the folks who voted for Trump), but that shouldn’t discourage them from buying stock in publicly traded companies (i.e., the biggest U.S. companies).

From “The Biden Popular Front Is Doomed to Unravel” (New Republic):

It may turn out that Donald Trump was the one force keeping the Democratic Party together.

Trump didn’t sell out his supporters. In fact, his presidency saw something extraordinary, even if it was all but invisible from the country’s globalized cities: the first egalitarian boom since well back into the twentieth century. In 2019, the last non-Covid year, he presided over an average 3.7 percent unemployment rate and 4.7 percent wage growth among the lowest quartile of earners. All income brackets increased their take. That had happened in the last three Obama years, too. The difference is that in the Obama part of the boom, the income of the top decile rose by 20 percent, with tiny gains for other groups. In the Trump economy, the distribution was different. Net worth of the top 10 percent rose only marginally, while that of all other groups vaulted ahead. In 2019, the share of overall earnings going to the bottom 90 percent of earners rose for the first time in a decade.

The reasons for Trump’s success are not yet clear. They may well have involved his unorthodox policy choices: above all, limiting immigration.

So the good times for the elites might be even better soon! That’s a great reason to purchase stock in America’s largest companies owned by elites, managed by elites, and mostly employing the reasonably elite).

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Invest in Ireland ahead of the Biden-Harris Presidency?

A signature campaign promise of the Biden-Harris campaign is to raise the U.S. federal corporate tax rate to 28 percent or 31 percent on corporations that “offshore manufacturing and service jobs to foreign nations in order to sell goods or provide services back to the American market.” (Tax Foundation) When we add in state corporate tax rates, the typical U.S. company might be hit with roughly 36 percent in taxes. Compare this to 12.5 percent in Ireland or 19 percent for a London-based company.

The Trump tax law changes of late 2017 took a lot of the wind out of the Irish inversion sails. If high corporate tax rates are restored by President Harris, though, it will again make the best economic sense for corporations to be headquartered in Ireland, the UK, or other comparatively low-tax location. Ireland has the lowest rate in the EU and everyone there speaks English (sort of). Can investors profit from a Biden-Harris election win, therefore, by buying Irish assets? Since U.S. law discourages sham inversions, the actual senior management jobs should migrate to Ireland. This should help Irish real estate, banks, insurance, etc. Under a Biden-Harris administration, an enterprise with management in Ireland and an operating subsidiary in the U.S. should have higher net profits than one in which everything is in the U.S.

Separately, how is Ireland doing with coronaplague? After more than seven months of shutdown, they’ve now entered “Level 5” double secret shutdown. Note that essentially everything is closed except for schools. Primary schools are unmasked. Once students enter secondary school they must don the hijab of the Church of Shutdown. Universities are open. Adult education is open, which includes flight schools (yay!). I was discussing this on WhatsApp with an Irish friend and I said “This is the mirror image of Massachusetts. Here almost everything is open except for the schools. And when we had almost everything closed, it was the marijuana and liquor stores that were deemed essential and kept open. Maybe this is all that we need to know to understand the difference between Irish and Massachusetts values.”

The WHO dashboard shows that Ireland, in its island redoubt, has suffered a little more than half the COVID-19 death rate compared to the U.S. or the U.K.

Ireland was already ahead of the U.S. in PISA scores (2018 snapshot). With the U.S. in the midst of what might be a multi-year education shutdown while Irish schools and universities are operating more or less normally (see Trinity College Dublin’s plan), is that another good reason to shift investment to Ireland?

What the Irish might call a sunny day, May 2019, on the Giant’s Causeway (taxed by the U.K., which is a great thing if you’re an entrepreneur!)

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