A First World Problem


There’s a post over at National Review by Itxu Diaz about Europe’s response to the Wuhan virus pandemic. It catalogs a list of “important” crises that various countries were dealing with instead of the disease until Reality became too noisy to ignore.

In just ten days, we discovered that neither the tampon issue, nor the participation of transsexuals in the Olympic Games, nor the climate emergency were real problems, nor emergencies, nor anything of the sort. They were just fictitious problems, the pastimes of a generation that hadn’t known tragedy.

Read the whole thing.

Indeed, those “important” issues are really luxuries, problems that most people in the world cannot afford. Europe and Blue State America have enjoyed enough surplus income from previous generations’ capital investment that, on the whole, they haven’t had to worry about food or shelter or the other necessities of life. Or at least, they didn’t think they had to worry in “normal” times. They believed they could afford to live in Pretendyland.

They’re now being forced into the Real World, the place where generations of people learned the hard way about what is actually important.

I Haven’t Lost Any Money Yet


That’s because I haven’t sold any of my investments yet. Even if I did, I’d still make a profit because the market price of most of what I’ve bought is higher than what I paid. But I’ll hold most of what I’ve got because I expect it to rise in value over the long term.

Investors were stupid to panic and blow up trillions of dollars of market value, but I believe that those of us who hold on for the long term and who take the opportunity to make margin buys as they are available will be better off than the panic sellers.

As key manufacturing comes by onshore, the companies who provide the equipment and the people who provide the know-how will do well. After the dust settles, the next couple of years will be interesting.

Meanwhile, in Iran …


… the coronavirus pandemic appears to have spread to all regions of that country. The BBC has this video posted with footage from social media showing a morgue in the city of Qom full of dead bodies to be tested for the coronavirus.

Totalitarian societies such as China and Iran have not done well in their public health responses to the virus. Neither have most countries with socialize medicine, e.g., Italy. Could it be that part of the reason for Bernie’s burnout in the last few primaries is that too many Democrats gat hurt by changes in their health insurance under Obamacare, and that the prospect of having the same sort of system as China has caused them to reconsider giving the leadership of their part to a Socialist?

Hmmmm.

UPDATE—

Investment Opportunities


I make money in the stock market two ways. One way is buying stocks that pay dividends, and I hold those stocks long term as long as the dividends they pay are a good return on investment. The other way is buy stocks that I expect will appreciate in market value. I sell those stocks when I feel I can make a satisfactory profit. The recent coronavirus and Bernie scares that caused share prices to drop unreasonably was an opportunity to engage in that second method.

The DJIA is up over 5 % today.

Ka-ching!

Math is Hard


Bernie Sanders is proposing a national health care system commonly referred to as Medicare for All. The low-side estimates of the program’s cost are around 3 trillion dollars a year.

Michael Bloomberg’s net worth is estimated to be about 62 billion dollars. If Bernie were to confiscate all of that wealth (and it could be liquidated as cash), he could pay for a week of his proposed program. If he could similarly liquidate the fortunes of the ten richest Americans, he wouldn’t find enough money to run Medicare for three months. And he would have destroyed productive assets that would generate further cash flow to fund the system. Even if he kept the seized assets as an investment portfolio (equivalent to a 100 percent income tax rate), a reasonable long-term rate of return would only provide for a week-and-half of Medicare for all each week.

The other 95 percent of the money required would exceed the government’s current income from taxes, so bringing Medicare for All online while maintaining something near the current level of other government services would require at least doubling the current total amount of federal taxation. If the billionaires have had their assets seized so that they have nothing left to be taxed, who do you think is left to be taxed? Cleaning out the millionaires won’t produce the same windfall as billionaires. If it’s still possible to pay wages at the current level after much of the productive investment in the economy is destroyed, then the average citizen’s share of the federal tax burden would likely rise to above 33 percent of personal income.

And then we’d have to figure out how to pay for the Green Nude Eel.