Chipping Away at the Supply Chain

Milton Friedman once remarked that if the government were put in charge of the Sahara Desert, we would quickly have a shortage of sand. The looming supply problem for the electronics industry isn’t a sand shortage but one of silicon metal used to make semiconductors. SMM News is reporting that government imposed power restriction in China are adversely affecting silicon production.

The insufficient power supply will inevitably lead to a decline in the output in Q4. The impact of the dual control of energy consumption is more significant on the supply of silicon. The major silicon metal producing regions including Yunnan, Xinjiang, Sichuan will have to cut the production, where the silicon plants cannot maintain the normal production from September to November. The power shortage also restricts the production.

BTW, silicon isn’t rare; it’s the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust. Oh, and a vast array of products uses semiconductors. Even the toaster I bought last year uses an integrated circuit as the basis of its timer.

Taxing Unrealized Capital Gains

Lots of folks have seen the value of certain capital assets rise significantly over the past couple of years. One of the reasons my 401k has done so well is that several of the mutual funds in that portfolio have positions in companies such as Tesla, SpaceX, and Apple. I haven’t become a billionaire, but I’ve been along for the ride.

So now, the some of the more economically-challenged on the Left are proposing a “wealth tax” as a way of funding the Build Back Better scam. I saw a tweet this morning suggesting that because Elon Musk had seen his stock portfolio rise $36 billion recently, he should be hit with an $8 billion dollar tax bill. Musk seems to be a very savvy enough businessman. I doubt he keeps that kind of cash on hand. I’ll bet he’d have to sell a substantial part of his holdings in order pay up.

That leads to these questions—

If he dumped a large chunk his stock in companies like Tesla and SpaceX, wouldn’t that cause a drop in the prices of those stocks? Supply would suddenly exceed demand in the stock market. What could happen to my 401k? If it suffers an unrealized capital loss, should I get a tax rebate?

If he had to sell so much stock that he lost control of the companies, would the new owners keep him? If not, would they be as well run? Would the value of the holdings in my 401k be further depressed. How many jobs might be lost if the companies’ are as well run?

If destroying the businesses run by one of the richest men on the planet would only provide $8 billion (less than 0.25 % of the $3.5 trillion advertised price of Build Back Better), are the enough other fortunes that could be raped to fund the scam? And with so many business trashed and jobs lost, what would happen to income tax revenue?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Karmic Blues

Blue is in charge in Washington, and the world economy is feeling the effects of their … um … management. Slashdot reports that the one of the supply chain disruptions is a shortage of blue pigments.

Dutch paint maker Akzo is running out of ingredients to make some shades of blue, the latest fallout from the global supply-chain disruptions that are spreading across manufacturers.

Heh.

Magnesium and Wheels

I’m so old I remember when the only significant quantity of magnesium in an automobile might have been a set of aftermarket wheels. That’s not the case now. More and more parts on cars and trucks, including large body parts, are aluminum, and many aluminum alloys contain magnesium. There’s a lot of magnesium in a modern vehicle.

China produces over 80 % of the world’s magnesium. Recent power shortages have severely affected the region where most of China’s production is based, so a magnesium shortage is expected to hit vehicle manufacturers before the end of 2021.

Tracking Your Transactions

The Democrats are proposing that the IRS should be informed of any bank transaction of $600 or greater.

Why? And why set the threshold at an amount that would cover most folks’ biweekly paychecks? Of course, as the gig economy grows, fewer people are on payrolls, but most of us who don’t get W2 get 1099s. Who are they targeting? Small business owners?

Or are they after the spending side? I suppose most families spend at least 600 bucks for rent or a mortgage? What else?

I tell you what—before the public submits to this kind of invasion of our privacy, I believe we should see some transparency from the people who want to do this snooping. Before the American people should submit to such nosiness, we should require that all members of the House and Senate, the heads of each executive department and independent agency, and all federal judges be required to make public any of their financial transactions equal to or greater than $600.

Fair is fair.

Weren’t We Supposed To Be Turning Things Over To The Experts?

I’m so old, I remember when the Xiden campaign was telling us that Joe would bring the competent adults back to the government to work for him. Putting Mayor Pete, who has no experience managing transportation networks, in charge of the Department of Transportation is another broken promise.

The oceans are full of container ships bound for America with no port facilities capable of receiving them. The FAA and some airlines suddenly have staffing issues. But the DoT has a newly-released Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan.

Meanwhile, you may want to do your Christmas shopping while there’s still stuff in inventory.

Moving Back to the Third World?

The New York Times reports that China’s electrical supply does not have the capacity to sustain existing demand. Businesses are having to curtail operation, and other public services are affected.

The outages have rippled across most of eastern China, where the bulk of the population lives and works. Some building managers have turned off elevators. Some municipal pumping stations have shut down, prompting one town to urge residents to store extra water for the next several months, though it later withdrew the advice.

Meanwhile, the CCP is shaking down companies to fund projects where the state can’t afford, and a real estate bubble is about burst.

If something can’t go on forever, it will stop.

— Herbert Stein

One wonders how this might affect the ten percent held for the Big Guy.

Math is Hard

From January to May, the Consumer Price Index rose 3.9 %. That’s an annual rate of 9.5 %.

The last time the CPI was rising at a comparable rate was from 1979 to 1981—

1979  11.3 %
1980  13.5 %
1981  10.3 %

Carter’s second term is beginning to look like the best-case scenario.

BTW, I looked over some old financial records, and while my raises averaged about 9 % each year during the Carter Administration (mostly because of promotions), my paychecks didn’t keep up with inflation.

Harbingers of Stagflation

The recent employment report was expected to show around a million new jobs. Only around a quarter of a million were created. The Consumer Price Index for April rose 4.2 %, even greater than the expected 3.6 % inflation.

And in other news, the Xiden administration wants to dump multiple trillions of deficit spending into the economy.

Carter’s second term is beginning to look like the best case scenario.

I wonder how badly the values of my 401k and IRA will be hit.