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Tag Archives: wealth

Nancy Pelosi’s Life in the 0.1 Percent

Ms. Pelosi has played the crony capitalism game well. The way she sees it – I promise you this is how she sees it – she’s just doing well, while doing good.

It’s the tune of many a crony.

“See, it’s OK that I live like this, even though I rail against the ‘rich,’ because I am one of the good guys. I’m for more money for welfare, and all sorts of other government programs to help the peasantry…er…the American people. I’m not like those terrible small government people with their tacky attachment to bourgeois values.”

But the enlightened, alas, must suffer such imbeciles. Sigh.

Now where is that lovely 1999 pinot? Just thinking about those teabaggers makes me want to drink.”

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About Inequality: Rich Get Poorer Over Time, Not Richer

I did not grow up with money. But I did work in finance for years and I have known a number of people with significant wealth. I also live in an old money town, Charlottesville, Virginia.

There is an adage about significant wealth which I think holds generally true and that is that “old money” is smaller than “new money.”

Often with older money there is some patriarch a few generations ago who made a pile of cash in some endeavor, rubber, banking, textiles, whatever. And sure, properly taken care of this wealth should grow from generation to generation. And this sometimes happens.

But never underestimate the destructive ability of an idiot son or grandson or grandsons given too much responsibility and too much money. Over time fortunes very often erode. Not always, but often. And they are always split up through the generations.

Of course this assumes a capitalist, or close to capitalist system, not a crony capitalist one like we have now.

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CNBC: When it can be illegal to withdraw your own money

Capital controls are already a reality in some places on the western periphery. There is talk among some economists about abolishing cash. How long until the Federal Reserve notes in your account are there permanently or semi-permanently? You already can’t take out more that $10,000 without your bank alerting the Feds.

The question I have is, is it your money or not? (I know the answer, but I still ask the question.)

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Another Oligarch Preaches to the Peasants – Charlie Munger Says “Prepare for Harder World”

I’m not a fan of Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s right hand man. I haven’t been a fan for a long time but this statement back in 2012 really annoyed me.

Such arrogance. I’m sorry Mr. Munger but not all of us get to drink from the Fed’s fire hose of easy money. For many of us gold is a last resort. Not an investment per se, but a hedge against guys like you. Of course you know that and that’s why you said what you said.

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Rents that make the brain bleed in San Francisco: $5,295/month for a one bedroom apartment?

This picture was just too good not to share.

I quite like San Francisco. I have a client out there and for the past 4 years I’ve spent a week in the city (and around it) in June. I wouldn’t say that I’ve left my heart there, or that I could ever imagine living in the place, but it has a certain foggy, pot odored, good beer doused charm. I respect the place even though it has a road, I’m not kidding, named Nancy Pelosi Drive.

But the cost of living there is mind blowing. The city makes life very difficult for landlords to evict anyone and as such forces landlords to inflate rental rates to compensate for the risk. Also the city won’t allow much in the way of new development. There is a huge potential market for new apartments in Frisco but the city fathers (and mothers) would rather preserve the nasty parts of town I guess. And there ARE nasty parts of town. Too many new, young, more or less rich folks moving in might shake up the local politics a bit too much.

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So Biden wants to “emancipate” wealth? OK, let’s take a look at how he got his

Biden is the quintessential political Cheshire cat. (The Washington DC subspecies.)  The guy can smile through anything. Probably a good thing to be able to do if one is Vice President Biden.

“Just keep smiling.

Did I just cozy up to the nominee’s wife on stage? Why did I do that? Oh man. Damn, why can’t I remember to keep it back stage!

Just keep smiling.”

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‘The narrowing of opportunity in modern America’ (And the rise of the “mandarin” class)

I don’t say this very often, but I highly encourage everyone reading this post to read the attached article. It offers a great window into a world in which I spend considerable time, and it is spot on. If one wants to understand what’s going on in our government and in our economy this piece will offer some valuable perspective. (The article is 2 years old, but in this case it doesn’t matter.)

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2015 A year of transition? Part 1

Most years are extensions of the year or years before. They are pieces of an era. Each year has its own flavor for sure but some years have a similar feel. Sometimes however things shift, and I think 2015 may be one of those “shifting years.”

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If you had assets before 2008 you’re probably doing fairly well, If you didn’t, well sorry

The great disconnect continues. Those who are tapped into the (crony) financialized system have seen their stocks and bonds do well as the market has ridden a Federal Reserve created bubble. Those who do not have assets, or only real estate assets, (unless they have nice arable farmland) have fallen behind. It’s a case of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, but the situation has been exacerbated by the central bank experiments of the last 6 years.

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The Man Behind the Hong Kong Miracle

Technically Hong Kong is now part of communist China, yet today it is perhaps the freest and one of the wealthiest places on Earth. One man, Sir John James Cowperthwaite, had everything to do with this.

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Argentina and 10 More Countries Near Bankruptcy

I remember back during the the big Argentine default of 2001 I was on an overseas real estate website and I saw a piece of land which was literally the size of Delaware for sale for $1,000,000 US. I remember thinking that even if the land was deep in the barren steppe of Tierra del Fuego it still had to be a deal at that price. There would have to be minerals under there of some sort. All I had to do was find 1 million dollars.

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