Signs a Lame “Relief” Bill
President Trump last night did the unexpected: he signed the new CV-19/budget and relief bill which – while doing little for CV-19 – manages to be a goldmine for foreign aid and special interests along with keeping government open through September.
This is the $600 check version. The House is due to take up the $2-grand version today. But don’t hold your breath – it’s mostly show and little to go: Republicans in the Senate are likely to stonewall anything more.
Trump plans to whine in a signing statement, but BS & bluster aside, we see this as another taxpayer screw job..
In effect, Trump is kicking the can down the road so Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can do what they will. What could go wrong?
Predictably, there was only a modest market reaction. Remember, the clock is running out this week on locking in stock profits for Tax Year 2020. Anything with a transaction date after Thursday will be taxed at whatever the capital gains rates turn out for Tax Year 2021. That’s a gamble many (*sane) people might want to avoid.
Right now, 2021 tax rates are anyone’s guess. Although an increase seems like a “given” since the only way to keep the dollar credible is to increase taxes. Since the Biden administration is likely – in our view – to be much more friendly to China, that means any bump up in revenue from import taxes will be short-lived.
Although we heard a lot of promises, promises during the campaign and were reassured that “Joe Biden has a Plan” – the contents – post hoax – are MIA. Probably because there is no plan…but hey! Maybe I’m just cynical ‘cuz it’s Monday?
High Costs of Covid
While the U.S. tries to make budgetary sense of CV-19, and the 5,000 page accounting novel, the rest of the world is stuck with bug bills, too. Out west, “Covid-19’s $3 Trillion Price Tag Rocks Japan’s Economy.”
Although the U.S. market was set to open higher (+150 at 2 AM) there was reason to be suspicious. Japan was up 3/4th’s of one percent overnight and the price of gold was up as much as $30 an ounce. Toss in Bitcoin rolling up to $26,870 and one can almost make out a planet-wide global inflation scheme.
Which we’ve mentioned how many times? We all paper together or die.
The Home Edition of global economic scams is simple-enough to comprehend: It’s like having a Monopoly game next to a laser printer and reams of colored paper on hand. The “houses on Boardwalk” can – under these conditions – achieve lunar (if not Martian) orbits.
Nashville Bombing Follow-Up
There are simply too many unanswered questions to know – with any certainty – what the motivations were behind the weekend bomb blast in Nashville. As of this morning, “DNA found at the scene of the Christmas day explosion in Nashville matches 63-year-old ‘person of interest’.” Why?
The Deniers and Conspirators have been tossing out non-stop theories since the explosion. But, absent a smoking gun from some reasonable direction, it’s likely a one-off.
Subject to copycats and with another holiday-shortened week ahead.
No freedom of the press worries in China: Citizen journalist in China who reported on COVID-19 sentenced to 4 years.
Speaking of the ‘Rona: AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID vaccine could get U.K. approval as soon as this week.
The Gig’s Up: Gig Economy Workers Say They Can No Longer Survive. All part of the ‘rona implosion. Like oil prices – which take fully 60-months to percolate throughout the economy – coronavirus has likely just gotten started.
And we’re rebranding “The Windy City” as the “Bloody City”: Chicago violence: 7 killed, 27 shot on Christmas weekend. And that gets us to…
We have been continuously amazed for 50-odd years (when George started chasing news for a living) at the ability of the American Economy to monetize-away all of society’s problems.
Take water and air pollution: Filters on cigarettes became more efficient, and more recently the whole “global warming” monetization keeps coming back – Zombie-like – even after data questions the hysterical marketing (and while we’re at it, let’s tax the whole world, too) hype. Climate has been changing forever. And warming since the Ice Age. Und zo? Hint: Monetizations need bogeymen!
This morning, we add another monetization to our “Believe It Or Not” list: I received an email warning me:
“MS-13 (the largest and most dangerous gang in all America) is growing faster than ever – especially in small towns across the U.S.
And while that’s unsettling…
What’s truly disturbing is realizing what they’re doing to American seniors.
To join their gang, new members are told to target older men and women and do the most disgusting things imaginable to them…
Imagine if they targeted your wife or daughter!”
More fear-fanning followed. Then a pitch for (near as I could figure it) a “self defense” system. And, of course, guess what wasn’t free.
Worth mentioning, though. As a long-time sales and marketing type (there’s life after news, right?) I admired the chutzpah of the approach.
I’m reminded of Ure’s Second Law. This first, of course, was “Everything’s a Business Model.” The Second law (corollary) says “Every Business Model Spawns Additional Monetizations.”
Take CV-19, for example. No point stopping at vaccines and home improvements, delivery services, and higher speed internet…
Why, even Hells Angels has a CV-19 mask trademark. “Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation?” (Does this mean a restored panhead could be properly claimed as a business expense? I mean it’d be a marketing deduction offset by revenue, right?)…
For now, MS-13 (and MS13 without the dash) didn’t seem to have a U.S. Trademark. We anticipate that void will be filled in short order.
Our takeaway? America doesn’t solve problems, anymore. We just monetize, monetize, monetize them away!
The Week Ahead
Hype like mad? May be hard to come by. Same market schedules basically as last week.
There’s a Fed balance sheet this afternoon.
Double-dose of cynicism tomorrow as fresh housing numbers reveal how much higher Home Prices have gone with unlimited “Monopoly money” from the gov’t.
Wednesday verges on a serious workday with international trade, retail inventories, and the PMI manufacturing signal. Farm prices and business uncertainty in the afternoon.
Thursday – early market closing. No point coming back from lunch. About the only thing to weigh should be the weekly jobless claims and that’s early. We figure those will be up – (so we have a 50-50 chance of being right!).
Starting 2021 Properly
Dinner Thursday night promises to be good. A replay of the Christmas prime prime rib roast. Only this time, I have the proper herbe provence on hand to sprinkle on along with crushed sea salt. Johnny’s Dock seasoning salt was dandy, though.
Elaine and I will suffer through picking the right champagne. Then the fun begins…
A Special Ham Radio Weekend
New Years is when Tube Type Radio gear is dusted off. Very close to the depths of winter – when low band propagation goes international about sunset (unlike static-plagued summer evenings).
As readers know, I am terribly fond of those tube radios I’ve restored. When you read the reviews (linked below), you will understand why…
My favorite vintage station (for the lower end of 20 and around 3.550 CW Thursday night) will feature a legendary Drake 2B with matching Q-multiplier. The transmitter will be a Gonset GSB-100. The linear amplifier is the Johnson Thunderbolt (my restoration notes (1) and (2) here) and a Hallicrafters T.O. Keyer will be in line.
I may use the Icom 761 for nostalgia reasons: I was the “voice talent” on the IC-761 rollout video. Also wrote the script and hired the video crew to shoot it. Oh, and it’s still a very competitive radio sans the DSP and other “come-lately” changes.
Straight Key Night.
As the American Radio Relay League website says (over here):
“This 24-hour event is not a contest; rather it is a day dedicated to celebrating our CW heritage. Participants are encouraged to get on the air and simply make enjoyable, conversational CW QSOs. The use of straight keys or bugs to send CW is preferred. There are no points scored and all who participate are winners.”
The operation here will begin about 6 PM Central – because that’s 00:00 UTC. And for however long I last.
Ure’s been a ham since ’63 and I can still mush-along at 30-WPM plus with a bug or keyer. Straight Key Century Club #19433.
One More Odd Radio Note
As if nostalgia night on a straight key isn’t obscura enough? Try to figure out what this is:
This, dear reader, I’ve christened an “Antenna Flag.” All of 5-minutes work on TinkerCAD. 4-second download, 30-seconds to slice, and 93 minutes to print. Badda-bing!
Backstory: My eyes are OK for driving, but when I’m out on the tractor I will oftentimes run into low-hanging Beverage antennas. Mind wanders, in-attentive. ADHD and machinery and all that… Antennas get lost in the visual clutter of same-color trees…
The slot in the small piece is where 300-ohm twinlead antenna wire goes. Result? The big bright-colored circle hangs down so you can’t miss the wire. At least in theory. Disclosure: Borrowed idea from those bright orange balls on power lines around airports (mainly for the low & slow helo’s).
Silly problem to solve? Not really: We live at the best time ever for problem-solvers. Target rich world. Any time you see a problem, it’s easy to imagine a solution and then realize it. (Well, except for government which is a “special case” – just ask ’em!)
Which is why – brain on fire with ideas – it’s so easy to leap out of bed every morning.
Remarkably? Even on Mondays…and even at 1:45 AM…
Write when you get rich, I’m going back to bed.