Tailpieces Blog Post 262

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Investing in Joe Biden

Investing in Joe Biden

It’s now possible to invest in the right American political connections. Pine Island Acquisition Corp., recently listed in New York, has ties to people selected to serve as ministers in Joe Biden’s Cabinet. Specifically named are foreign minister Tony Blinken and defence minister Lloyd Austin.

The company promises “access” to the “current and future opportunities” in government and associated industrials such as defence and aerospace. Analysts say : “It’s not every day that the machinations of influence-peddling are made so public. The fact an investment vehicle to take a view on the success of such strategies is easily available” is “a new and unsettling development.”

Clearly there is a market for lobbyists, who provide a useful service to anyone who wants to influence policy. They are “the soft underbelly of the US political system.”

Investing in China

Investing in China

A commonsense strategy for investing in China  is to buy the assets that domestic investors favour, Eoin Treacy says in FullerTreacyMoney. They are the ones most likely to gain government support in a crisis.

In the US they’re “equities, in Germany it’s bonds – and in China it’s properties.”  It seems that last year real-estate investment again outstripped economic growth, as it has done in 16 of the past 17 years.

“China presents an uncertain investment environment for local investors. Returns on bank deposits are persistently below inflation, the stock market is a casino in terms of the predictability of returns, bonds are now riskier, with increasing numbers of defaults, government bond yields barely keep up with inflation, and investing abroad is not an option for the majority of people.

“The easy answer is to buy properties… or gold.”



Warding off Chinese takeovers: The British government has initiated legislation to control any companies planning transactions within 17 areas of the economy focused on technology, including broad categories such as computing hardware, artificial intelligence and data infrastructure. This will give the state control over any activity involving flow of data, which underpins most of the categories targeted.

The government will also have the power to unwind any transaction completed within the last five years that is deemed to be a matter of national security.

The law is aimed at Chinese investment. The US, Germany, France and Australia already have similar laws.

The pandemic: The Covid-19 virus has had no effect on the overall number of deaths in America. In other words, a fall in the number of deaths from all other causes has been offsetting the number attributed to the virus. This is according to Centers for Disease Control & Prevention data covering the period from early February to early September analyzed by Genevieve Briand of Johns Hopkins university.

She suggests that the death-toll attributed to the virus is misleading; that they ought to be recategorized as being due, not to the virus but to usual causes such as heart and respiratory diseases.

Southeast Asia: Indonesia’s health ministry has been so corrupted by embezzlers that when the pandemic struck it struggled to respond. Its levels of testing are among the lowest in the world. The Economist reports this in its Banyan column as an example of how powerful is the region’s “immovstoryable mass” of “kleptocrats, self-serving bureaucrats and strongmen.”

Now the biggest: In purchasing-power terms China’s economy is now the world’s biggest, according to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook – it’s one-sixth larger than the US’s. In the exchange rate conversion commonly used the IMF values the Chinese economy at $14.5 trillion, but in purchasing-power terms, at $24.2 trillion; the US at $20.8 trillion by both measures.

Armaments: Russia has developed a defence against the drone weapons such as those used so successfully in the recent Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Its Derivatsaya-PVO self-propelled anti-aircraft gun creates a shield with a hail of projectiles – up to 120 shells a minute – that form an impenetrable barrier of shrapnel against incoming enemy missiles.

Black benefits: The US state of Oregon has allocated almost one-third of its Covid relief fund to Blacks who suffered losses because of government-imposed shutdowns  (grants of up to $3,000 a family)  and Black businesses (up to $100,000).  Less than 3 per cent of the state’s population are Blacks.

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