Friday, April 10, 2009

Investment Advice in a Failing Economy

By Christopher_Taylor**

With the stock market plunging around the world and banks collapsing, many people are looking for a better place to put their money, a superior investment. I can give you one right now, a secret that only a handful of people have been able to take advantage of. With this investment scheme you will make not just double, not just triple, not even a hundred times as much back as you invest, but thousands, even tens of thousands. What is this scheme?

Buy a congressman.

“Remember that AIG’s largesse — $9,342,839 in individual, PAC, soft money and 527 contributions since the 1989 election cycle — is dwarfed by the $170 billion in support the firm has gotten. That’s $18,195 for every dollar contributed. It certainly seems like subsidizing the pols led to quite a good return, as it did for Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, General Motors and others.”
I've long been amazed at how much a company who contributes a few thousand dollars per person (there are specific limits on how much a person or company can legally donate to a politician in the US) gets back from their congressman in terms of earmarks and contracts. Donate a few grand, get back millions in federal funding. That's such a good deal, such a powerful investment, it is worth donating the thousands to every single guy you can. If only one of them wins and throws you back a fat contract or a bailout, you've made back the kind of money that even Hillary Clinton can only dream of, even with her astounding cattle futures investment.

What congressmen do is take care of their contributors, taking care of them to an absurd degree of benevolence, far beyond the benefit they've gotten from campaign contributions. But wait, it doesn't stop there. Remember the campaign, how desperately the legacy media sold out any semblance of credibility, objectivity, and reliability to get their guys elected? I suggested that some believe that was out of a hope that they'd be saved through this effort and was mocked by a commenter for saying such a thing. Senator Cardin (D-MD) thinks otherwise:
“With many U.S. newspapers struggling to survive, a Democratic senator on Tuesday introduced a bill to help them by allowing newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks.

‘This may not be the optimal choice for some major newspapers or corporate media chains but it should be an option for many newspapers that are struggling to stay afloat,’said Senator Benjamin Cardin.

A Cardin spokesman said the bill had yet to attract any co-sponsors, but had sparked plenty of interest within the media, which has seen plunging revenues and many journalist layoffs.

Cardin's Newspaper Revitalization Act would allow newspapers to operate as nonprofits for educational purposes under the U.S. tax code, giving them a similar status to public broadcasting companies.”
What is the one force in a free market that can save a largely obsolete, fading and disliked industry? Government intervention. Yet, as Dan Reihl snarks:
“Congress can't make newspapers non-profit. For most practical purposes, they already are.”
This would allow newspapers to continue, being treated as non profits for "educational" purposes without needing to actually generate a profit. It would prop up the businesses even if they lose customers and cannot show an actual earning to investors and their board members. The bill wouldn't actually save newspapers, it would just allow them to continue dying slowly rather than collapsing abruptly like the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. People would continue to move away from newspapers for their information, advertisers would continue to abandon the papers for other media, but the papers could technically limp along longer. And for a while, their influence - already overemphasized by a small group of influential people in the country - could continue.

Having problems figuring out where to put your money? The only sector in the world that thrived in the great depression was the federal government. Get yourself a congressman and you'll see amazing returns on your investment. Until the economy totally collapses, at least.

**Christopher Taylor is a conservative blogger and will be contributing a conservative perspective at The Huck Upchuck on occasion.

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