La Grande Bouche aka The Bloviator will speak to Congress ... again. Perhaps my memory is off, but didn't past Presidents just speak to Congress directly at the State of the Union and at crucial times such as declarations of war ? All Obama ever seems to do is give speeches. It's September and what has he done ? A crappy stimulus plan was passed that now causes the US to lag the world in recovery. Otherwise, zippo zilch. That nickname fits.
I officially drop the name, "Obama Fund" for my speculative investments. No longer do I expect him to succeed and my speculations are now "Obama-free".
The summary of the current bill under consideration for health care reform shows a convoluted mess. Here are some excerpts from WSJ online today:
"Democratic plans call for requiring most Americans to carry health insurance. Failure to comply could cost families as much as $3,800 a year, according to a new Senate proposal. ... The plan includes some of the stiffest penalties Congress has proposed for Americans who don't carry health insurance coverage. ... For taxpayers with incomes above 300% of poverty, the penalty starts at $950 a year and reaches as high as $3,800 for families. Nearly 12 million people fit in this category, according to the National Institute for Health Care Management. The idea behind the penalty is that those who can afford insurance but don't buy it are imposing costs on the entire health system. "
Anyone paying for their own health care insurance knows that it costs a LOT more than $3,800 per year for a family. So where's the penalty for the free-loaders ?
How is that going to work ? How can one collect from cash workers ? What is going to be covered ? What type of plans are suitable for avoiding the penalties ? Does anyone know what's in these bills ?
Even though states require insurance, there is still a big problem of uninsured drivers. How is the health plan to solve that problem?
For the record, I favor some reform. The current system is a mess. No one knows what things cost. No one knows that the capricious insurance system covers. Huge dead-weight loss is incurred from administration and reimbursement games. Legitimate coverages are denied. Getting insurance is hard - why is it so connected to a job? How are pre-existing conditions covered?
Why isn't this part of the debate?
For the record I favor a huge reform that would somehow cover everyone and provide some freedom and flexibility. I've been noodling over the details - what is practical and what is philosophically right.
And for the record: health care is not and cannot be a fundamental right. It's simply a shared benefit of an advanced society. No fundamental right of persons can impose an obligation on others. This is metaphysically certain. Imagine a society of two people. If "health care" was a fundamental right, one person could do nothing and the other would be a slave to take care of him/her. Then what if that person refused to be the slave. No one provides it, hence it does not exist. Obviously that's a contradiction and the proof that health care is not and cannot be a fundamental right of natural persons is complete. QED.
I bought the call options yesterday as described. Effectively, my speculative fund is about 300% long. I used about 35% of my total equity to fund the calls. This is a very risky strategy, but I'm backing my thinking on (a) a return to normalcy in 2010, and (b) such recovery will be led (now) by Europe, Asia and the emerging markets.
I bought calls in the money by one strike and mostly with November and December expirations, so that I am covered through Q3 earnings. The premiums were quite reasonable. I have calls in UTX, CAT, MMM, BA, ITW, RIMM, GOOG, PG, HBC and MT.
I'll trade around these positions, but not too often.
I also bought a small position in COF for Fido Fund. I think the other banks raising fees and rates will let COF gain market share. I might add on a dip.
Word of the Day
"Coruscating" - a present participle from "Coruscate" - verb, intransitive [$10]
Corsucate means 1. to give off flashing light: sparkle; 2. be showy or brilliant.
Sentence: The speeches of La Grande Bouche may sound like of coruscating gems of intelligence, but in substance they are mere rhinestones, not real diamonds. Nothing valuable or useful arises from them.
"Istnieć" - imperfective verb, first conjugation
Istnieć means to exist, to be.
Zdanie: From "O Co Nas Pytają Wielcy Filozofowie" by Leszek Kołakowski, page 131, writing the famous philosophical question of Leibniz in Polish:
"... dlaczego istnieje coś, zamiast by raczej nic nie istniało ...?"
Sentence: Why is there something, rather than nothing ...?
[That is a free translation ... literally it's more complex.]