How could Trump pay no 2020 income tax?

David MoonBlog

A recent report from the House Ways and Means committee disclosed that former president Donald Trump paid no federal income taxes in 2020, prompting plenty of public declarations that his tax returns are just more evidence that the former president is a crook. Trump may or may not be a crook, but there are plenty of reasons for not paying taxes, only one of which is that you are a crook. It makes for a great headline or social media post to criticize a wealthy person or large company for not paying taxes. How could Donald Trump (or FedEx, Amazon … Read More

2022 Q4 letter

David MoonUncategorized

January 2023 Dear clients and fellow shareholders: The S&P 500’s almost 20% decline last year was the stock market’s third worst year since 1937 and the largest annual drop since the Great Recession decline in 2008 (-38.5%.) While we are never pleased with losses, our focus on valuation helped us sidestep much of the market’s 2022 decline. Our stock portfolio declined approximately 7% last year, buoyed by our positions in healthcare (McKesson, Cigna, AbbVie, DaVita and CVS) and homebuilder Green Brick Partners. (Your actual equity portfolio return may differ because of legacy positions or cash flows in/out of your portfolio.) … Read More

Did jersey color foretell UGA win?

David MoonBlog

Although the margin of victory exceeded most people’s expectations, it should have surprised no one that Georgia defeated TCU in the CFP national championship game Monday night. Not because Georgia has superior players or coaches – but because of their jerseys. In the past 30 years, 64 percent of the FBS (Division 1) national championships were won by teams whose primary jersey color was red. Yet red is the primary color for only 38 percent of the 130 FBS schools. And this is not just a Georgia/Alabama phenomenon. It includes championships won by other redders such as Florida State, Southern … Read More

Rate increase exposes risk in bonds

David MoonBlog

There were a lot of investor surprises in 2022, most of them painful. The prices of high-flying tech stocks can decline, sometimes significantly. The current inflation is not transitory. Interest rates matter. Bitcoin isn’t the key to your retirement plan. But the most surprising shock for many investors in 2022 was that the supposed safe assets in their retirement plans – the bonds – weren’t as safe as they had assumed. While the S&P 500 stock index declined 19 percent in 2022 (its worst decline since the 2008 Great Recession), the price drops in many bonds and bond funds were … Read More

Resolutions for 2023

David MoonBlog

If telling a trusted person your goals can create a useful accountability, perhaps sharing mine with everyone will be even more powerful. Or maybe one of my 2023 resolutions will be useful to someone else – either as a possible goal or something to avoid at all costs. I am going to write more this year. I am going to journal 15 minutes a day and start a new book. And I am going to write one personal note to someone each day, even if only to say hello. Text less and call more. Avoid social media. Go to more … Read More

Last minute naughty and nice lists

David MoonBlog

On the outside chance Santa hasn’t completed his 2022 naughty and nice list, I’ve made some notes that he might find helpful. First, the naughty list. Sam Bankman-Fried and anyone who benefitted from the money he stole. That includes Tom Brady, Stephen Curry, Trevor Lawrence, Shaquille O’Neal, Matt Damon, Kevin O’Leary and Larry David. And scores of politicians, all of whose names we don’t yet know. Theranos fraudsters Sunny Balwani and Elizabeth Holmes. Bill O’Reilly and Brett Farve. BLM executives who used donated funds as their personal piggy bank. Janet Yellen and anyone else who so confidently spoke of transitory … Read More

Fed appointment more political than economic

David MoonBlog

The directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago recently selected University of Chicago professor and former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, Austan Goolsbee, to become the new president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in January. Although Goolsbee will be only one of 12 presidents of regional Federal Reserve banks, his appointment is a watershed event, not only for the central bank, but for the entire U.S. economy. Dr. Goolsbee’s selection as one of the people tasked with helping develop our country’s monetary policy is an open and obvious admission that, despite its supposed independence, the … Read More

Inflation causes and solution are complex

David MoonBlog

If you tell me your politics, I can probably guess what you believe are the root causes of inflation. Republicans blame Joe Biden, Covid relief checks, increased deficit spending and the Federal Reserve. Democrats blame Vladimir Putin, Covid shutdowns, PPP loans/grants and (my favorite explanation of all) corporate greed. All these explanations are right, at least partly so. Except for the corporate greed one. Do people really believe that executives at ExxonMobil, Home Depot and Kroger suddenly woke up one morning two years ago and thought, “maybe we should try to maximize our profits?” While it manifests differently in different … Read More

Quietly quitting counterproductive to lower inflation

David MoonBlog

In the first half of 2022, the productivity of US workers declined by the sharpest amount ever – at least since the government began collecting this data in 1947. Economists are generally perplexed by the drop, with the most common speculative explanations to related post-shutdown reopening woes. I wonder if it has anything to do “quiet quitting.” Quiet quitting is when an individual doesn’t outright quit his job, but quietly refuses to do any more than the minimum required. It is about only doing an amount of work that you believe is commensurate to the pay you receive. A recent … Read More

My annual Thanksgiving week list of Irritants

David MoonBlog

Instead of another self-serving Thanksgiving week recitation of things for which some writer is grateful, in the interest of balance, here is my abbreviated annual list of irritants. Politicians who act like it’s their money when taking credit for a public project. People who see everything through a political lens. Joe Biden did not make your 401(k) decline this year, nor did he make it go up last year. Airplane passengers who put their bag in the overhead compartment above the second row, on the way to their seats on row 20. People who act as if they personally accomplished … Read More