08 May “they do big dumb things”
“‘In the 58 years we’ve been running Berkshire, I would say there’s been a great increase in the number people doing dumb things, and they do big dumb things,’ he said, meaning that there will be more opportunities to make money down the road.” –https://www.cnbc.com/2023/05/06/berkshire-hathaway-annual-meeting-live-updates.html
“And there’s winners and there’s losers / But they ain’t no big deal / ‘Cause the simple man, baby, pays for the thrills, the bills, the pills that kill…” – “Pink Houses,” John Mellencamp
As is always the case with these downturns, someone’s gonna win and someone’s gonna lose. I will refer you back to Gordon Gekko:
Tell me, Gordon–when does it all end? How many yachts can you waterski behind? How much is enough?
Buddy, it’s not a question of enough. It’s a zero sum game, sport. Somebody wins and somebody loses. Money itself isn’t lost or made, it’s simply transferred from one perception to another. Like magic. That painting cost $60,000 10 years ago. I could sell it today for $600,000. The illusion has become real. And the more real it becomes, the more desperately they want it. Capitalism at its finest.
Here we are, living the same reality over again. The fat cats prime themselves to pounce on these opportunities, which involve profiteering from the misery and/or mistakes of others.
Just another exhibit, if it pleases the court:
“Blackstone’s Real Estate BANK RUN COLLAPSE | 2008 Repeats Again…”
“The Oracle of Omaha also said Berkshire Hathaway wouldn’t take over Occidental Petroleum.
‘There’s speculation about us buying control, we’re not going to buy control. … We wouldn’t know what to do with it,’ he said.
The legendary investor sounded more optimistic about the prospects of value investing, however.
‘In the 58 years we’ve been running Berkshire, I would say there’s been a great increase in the number people doing dumb things, and they do big dumb things,’ he said, meaning that there will be more opportunities to make money down the road.” -CNBC, Ibid.
Why is there an increase in people doing dumb things? And what constitutes a dumb thing? We’re living in an age of BNPL for GROCERIES, for God’s sake.
“Americans have found a new way to deal with soaring grocery prices: They’re buying now, but paying later, Bloomberg reports. BNPL services offer quick credit and interest-free payments, making them an attractive alternative to credit cards, especially as shoppers lose access to pandemic aid, including wider access to food stamps. Experts warn, however, that BNPL can give shoppers a false sense of security, making it too easy to overspend on everyday staples. Shoppers who don’t budget in advance for payments can also still damage their credit when late fees kick in, they add.” –https://www.linkedin.com/news/story/grocery-shoppers-buy-now-pay-later-6263922/
Or maybe they went to hospital and found themselves in medical debt. I had to go to hospital twice with C*v!d, which turned into long-haul C*v!d. Then I had to go to the cardiac unit at the hospital for further tests. So even though I pay a king’s ransom for insurance each month, believe me when I tell you: my bills were f**king awful. The charge for me to go inside the flying donut for a lung scan was $4500. How is this possible??? I even received a $25 fee from a cardiologist who “looked at” one of my heart tests. 😒
Are there people who buy junk they don’t need to impress people they don’t even like? Of course. Let’s refer back to Gekko again:
Someone reminded me the other evening that I once said, greed is good.
Now it seems it’s legal!
But folks, you know it’s greed that makes my bartender buy three houses he cannot afford with no money down. And it is greed that makes your parents refinance their 200,000 dollar house for 250K, and then they take that extra 50K and they go down to the shopping mall and they buy a plasma TV, cell phones, computers and an SUV. And hey, why not a second home while we are at it. Because, gee whiz, I mean we all know the prices of houses in America always go up. Right?
And it’s greed that makes the government of this country cut the interest rates to 1% after 9/11 so we can all go shopping again.
There are people who do greedy, absurd things with money. This is true. Likewise, there are people who get mowed down through no fault of their own.
The hyper elites will profit off of this economic downturn. Why do I feel so confident? Because they always do. They engorge and enrich themselves while more folks get squeezed out of the middle class downward into the working poor. IMO, you have to look out for yourself.
I think I would rather figure out ways to make money or have my money work for me in an investment strategy than to pinch pennies too much and then hoard food that’s going to eventually give me diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. Oh, and then I’m dependent on Big Pharma and I’m in the system. For me, I just that’s a big, big ‘no thanks.’ So the most I will say is: be judicious. Be smart about who you’re listening to. and for what reason. If they make these big, sweeping predictions about Armageddon, the Thunderdome, all the banks are going to collapse overnight, all of society will collapse overnight, we will be in primitive times all over again, everything is just going to be wiped clean overnight, you will go to bed and everything’s normal, you will wake up and you will be back in the stone age, you should hoard food that’s full of fat, sugar, and salt that’s probably going to ruin your arteries as soon as you eat it. If they’re telling you things like that, you have to really decide for yourself: is that somebody that I want to be listening to?
-“Saturday Broadcast 47” https://www.buzzsprout.com/1125110/12760014
I took some heat from a few angry podcast listeners who felt offended by my notion that hoarding ultra-processed junk food might not be the greatest idea. I know of whence I speak: I ate plenty of ultra-processed junk food during the Great Recession because that’s what I could afford. Off-brand sugary cereals & oats, microwave burritos, cheap TV dinners, white bread, cheap frozen pizzas, canned spaghetti, etc. Yep. Been there, done that. And I survived. It helped me through the crisis. Now, the other side of that coin is that I was overweight and undernourished during that time because the quality of that “food” was terrible.
These fat cats sure find ways of using the system to their advantage so why can’t we? I don’t give advice and I don’t tell you what to do / what not to do. For me, I’d rather go into a downturn in as good a shape as possible than go in at an automatic disadvantage. Because, as we see from the CNBC article, the elites are primed and ready to snaffle up everything they can.