Add this to the list of things I’ve been thinking about but haven’t reached a conclusion—whether the “fall” of Kelly Blazek is a good thing or a bad thing for our civilization.
For those of you who haven’t followed the news: Kelly Blazek is a professional woman in Cleveland, OH that runs a job bank with over 7,000 contacts. For most of her life, she has enjoyed an impeccable reputation for helping job seekers find work and for being someone whose job has truly improved the welfare of others. Although, until a week ago, 99.99% of Americans did not know who she was, she could go to bed at night knowing that her work made her a net benefit to our civilization.
That reputation took a hit when she encountered a recent college graduate through e-mail named Diana Mekota. Diana had recently graduated from Brandeis, was moving to Cleveland, and … Read the rest of this article!
To any remaining readers of this site—
I apologize for my unexpected hiatus from the site—hopefully I’ll get some good updates up in the next week or so. My absence has been due to primarily two things:
1. I’ve spent the past few works participating in legal work that doesn’t just affect me. Normally, if it’s just my own schoolwork, I don’t mind going at about a 75% effort level so that I can have time for pet projects and hobbies. If I am the only one who can potentially be “harmed”, then I don’t mind the tradeoff. But when I’m working on stuff that involves other people, then I need to try to come as close to 100% effort as I can, because I don’t want anyone else to be harmed due to me leaving that extra bit of “oomph” on the table.
2. The other reason that I’ve … Read the rest of this article!
“One of the things you will find, which is interesting and people don’t think of it enough, with most businesses and with most individuals, life tends to snap you at your weakest link. So it isn’t the strongest link you’re looking for among the individuals in the room. It isn’t even the average strength of the chain. It’s the weakest link that causes the problem. It may be alcohol, it may be gambling, it may be a lot of things, it may be nothing, which is terrific. But it is a real weakest link problem. When I look at our managers, I’m not trying to look at the guy who wakes up at night and says ‘E = MC 2’ or something. I am looking for people that function very, very well. And that means not having any weak links.” -Warren Buffett, 1991 speech
Originally posted 2019-05-16 23:21:37.
… Read the rest of this article!
In One Up On Wall Street (p. 19), Peter Lynch once remarked that “if anybody’s responsible for the disappearing dividend, it’s the U.S. government, which taxes corporate profits, then taxes corporate dividends, for so-called unearned income. To help their shareholders avoid this double taxation, companies have abandoned the dividend in favor of the buyback strategy, which boosts the stock price. . . Reducing the supply of shares increases the earnings per share, which eventually rewards shareholders, although they don’t reap the reward until they sell.”
I love everything about this Peter Lynch quote, even including the editorial aside that subtly trashes the notion of referring to dividends as unearned income in our tax code. It’s dumb to go through life thinking that the money generated from your labor is the most legitimate source of ways to make money; applying the skill to acquire in ownership interest in a business that … Read the rest of this article!
I received an interesting private question from a reader recently, asking me what I thought was the best argument against blue-chip dividend investing. I loved that question, and with his permission, I included parts of my answer below.
When you think about owning a diversified basket of high-quality assets for a long period of time, one of the virtues of the strategy is that it is almost fail-proof. Part of me wants to reach out and say, “Yeah, well, maybe during a WWII type of event, the dividend payouts might stop.” I have no idea what will happen during the outbreak of the next war, but here is what I do know: When Germany was streaking across Europe and launching air attacks on the British empire, the highest quality companies in the world continued to make their payouts. General Mills, AT&T, General Electric, Hershey, Colgate-Palmolive, IBM, and the offspring of … Read the rest of this article!