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Gotcha Politics

Gotcha PoliticsFor some time now, and more recently to a much larger degree, “gotcha” politics has become popular. Gotcha politics can be one party presenting a bill in Congress that is 99% fat and 1% beneficial spending. The 1% will be used to create the name. Like a trillion dollars dedicated to wasteful spending and $10,000,000 for useful spending will be called the: ”Save the Planet, Baby Whales, Feed the Hungry, National Security…..” bill. Anyone who votes against the bill because of the other 99% is called anti-planet, anti-baby whale…

If you pay any attention to politics, you understand this sad game.

Unfortunately, many do not know how this occurs and form opinions based on sound bites and misleading headlines.

Another part of Gotcha Politics involves taking an event or action of a person and selectively highlighting some parts of the story and omitting others. One can find examples of this daily by watching the news. You can find the story on two separate networks known for their diametrically opposed, biased reporting. The same event will appear very different depending on which network you watch.

“Believe nothing you hear and only part of what you see .”

This quote, or something close to it, is usually attributed to Edgar Allan Poe. I, however, attribute it to Papa Tom, my grandfather and newspaperman. I remember conversing with my grandfather while I was probably 9 or 10 years old. He had a colorful way of explaining things. His method was clearly effective as I remember his teachings to this day. Papa Tom left me lessons that have served me well. (although I’m probably a bit more skeptical than most)

When it comes to political events, including what is happening in Congress, is there a way to be educated and not indoctrinated?

Gotcha PoliticsYes, but you’ll have to do a bit of the work.

If you want to search bills in Congress, click here. I should warn you it can be some challenging reading. (The skeptical part of me thinks this is by design) Often, you’ll need to refer to other documents that can take time to find in order to better comprehend the current document.

Another tool to help you track and understand legislation is the app called BILLTRACK50. This app offers a search feature to allow you to see the terms of bills you want to track. This app can allow you to track regulations that may affect your business or non-profit organization. I haven’t done a deep dive into this yet. Thus far, it seems useful and a bit easier to use than the Government site.

What does this have to do with investing?

Actually, it has a great deal to do with you AND your portfolio. Corporations are heavily regulated. Those in political power can have a significant impact on the very viability of a company. A business can greatly benefit people and have great potential profit as a result. If, however, that company has more political foes than friends, their very existence could be threatened.

While you may not have the advantage of knowing what legislation will be proposed in the future, it is worth knowing what is currently offered. Knowing what, if any, of your investments that might be impacted could be of value even without advanced knowledge.

The political process, as well as regulations, can also impact the prospects for mergers and acquisitions.

Gotcha PoliticsWhile I don’t recommend buying a company based on the likelihood that it will be bought out, it is vital to know who favors such activity and who does not. With the U.S. Government being the largest employer in the world, even excluding the military, it seems unlikely they would look favorably on any private organization that would even come close to the number one slot.

In the words of Gideon John Tucker: “ No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session…” To show what we are talking about is not new; Mr. Tucker was a mid-1800s American lawyer, newspaper editor, and politician:

The ability to track how we may be impacted by congressional action needs some work. Fortunately, some tools are available, and there seems to be improvement. If you find something that might be of interest to me and my fellow investors, please share.

December 2023

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