by Shane Ormond
On Sep 19, 2019
The Federal Reserve rate-setting committee cut rates by a quarter point yesterday, in an attempt to create a protective cushion for slowing economic growth. (Now all we need is a protective blanket and a protective play center and the global economy is all set.)
by Shane Ormond
On Sep 9, 2019
The director of MIT’s Media Lab stepped down over the weekend, after it emerged he accepted millions of dollars in donations from Jeffrey Epstein and taken steps to hide them (because, ya know, child sex trafficking and stuff).
- TSA “Cool” With Weed: But They Will Still Call the Cops On You
- U.S. Birthrate Hits 32-Year Low… What Does This Mean for the Economy?
- Dems Livecast Public Reading of the Mueller Report
- Students Are Selling Stocks in Themselves to Pay for College
But They Will Still Call the Cops on You
The TSA has made its stance on traveling with marijuana clear:
It’s fine. As long as we don’t find it. If we do find it, it’s not fine. Although it might be fine. It depends on the situation. (Crystal clear, right?)
In a recent post on its Instagram (which is where I get all my clarifications on complex drug law), the TSA wrote:
“Are we cool? We like to think we’re cool. We want you to have a pleasant experience at the airport and arrive safely at your destination. But getting caught while trying to fly with marijuana or cannabis-infused products can really harsh your mellow.”
Like all good writers, I usually like to pepper articles on marijuana law with bad weed puns. But the TSA is kinda ruining it for me today.
“Let us be blunt. TSA officers DO NOT search for marijuana or other illegal drugs. Our screening procedures are focused on security and detecting potential threats. But in the event a substance appears to be marijuana or a cannabis-infused product, we’re required by federal law to notify law enforcement. This includes items that are used for medicinal purposes.”
The only U.S. agency that has seen you naked says that this includes narcing on passengers who are flying between two states where weed is legal. (Because crossing state lines with a Schedule 1 drug is a federal offense.)
However, law enforcement officials from legalized states chimed in with their two cents. And while the law varies state to state, the general consensus is if you’re carrying less than the legal amount (and you’re not a jerk about it), you’ll get a small fine at most.
Some airports, like McCarran International in Las Vegas, has established “amnesty boxes” where folks leaving the state can dispose of their weed at any time without fear of legal repercussions.
Come Gather Round, Children
If this sounds like the TSA and local law enforcement are sending mixed messages, it’s because they 100% are. (Just tell Vanessa you like her, TSA!)
But the clumsy handling of this situation is just a reflection of the legal limbo marijuana is currently in.
Since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, marijuana has been classified as a highly illegal Schedule 1 drug. But as one famous weed smoker once said, “the times they are a-changin’.” And the law is “a-changin’” along with it.
In the last decade, 33 states have legalized the medical use of marijuana, while 10 states have made it fully legal for anyone to buy and consume marijuana. (And to eat an entire bag of Taco Bell and watch eight hours of cartoons afterward.)
According to a Gallup poll, national support for legalizing marijuana at the federal level is at a record 66%. And the STATES Act, a bipartisan bill that would leave marijuana enforcement up to the states, could pave the way for widespread legalization.
Even the cops and TSA can see full marijuana legalization is on the way. But most investors are too stuck in their ways to see the explosive potential.
Which leaves open a huge opportunity for regular investors who are paying attention.
Take for example the “Weed-tirement plan.” This massive payout plan, offered by the most profitable company in marijuana, could double your retirement savings starting with as little as $50.
It’s 100% legal. And yet most folks don’t know about it. Click here to become one of the folks “in the know.”
U.S. Birthrate Hits 32-Year Low
In those-darn-millennials-are-ding-donging-up-the-country news, young folks just ain’t poppin’ them out like they used to.
According to a new report by the CDC, the U.S. birthrate is at its lowest point in 32 years. Not since 1986 has the birthrate been so low (and that was due to everybody still being grossed out by New Coke).
The U.S. birthrate fell 2% to 3,788,235 in 2018, the fourth consecutive year the CDC has reported a drop in birth rates.
That may seem like a lot of babies. But the U.S. economy is a ravenously hungry machine, and it gets kinda logy without a fresh injection of workers every year.
Economists are worried that if we don’t start making babies hard and fast, the U.S. economy is going to have a serious shortage of workers in 25 to 30 years.
Without the workers to drive the economy, economic growth will slow substantially.
But on the bright side, those babies will probably be statistically happier than the current generation. In the past, low population generations have been less productive but reported a higher level of happiness.
(Fewer people means less competition, which means you can get a great job even if you kinda suck at it.)
Our sports teams will probably suck and the wheels might fall off the economy. But at least they’ll have a better time than the miserable millennials (whose entire concept of humor is restating that they want to die in as many ways as possible on Twitter).
In fact, according to the experts, millennials’ gloomy outlook is at the heart of the population decline. Young adults don’t have kids unless they’re optimistic about the future (see above tweet).
On the bright side, the rate of teen births fell 7% in 2018 to 17.4 births per 1,000 teenagers. That represents a 72% drop since 1991, when kids were having so many babies we had to give them their own TV shows. (Hey, maybe Alabama’s lawmakers just want another season of 16 and Pregnant.)
Dems Livecast Public Reading of the Mueller Report
In the worst piece of television since last week’s episode of Game of Thrones, House Dems are live casting a reading of the entire redacted Mueller Report.
Democratic Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, who organized this little slam poetry session told the Washington Post “the American people need to hear from the report itself. Summaries won’t do.
“We’ve been saying for weeks that if you think there was no obstruction and no collusion, you haven’t read the Mueller report. So the ongoing quest has been, ‘How do we get that story out there while we are waiting for the witnesses to come in?'”
The reading is currently taking place in the House Rules Committee Room inside the capitol. The 448-page report (including redactions) will take about 12-14 hours to read and will be split between a roster of (all Democrat) volunteers.
I briefly checked in on the feed this morning to hear Dems say the word [redacted] over and over again. But I couldn’t put up with the droning monotone for more than five minutes.
If the Dems actually wanted to bring attention to the report, they should have hired a celebrity or at least someone with a drop of personality to read the report. (Admit it. You would tune in for Kanye reading the Mueller report.)
You can check out the live stream for yourself here. They’ll probably still be at it until the wee hours of the morning. Don’t worry if you miss it though.
When they’re done, they plan to turn the recording into the worst audiobook since Gilbert Gottfried read 50 Shades of Grey.
ONE LAST THING
Buy Shares in Derek
Over the past 40 years, college tuition fees have tripled, far outstripping the rise of income levels and inflation (and the actual quality of the education being doled out).
In one of the top schools in America, your kid could be looking at tuition costs of $60k a year. And that’s before students even start to think about textbooks, living costs, or getting hammered three times a week.
However, there’s a new way students can pay for college, devised by one of the sharpest economic minds America has ever seen (and it doesn’t involve selling your body or medical testing).
Income Share Agreements:Selling Stock in Yourself
Income Share Agreements work a lot like buying shares in a publicly traded company.
It starts with someone — either a school or private company — giving a lump sum of money to a potential student. (Let’s call him Derek.)
In return, Derek promises to pay back a percentage of all his income for a set amount of time after he graduates.
Unlike regular stocks, you can’t buy and sell shares in Derek as you please. (“Derek’s girlfriend has left him. SELL! SELL! SELL!”)
Instead, you receive a portion of Derek’s income for a set period of time — typically eight or 10 years after graduation – depending on how much Derek borrows.
Because he’s paying back a percentage of his income (not a fixed amount) the more money Derek makes, the more he pays. Derek might be kind of a ding dong and end up working in the local bong store for $35k a year before tax.
But the “investors” are counting on the strong earners balancing out the burnouts.
Famed American economist Milton Friedman originally proposed the concept way back in 1955, in his essay The Role of Government in Education:
[Investors] could “buy” a share in an individual’s earning prospects: to advance him the funds needed to finance his training on condition that he agree to pay the lender a specified fraction of his future earnings. In this way, a lender would get back more than his initial investment from relatively successful individuals, which would compensate for the failure to recoup his original investment from the unsuccessful.
In the last decade or so, income share agreements were implemented successfully throughout Latin America.
They first found a home in the U.S. in the forward-thinking tech boot-camps that teach young adults to code. But now various universities and companies are testing the waters.
Purdue University launched the program in 2016, which means it’ll be a while if we have any data on if they are working or not. But the first recipients, of which there were 500, have already graduated and entered the workforce.
One student who spoke with NPR received $50,000 directly from Purdue. In exchange, she has promised to pay 15% of her income for eight years after she graduates.
After that, she’ll be done with her loans no matter what. But is there a downside to this concept that’s being overlooked? One that could severely damage the U.S. education system?
We’ll discuss this more in tomorrow’s One Last Thing.
Closing Data for 5/15/19
|S&P Index 500||$2,851.13||↑ 0.59%|
- Walmart (WMT) gets a boost after reporting increased sales in Q1, adding to four years of sales increases.
- Nestlé (NSRGY) to sell skin-health business for $10.2 billion. (There goes my idea for chocolate face wash.)
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Yesterday, we reported a flare-up of GOP infighting surrounding the Senate subpoena of Donald Trump Jr. I wanted to hear your take and here it is. Today we have the usual bipartisan response, as well as one reader who 100% subscribes to the One Last Thing ethos:
Why is this idiot getting special treatment? I see no reason why he should be above the law like his orange father who blatantly insists he knows everything blah blah blah! I think it is time for the Republican party to be disbanded and held accountable for everything that has happened here in America since Trump took office. — Cyndy W.J.
The libs will never give up. Just another slap in the face for the Trump family. They will try to trick him up on a minor technicality. Maybe won’t say exactly what he said before word for word and they will jump all over that. — Tom K.
Yes, Republicans suck but the Democ-Rats suck worse. The Republicans need to regroup and get this nonsense behind them. Instead they are prolonging the BS and are impeding things getting done for the American people. Politicians in general are a bunch of do-nothings except to grab power. I call the modern political system the Big Government Party and there are 2 wings, right and left who can never agree on anything except to grow government. I know, I was stationed in Dirty City (DC) back during the Clinton Mafia days and could not wait to get that stink off me when I left. Corruption is ripe there and it knows no boundary of who it ensnares in its grip. Even the good ol’ boy McConnell, ask him where his wife’s family gets their money. Our political system sucks but there is none better in the world. I love our country, I hate our government. President Trump was right to call it the Swamp, all rotten and putrid. The Founders had a great idea but we could not maintain it and the government chips away at it everyday. Wishing you well and thanks for the opportunity to vent. — James S. Retired USN
Hallelujah! If I ever need a day off, I might just ask James to fill in for me.
Incidentally, Dirty City is a slapping Steve Winwood song. Check it out.
Editor, One Last Thing