Economy and grift

Today’s economic outlook is a little tough to accept, given my semi-retired status and plan for modest but steady growth in holdings. In previous downturns (like 2008) I didn’t worry much because I knew there was plenty of time to recover equity and portfolio value. This time…the recovery runway is 14 years shorter. In only a few years (age 70) I’ll be forced to make specific withdrawals from equity accounts, whether we need the money or not, further reducing the time left to grow/recover equity value. I know, it’s a first world problem.

In retrospect this isn’t surprising. We’ve been through horrendous primary and secondary economic shocks, disrupting labor markets, capital markets, supply chains, national GDPs, etc. First Trump, then COVID, and now the Russia-Ukraine war. It’s amazing things are as normal as they are. But I won’t be surprised to see a deep Bear market in stocks and a long-ish run of high prices (inflation). Just when I was ready to enjoy my retirement…

Someone (maybe me) should start a new series – Politics as Grift, in which we highlight how so many folks have turned political fund raising into a lucrative personal business. Today’s focus is on True the Vote, a “nonprofit” organization that raised millions from people who believe there is/was significant voter fraud in recent elections. The organization has presented no results, no proof, nada. But it *has* managed to vector most of those same millions to companies owned by the two TtV founders, Catherine Englebrecht and Gregg Phillips. It’s a fairly straightforward grift, right out in the open – collect money from suckers via a nonprofit that you control, spend that money on “services” from for-profit companies that you also control, muddle up your life and business expenses within those companies and get most of your expenses paid by the company, then collect the rest as salary or loans. Rinse and repeat. Makes me want to start a political action committee and then start an online services company or two.

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