Overheard in Texas

Though not as juicy as THE conversation between attorneys in DC a few weeks ago, the opportunity to eavesdrop landed in my lap a couple of weeks ago.  Sitting across from me at my local Starbucks were three individuals.  Although not aware at the time, (or I would have paid closer attention sooner), I fast realized one was a locally based money manager, the second an aide of some sort (perhaps a lobbyist) and the third a Republican Congressman (not from my district – but the next one east of here).  They were engaged in a spirited discussion when some topics arose that got my attention (and my phone set to take some notes).

I’ve previously posted on my attempt to formulate an investing strategy for 2018.  Does my international exposure become a taxable event (currently tax neutral)?  Will potential tax reform benefit capital gains over dividends?  Will bonds become attractive for the first time in years (not likely, yet)?  What of any of the so-called Trump initiatives that have been sitting idle on the sidelines?  Although I didn’t get any answers to these – and other – questions, the information gleaned has been added to my thought process.

“To get anything done, we will have to work with Democrats”

Duh …!  Well at least it’s an acknowledgement of reality.  Also the realization that the majority of voters are disgusted with the gridlock.  But the Congressman was more concerned with the lack of accomplishments to show in his reelection bid.  Perhaps a return to a semblance of normalcy (i.e., bipartisanship) will be the theme for the year (at least until midterms)?  If so, then how does this play with the fringes on both the far right and left?  (Didn’t I say I found no answers?)

“The issue with Bitcoin is the money laundering potential”

The Congressman is spot-on.  This response was to the money manager lamenting the fact that his client’s options were more limited today due to Swiss privacy laws being shattered by the IRS.  I would assume the crypto-trading envisioned by Goldman would face similar issues.  Without anonymity, what is Bitcoin’s real value?  I will say the lobbyist’s position (in that oversight in this area is governmental overreach) was sincere (but a legal stretch).  I was beginning to think I have been too harsh on conservative Republicans until:

“You don’t need Swiss accounts.  Look at Wyoming corporations.”

Say what?  Now I had some homework to do.  If true, this Congressman:

  • Provided the Money Manager a road map for money laundering,
  • Or minimally provided instructions on tax avoidance – possibly illegal,
  • provided no assurances said loophole would be addressed by law.

Turns out the Congressman knows his stuff.  This article reports both Wyoming and Nevada are lax jurisdictions for what would normally be considered proper compliance reporting.

I am a little further on my quest for a 2018 strategy but it will likely be more fluid than usual and dependent on the whims of our elected officials at any given point in time.  And my hope for improvement in governmental operations will continue to be only a hope.

2 thoughts on “Overheard in Texas

  1. No doubt that bitcoin is a vehicle for money laundering in the US.

    It’s also the way for the Chinese mainland to bring the money into the US, Canada and Australia in the past 5 years. There are multi million dollars houses in San Francisco would just sitting there, no one living in it.

    It’s just the matter of time before the Chinese government to crack down on bitcoin, probably with the help of big tech.

    Making money in the bit coin seems so easy… but … hhiihih, I wouldn’t risk my retirement money on it, even if it’s less than 2% of stakes. I’d feel better to make 4% of a GE stock these days, with the risk of dividend cut. 🙂

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  2. I agree, but I did actually research ways to profit on the WY/NV loophole. I found none since the facilitating companies are privately held. My main takeaway was more of the same since the Congressman was torn between working across the aisle or alienating his base. One would think a little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing. 🙂

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