So what happened? After a shitty year 2018, 2019 was great for shareholders. If I had the slightest idea that the shares would rise in 2019, I would surely not have sold at the end of 2018 to accept tax losses. Well.
Welcome to my year-end column, in which I try to put things in perspective, get my mistakes under control, and follow up on some of the issues I've discussed but which I haven't yet been able to repeat.
After Boeing. When I named this miserable venture Turkey of the Year in my Thanksgiving column, which I playfully write, some claimed I had overshadowed the two Boeing accidents that killed a total of 346 people. Believe me, that's not the case.
After the Boeing CEO's dismissal, it is time to pursue the executives who chaired this moral and financial catastrophe. The basic Boeing package includes $ 346,000 a year in cash, shares and related donations. If they had any sense or decency, they would refuse to compensate them or donate them to Boeing victims. Will that happen? I doubt it.
And understand that: my first column in 2018 talked about how Boeing's rapid stock price brought the Dow to new highs. This year, the Dow rose 22 percent, while Boeing rose just 7 percent. Almost half of it came on Monday when its managing director Dennis Muilenburg was released. What's going on , ,
Among other things, I try to be unpredictable. That's why I strayed this year and wrote two unusually complicated, number-based articles.
The first, published jointly by ProPublica (where I am an editor) and Fortune, was of the opinion that the 2017 tax burden will account for approximately $ 1 trillion in losses across property across the country. This is due to the limit on government deductions for state and local taxes to $ 10,000 and the fact that mortgage rates were higher than usual due to the federal government's enormous and growing budget deficits.
The second, which I wrote as a Washington Post statement earlier this month, made a big mistake in the recent book by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, economists at the University of California at Berkeley, who are the intellectual godparents of Elizabeth Warren, discussed and Bernie Sanders proposed wealth taxes.
The book claims – wrongly in my opinion – that lower-income people in the United States have a higher percentage of federal, state, and local taxes than the 400 richest taxpayers.
I connect the two parts to show that I pursue liberal gods as much as President Trump and his lackeys.
I have written quite a bit about negative interest rates, which first appeared in financial history last year when the Japanese and European central banks cut rates below zero to boost their economies. I find it creepy (to use an uneconomical term) that borrowers are paid to borrow money. I see signs that we're nearing the end of the experiment at negative and ultra-low rates, but that could be wishful thinking on my part.
Speaking of ultra-low interest rates: I hope that Federal Reserve governors will continue to reject Trump's efforts to prepare them for the introduction of negative interest rates, which would be very detrimental to our country, our economy and the global economy.
If you're a big borrower like Trump and your property has had six Chapter 11 bankruptcies and numerous other failures, zero interest rates are a blessing.
However, they are a curse for people who have lived below their income and want to earn a reasonable interest income for their lifelong savings. They are also a curse for pension funds, insurance companies, banks and other important institutions.
Speaking of curses, I can't help but comment on the decline of Rudolph W. Giuliani, which I once respected. It was a disaster for Trump, his customer. Even though both the client and lawyer are telling the truth that Trump uses Giuliani's services for free, he still pays too much.
I was optimistic that I had fun writing about how Amtrak offered travel vouchers to me and my fellow travelers because our Acela train to Washington, Delaware had died. Talk about win-win. I not only have a column from it, but also a really cheap ticket for a second trip to Washington.
One of the more useful things I did this year was judging by the response, writing about qualified charities. QCDs, as they are called, enable those of us who are at least 70½ years old and who purchase the minimum distributions required from the IRAs to send up to $ 100,000 a year to charities and not to our personal accounts.
In this way, people using the standard federal tax deduction can deduct nonprofit contributions by showing less taxable income. Before the introduction of the tax law for 2017, the QCDs were not that important for many people because they restricted the deductions for state and local taxes. Now they do it.
And to answer one question, I was asked several times: If you receive the necessary distributions from an inherited IRA, you can only reduce your taxable income with QCDs if you are at least 70½ years old.
I don't know enough about the impact of the new retirement rules to analyze them now. I will probably write about these new rules in the new year.
Two final notes: one sad, one happy.
The Sad: Hugh Lamle, the inspiration for my story about lost houses, died on December 11 at the age of 74.
Hugh taught me a lot, although I'm not an ideal student. A few years ago, Hugh, a slightly younger billionaire than I, who had been MD Sass Investors Services for years, showed me the discounted New York subway map that he applied for at dinner when he turned 65. It wasn't worth the effort to get my own card, he looked at me funny. When I got home I found that I could apply by post, and I did. So Hugh saved me a lot of money.
Last year he sent me an economic model that shows the loss he calculated in calculating the tax burden for New York City in 2017. It took me about an age to produce the story of the loss in house value, but he never annoyed me, although his time on earth quickly ran out due to late stage amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS. I'm glad that he lived long enough to see the story published.
The good news: We are finally approaching the end of the craziest year I can remember – and I was in the draft age during the Vietnam War.
In the spirit of politeness, I wish you all a happy, healthy, peaceful and successful New Year. Whether you agree with what I write or not.