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Old 02-13-2022, 01:49 PM   #41
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ZachTB: And as for John Maynard Keynes himself? No economics degree.
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Old 02-13-2022, 02:07 PM   #42
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Thanks for all your comments, everyone! Here's a follow-up, approximately 1 year and 3 months after I started this thread:


I've read numerous books on economics, investing, and personal finance, including:
-Bogle's Clash of the Cultures
-Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Street 11th edition (as suggested by Onward, earlier in this thread)
-Your Money or Your Life
-New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
-Debt: The First 5000 Years
-When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management
-The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, and
-The Changing World Order by Ray Dalio.

I've read some other books as well, but I don't recall them right now.

I suppose my initial question was really, in essence: can anybody prove she's a fraud? Or demonstrate that she isn't a fraud?

In the time since I posted this question, the numerous books I've read have given me additional understanding of the matter. It leads me to believe that my initial question can't really be answered.

It seems that NOBODY understands economics, since it's a) extremely complex, and b) too intertwined with political decisions made in particular contexts and situations.

People can point to historical situations to support almost ANY claim. Such as:
-Lowering taxes promotes economic growth. Just look at Country X in 1780!
Except when lowering taxes led to a recession in Country Y in 1327.*
-Countries on the gold standard enjoy greater prosperity and stability. Just look at Country A, from 1600-1732!
Except Country B, from 1578 to 1832, had a fiat currency and enjoyed even more prosperity and stability, over a longer timeframe.*

*I made up all of these dates and so forth. But you can certainly find arguments like this over every conceivable macroeconomic topic.

And so on, and so on...it's possible to find historical examples to support nearly any claim. So, when it comes to macroeconomics, it seems that everybody has an ideological axe to grind, and nobody has the full picture.

I think this ancient piece of wisdom is relevant here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant

I haven't made any trades based on Alden's recommendations, nor do I plan to do so. So my curiosity about Alden is mainly academic, I suppose.

For my own portfolio, I use index funds. My 401k, through Fidelity, is very simple: 50% US Stock Index Fund, 45% International Stock Index Fund, and 5% US Bond Index Fund.
I have another account with Vanguard, in which I hold the following: mostly VTSAX (US index) and VTIAX (international index). I also have small positions in VSIAX for a dose of US value stocks, VTRIX for int'l value stocks, and VEMAX for emerging market stocks. For my approx. 10% in bonds, I use VBTLX. I also have a fair chunk of funds in VGSLX, held in a Roth IRA so I'm not hit with a nasty surprise at tax time.

It seems to me that Alden is a more active trader, with lots of individual securities. For better or for worse, that's not my own preferred approach.
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Old 02-13-2022, 02:14 PM   #43
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There is at least 70 years of academic research and statistical studies that confirm the fact that the best approximation to the market's behavior is that it is random. There are many references; one of the best recent (May 2021) ones is the updated edition of "Winning the Loser's Game" by Charles Ellis.

In a random environment with a very large pool of chattering monkeys making predictions two things are true: (1) No matter what happens, a small number of the monkeys will have predicted it. (2) The randomness of the market makes it impossible to know in advance which one of them will be the genius monkey.

Accepting the concept that the market is random can be a heavy lift for an individual. It just seems so counterintuitive. But the data doesn't lie. Upton Sinclair explained many years ago why investment professionals do not accept this: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.Ē
I'm in the same boat as you, OldShooter, and my own holdings reflect that. The market appears to be fairly efficient, in aggregate and over the long-term. I don't have any debt, which makes me more robust (or "Antifragile," as Taleb would put it) against unusual or 'Black Swan'-type events (such as COVID).

I keep doing research, though, because I don't fully trust anyone or anything. Economic history is as old as human society, and the past ~100 years for which we have fairly solid data is just a blip compared to the thousands of years of human civilization. So I keep looking for more information and additional perspectives, in hope of gaining better understanding.

I'm probably chasing the wind here. But hey, knowledge is a worthwhile pursuit anyway. Right?
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Old 02-13-2022, 02:15 PM   #44
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ZachTB: And as for John Maynard Keynes himself? No economics degree.
Didn't know that, thanks Markola!

I know that, today, there remain adherents of Keynes' perspective. And, of course, there are also adherents of von Mises' perspective, and Hayek's perspective...and oftentimes, they're all ready to strangle one another!
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Old 02-19-2022, 03:53 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachTB View Post
Thanks for all your comments, everyone! Here's a follow-up, approximately 1 year and 3 months after I started this thread:


I've read numerous books on economics, investing, and personal finance, including:
-Bogle's Clash of the Cultures
-Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Street 11th edition (as suggested by Onward, earlier in this thread)
-Your Money or Your Life
-New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
-Debt: The First 5000 Years
-When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management
-The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, and
-The Changing World Order by Ray Dalio.

I've read some other books as well, but I don't recall them right now.

I suppose my initial question was really, in essence: can anybody prove she's a fraud? Or demonstrate that she isn't a fraud?

In the time since I posted this question, the numerous books I've read have given me additional understanding of the matter. It leads me to believe that my initial question can't really be answered.

It seems that NOBODY understands economics, since it's a) extremely complex, and b) too intertwined with political decisions made in particular contexts and situations.

People can point to historical situations to support almost ANY claim. Such as:
-Lowering taxes promotes economic growth. Just look at Country X in 1780!
Except when lowering taxes led to a recession in Country Y in 1327.*
-Countries on the gold standard enjoy greater prosperity and stability. Just look at Country A, from 1600-1732!
Except Country B, from 1578 to 1832, had a fiat currency and enjoyed even more prosperity and stability, over a longer timeframe.*

*I made up all of these dates and so forth. But you can certainly find arguments like this over every conceivable macroeconomic topic.

And so on, and so on...it's possible to find historical examples to support nearly any claim. So, when it comes to macroeconomics, it seems that everybody has an ideological axe to grind, and nobody has the full picture.

I think this ancient piece of wisdom is relevant here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant

I haven't made any trades based on Alden's recommendations, nor do I plan to do so. So my curiosity about Alden is mainly academic, I suppose.

For my own portfolio, I use index funds. My 401k, through Fidelity, is very simple: 50% US Stock Index Fund, 45% International Stock Index Fund, and 5% US Bond Index Fund.
I have another account with Vanguard, in which I hold the following: mostly VTSAX (US index) and VTIAX (international index). I also have small positions in VSIAX for a dose of US value stocks, VTRIX for int'l value stocks, and VEMAX for emerging market stocks. For my approx. 10% in bonds, I use VBTLX. I also have a fair chunk of funds in VGSLX, held in a Roth IRA so I'm not hit with a nasty surprise at tax time.

It seems to me that Alden is a more active trader, with lots of individual securities. For better or for worse, that's not my own preferred approach.
Lyn is one of the best macro people out there. Her podcast a few months ago on macro voices was incredible

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/macro-voices/id1079172742?i=1000542996826


Her stock picking service. Less so.
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Old 02-19-2022, 07:08 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachTB View Post
Thanks for all your comments, everyone! Here's a follow-up, approximately 1 year and 3 months after I started this thread:


I've read numerous books on economics, investing, and personal finance, including:
-Bogle's Clash of the Cultures
-Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Street 11th edition (as suggested by Onward, earlier in this thread)
-Your Money or Your Life
-New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
-Debt: The First 5000 Years
-When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management
-The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, and
-The Changing World Order by Ray Dalio.

I've read some other books as well, but I don't recall them right now.

I suppose my initial question was really, in essence: can anybody prove she's a fraud? Or demonstrate that she isn't a fraud?

In the time since I posted this question, the numerous books I've read have given me additional understanding of the matter. It leads me to believe that my initial question can't really be answered.

It seems that NOBODY understands economics, since it's a) extremely complex, and b) too intertwined with political decisions made in particular contexts and situations.

People can point to historical situations to support almost ANY claim. Such as:
-Lowering taxes promotes economic growth. Just look at Country X in 1780!
Except when lowering taxes led to a recession in Country Y in 1327.*
-Countries on the gold standard enjoy greater prosperity and stability. Just look at Country A, from 1600-1732!
Except Country B, from 1578 to 1832, had a fiat currency and enjoyed even more prosperity and stability, over a longer timeframe.*

*I made up all of these dates and so forth. But you can certainly find arguments like this over every conceivable macroeconomic topic.

And so on, and so on...it's possible to find historical examples to support nearly any claim. So, when it comes to macroeconomics, it seems that everybody has an ideological axe to grind, and nobody has the full picture.

I think this ancient piece of wisdom is relevant here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant

I haven't made any trades based on Alden's recommendations, nor do I plan to do so. So my curiosity about Alden is mainly academic, I suppose.

For my own portfolio, I use index funds. My 401k, through Fidelity, is very simple: 50% US Stock Index Fund, 45% International Stock Index Fund, and 5% US Bond Index Fund.
I have another account with Vanguard, in which I hold the following: mostly VTSAX (US index) and VTIAX (international index). I also have small positions in VSIAX for a dose of US value stocks, VTRIX for int'l value stocks, and VEMAX for emerging market stocks. For my approx. 10% in bonds, I use VBTLX. I also have a fair chunk of funds in VGSLX, held in a Roth IRA so I'm not hit with a nasty surprise at tax time.

It seems to me that Alden is a more active trader, with lots of individual securities. For better or for worse, that's not my own preferred approach.
You're more a less a subscriber to the philosophy of Bogle, Bernstein, and many others. You're a passive indexer! And you've found the techniques of great investors like me -- VGSLX in a Roth-IRA account...

You've provided a very good analysis of potential investment advisers, like the topic of the thread. I've never paid for a newsletter since I read a wide variety of opinions, and don't need actionable advice, since I am also almost 100% indexer. We play generate-some-spending with a 15% portion of our pie.

As you said, you didn't need the LA advice either, and are looking for understanding about the economy and maybe the stock market. Well, that really narrows it down!

There have been several threads on favorite books, favorite podcasts and favorite reading sites for investors. This is the spray and pray approach. You don't get a nice sip from the garden hose, it's full on with the fire hose!
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Old 02-19-2022, 09:05 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by ZachTB View Post
Thanks for all your comments, everyone! Here's a follow-up, approximately 1 year and 3 months after I started this thread:
....
I suppose my initial question was really, in essence: can anybody prove she's a fraud? Or demonstrate that she isn't a fraud?...
Interesting thread, and good to see it resurrected after a year.

I'll assume she is not a fraud (just because I'm such an optimist!), but it really doesn't matter. She could be 100% sincere, hard working, intelligent, insightful, and interesting to listen to and learn from - and still not be any good at adding value to your portfolio (which appears to be the case, at least based on the results we've been told of the past year).

Quote:
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.... It seems that NOBODY understands economics,....
I'm going to disagree with this, or at least say it is irrelevant to the subject of adding value to your portfolio (beyond the small amount of knowledge required to select an AA and buy a a few broad based index funds).

One can have a very good understanding of economics. One can have exceptional insight into evaluating the financials and market position of a company, including understanding the products in their pipeline, what's getting outdated, what their competition is up to, their liabilities, etc. But then we run into the paradox:

All of the above (if legally obtained), is based on public knowledge. And "the crowd" has set a current value for that stock. So our hard working newsletter writer might be 100% correct on the observations made. But two things must happen - 1) those expectations are not already "baked in" to the current stock price, and 2) The future doesn't contain a downward surprise.

IOW, that stock has to do better than expectations, as the expectations (of the broad market) are already built in. Expecting something to do better than expectations is the paradox.

If someone can regularly identify undervalued stocks (and enough of them to stay invested and diversified), then yes, they could profit above and beyond the broad market. But as OldShooter points out time and time again, those seem to be few and far between, track records are not reliable, and identifying them ahead of time is pretty close to the stock picking paradox I mentioned.

-ERD50
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Old 02-19-2022, 09:12 AM   #48
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Lyn is one of the best macro people out there. Her podcast a few months ago on macro voices was incredible

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcas...=1000542996826

Her stock picking service. Less so.
Here's 2 hours of Lyn Alden on The Market Huddle:
https://open.spotify.com/episode/4H9...SCOujNA33Kw-Yw

How many words per minute is that? Wow!
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Old 02-19-2022, 09:12 AM   #49
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Lynn Alden is very good at explaining macro events. But a lot of that info can be gathered elsewhere. Maybe that's something she does....gather facts and present them in an orderly and understandable fashion?

But, she has a terrible record at picking stocks, which is a crap shoot anyway.

For free, you can read her macro articles on Seeking Alpha.
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Recommendations regarding Lyn Alden's site?
Old 02-19-2022, 09:40 AM   #50
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Recommendations regarding Lyn Alden's site?

I donít know why she, or anyone, attempts to pick stocks. People like to gamble (see the Covered Calls and Naked Puts thread, and the Beat Boho stock day trading on Robin Hood thread. And thereís even a thread pondering how best to invest in the nuclear industry, LOL.). Are all of those gamblers on the Forum disqualified from making other kinds of comments? No. Maybe she likes gambling and people will pay her for her gambling tips. Market timing might be provably dumb but itís hardly unusual.

Regardless, she has managed to break through the usual boring stuffed suit talking heads on CNBC who are frequently, entirely wrong, to offer macro economic observation in a way that excites her younger peer group about markets. So, hats off to her, I say.
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Old 02-19-2022, 09:43 AM   #51
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I really enjoy reading her articles - as far as stock picking is concerned, I prefer to follow my own star.
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Old 02-19-2022, 02:37 PM   #52
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Thanks everyone!

Maybe my "nobody understands economics" comment is because I lack the knowledge to sift through and find those who truly understand. But I've seen far too much argumentation, with no apparent resolution.

I still think the system is simply too complex [and too political] for anyone to fully understand, hence all the arguments about economics. The Director of the People's Bank of China sneezes in a press conference, and the S&P 500 drops 0.5%. Unless, of course, Apple simultaneously issues a quarterly report showing better-than-expected earnings...

People want to believe that econ is just like physics. But living beings are obviously far less predictable than natural phenomena. You can mathematically describe atomic density or stellar motion a lot better than the vagaries of the human mind. Or even the mind of a deer or a badger! Doesn't stop people from trying, though, and I suppose that's where the issues come in.

For what it's worth, I've been most impressed by Dalio's The Changing World Order. I think he does a really good job of explaining large trends over long historical periods, and he's generally much less partisan than most of what I read.

I still like Alden's macro analysis [at least, I usually do. Some of her articles seem a little self-congratulatory]. But I'm on my second go-around of Dalio's book, and I can definitely recommend that one for enthusiasts of macroeconomics.
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Old 02-19-2022, 02:49 PM   #53
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... I still think the system is simply too complex ... for anyone to fully understand, hence all the arguments about economics. ...
Yes. My standard metaphor is a trout stream. Although the mathematics of incompressible fluid flow is well understood, that does not give us the ability to predict the future whorls, eddies, and currents in a stream. Our best approximation to dealing with that stream is consider the flow to be random and chaotic with a slight bias towards going downhill. The same thing is true about the economy and the markets, random and chaotic with a slight bias that is (fortunately) upwards.
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Old 02-19-2022, 03:02 PM   #54
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...

I still think the system is simply too complex [and too political] for anyone to fully understand, hence all the arguments about economics. The Director of the People's Bank of China sneezes in a press conference, and the S&P 500 drops 0.5%. Unless, of course, Apple simultaneously issues a quarterly report showing better-than-expected earnings... ...
OK, I guess it depends which aspect of "economics" you are referring to. I agree that there is a jumble of 'explanations' for the market moving this way or that over the course of a minute, hour, day, week, year, decade. Who knows?

But the concepts of economics, like supply/demand are well understood. Human behavior is not.

-ERD50
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Old 02-23-2022, 11:48 AM   #55
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Yes. My standard metaphor is a trout stream. Although the mathematics of incompressible fluid flow is well understood, that does not give us the ability to predict the future whorls, eddies, and currents in a stream...
I really like this metaphor, OldShooter!
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Old 02-23-2022, 11:57 AM   #56
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You're more a less a subscriber to the philosophy of Bogle, Bernstein, and many others. You're a passive indexer!
Exactly!

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And you've found the techniques of great investors like me -- VGSLX in a Roth-IRA account...
I did a whole lot of reading and learning when I was in grad school. While I didn't have a whole lot of money, I did have a little. And I wanted to know how to handle my money like a responsible adult before I started making a full-time wage.

I'm still learning, obviously, but I soaked up a number of stories about people's mistakes, and how to avoid them. One of those involved the lesson of holding REITs in a tax-sheltered account, so I can avoid a nasty surprise on my taxes every year. (It probably doesn't matter too much today, but in 30 years...)

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...I've never paid for a newsletter since I read a wide variety of opinions, and don't need actionable advice, since I am also almost 100% indexer...
I wish I would have put it as succinctly as you did here!

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As you said, you...are looking for understanding about the economy and maybe the stock market...There have been several threads on favorite books, favorite podcasts and favorite reading sites for investors. This is the spray and pray approach. You don't get a nice sip from the garden hose, it's full on with the fire hose!
Well, I like to drink from the fire hose sometimes. I just avoid making hasty decisions based on that information. That makes me think of the Ents from Lord of the Rings!
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Old 02-24-2022, 06:49 AM   #57
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I'm still learning, obviously, but I soaked up a number of stories about people's mistakes, and how to avoid them. One of those involved the lesson of holding REITs in a tax-sheltered account, so I can avoid a nasty surprise on my taxes every year. (It probably doesn't matter too much today, but in 30 years...)
I just checked, and this year I will measure out at 95% qualified dividends in taxable brokerage. I've largely followed the prescription, but I admire my solitary REIT (O) and the monthly income. It also acts a roadblock to stop me from chasing any more yield.
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Old 02-27-2022, 12:47 PM   #58
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I just checked, and this year I will measure out at 95% qualified dividends in taxable brokerage.
Nice!!!

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I've largely followed the prescription, but I admire my solitary REIT (O) and the monthly income. It also acts a roadblock to stop me from chasing any more yield.
Wise approach. I'm thinking that REITs could serve (at least partially) as a bond-substitute in the current low-yield environment. Solid dividend payments, plus opportunity for price appreciation [along with the obvious caveat that they can go down just as quickly as they go up. And even in the relatively short period of time I've held a REIT, it's done plenty of both].
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Old 02-28-2022, 04:24 PM   #59
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These newsletter people always make me smile. She has no finance training and no experience in the industry. Her financial ideas are so wildly successful that she holds down a day job working as a worker bee ("Technical Lead") for the FAA -- unrelated to markets or finance, and her company office is a post office box. Her alma mater (Rowan University) is rated #187 on US News' ranking list, barely above the bottom half.

But, hey, she might guess right. There are enough of these letters that someone always does.



The best way to make money with a market newsletter is to write one.

Makes me like her more. Especially if she paid for her education in lieu of a trust-funder going to wharton business school.
Line up 100 harvard graduates and what do you get? 100 ways to blow tuition. Their "education" is no better or worse in my view.
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Old 02-28-2022, 04:28 PM   #60
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Actually, given the random nature of markets and the number of prognosticators, someone is always right simply due to luck.

What matters is a verified track record of being right often enough to indicate skill. The academics have been looking for investing skill for years and have still not found any. For example: Ken French on picking a manager: https://famafrench.dimensional.com/v...-managers.aspx

To me, opting to peddle a newsletter is prima facie evidence that the advice is not useful. Either she doesn't believe in her own advice or she has actually tried to use it and failed. The need to keep an inconsequential day job is just a nail in the coffin.

In the remote possibility that there are people with some skill in this area, they are certainly not giving their expertise away to subscribers for a few bucks a month (or for free!), nor are they offering their skills for hire to others as portfolio managers. This is French's point about who gets the rents.
Gotta love the person who demeans someone's job as inconsequential. What is YOUR job?

By the way, you skipped the transparency part.
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