Category Archives: Money and risk

Power laws and the laws of power

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knob-11

The confirmation hearings for the elevation of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court highlighted for me the fight-to-the-death of two types of political power currently jousting both in Washington and Ukraine. In math terms, I describe democracy as a linear function, but autocracy is an exponential “power law.” In democracy, you need to add up millions of equal “integer”… Read more »

Cryptocurrencies and the pricing problem

money-changers-Jesus

In a prior post I noted one major obstacle to cryptocurrencies being widely accepted as a “medium of exchange,” which is a key characteristic of “money.” The “price” of most cryptocurrencies relative to the U.S. dollar continues to fluctuate more widely on a daily and weekly basis that most traditional “risky” investments. This is a problem handled for millennia by… Read more »

What is the crypto bet, really?

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Bitcoin

When I try to make sense of the cacophony preaching cryptocurrencies, I hear at least four “bets” people are making about how the financial world works, especially the economic concept of money, This is my take on those four bets. I started this year with my overview philosophy of what money really is. In that post I made some hints… Read more »

Betting that you are going to die…or not

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Dice

The old joke about life insurance is that the policyholders are betting that they are going to die, while the insurers are betting that they won’t, at least until the premiums and investment income pass break-even. One significant new social change emerging from this coronavirus pandemic is that the most conservative segment of the insurance industry’s base is refusing a… Read more »

A 25-point Credo about money and choice

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Cash

It has been three-and-a-half years since I last posted about my concept of money and cryptocurrencies. I have decided to start the year out detailing my literal bets on my own wealth in the form of a (perhaps sacrilegious) Credo (literally “I believe”), twenty-five pithy statements without much explanation. Even though Jesus warned against putting too much faith in money,… Read more »

Alligators, Florida Man, and Covid revisited

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Alligator

It was just two weeks ago that I posted about the famed “Florida Man” meme, the (almost always) men who are absolutely sure that they are right when they are embarking on some dangerous action that is really wrong. And then, just this past week, we took guests to southwest Florida’s Myakka River State Park, where you can walk through… Read more »

Insurance advertising wars, Kars4Kids and “buying eyes”

Advertisements featuring the GEICO lizard, the apron-wearing Flo from Progressive Insurance, and the emu from Liberty Mutual are incessant on the channels I watch. They ought to be; Berkshire Hathaway’s GEICO is consistently one of the top advertisers on television, spending an estimated $1.6 billion annually to reach your eyes, and the other two are close behind Medicare Advantage and… Read more »

Seven bets on your 2022 Medicare supplement

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have just released 2022 premium and deductible information for Parts A (mostly hospital services) and Part B (mostly outpatient services). I have recently updated my reasons why I see Medicaid Advantage (Part C) as a bad alternative to the Part B Medigap plans, and this post demonstrates a simple way to choose a… Read more »

The bad Medicare Advantage bets – 2022 update

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Life Expectancy

The best hospital in my area ran a full-page newspaper advertisement last Sunday stating clearly which Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans that they will accept during 2022 and which they will not. It is no secret that I am not a fan of Medicare Advantage, but even I was shocked to see how few plans that they do accept. Most… Read more »

Drug pricing and game theory

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Drug bottle

The “battle of the commercials” has been going on for some time now. The AARP wants Congress to step in against high prescription prices, especially for “old staples” like insulin. In response, a near-tears diabetic says on my TV that Medicare is going to take her drugs away if Congress limits drug prices (no surprise, the commercial sponsored by PhRMA,… Read more »