[Mailbag] Our Thoughts on General Electric… and More

It’s a sad story.

But we must watch the tears we shed, for the end of this story still hasn’t been written.

The ink that’s drying on the page, though, tells a tale we all feared may come true.

As we opened the mailbag this week, we found a loyal reader asking us our thoughts on General Electric. With our time in the business and the many hours we spend studying such things… is the beaten-down stock one to buy?

We wish the answer were different.

But the truth is the company now boasts a market cap of just $70 billion. Little more than a decade ago, that figure was closer to $400 billion.

Back then, such a value made the behemoth maker of all things America the nation’s most valuable company.

Today, it’s far from the top.

On its 13-year decline from the peak of business success, it’s been pushed further down the leaderboard by a phone maker… a web retailer… a movie streamer… and even a seller of high-priced coffee.

As John Mellencamp wrote… Ain’t that America.

But don’t write off General Electric quite yet.

As its debt slips toward junk status and as it’s forced to shed its biggest businesses, it has a long way to go before it joins the ranks of Sears, Kodak and RadioShack.

There will be government meddling, corporate tweaking and investor shenanigans. They’ll keep the stock price pulsating and twitching just like a dying animal flipping and flopping as it clings to life.

Oh sure, it may never get a generous gift from unwitting taxpayers as Amazon just did… but then again, the company made a career out of such things for decades.

Now it’s somebody else’s turn.

Like we said, it’s sad if we bother to stop and think about it.

But it’s better if we move on. We’ll probably just end up saying something we shouldn’t.


Believe What You Want

Here are some of the other hot topics in the mailbag this week.

Your recent comments about Meat Myths missed the boat. It is not the type of meat but how much that matters the most. The people who live the longest have been found and studied, and guess what? Their diets are plant-based with minimal meat, less than 6 oz. a week. They also practice a lot of the behaviors you espouse. Please read this book for more information: The Blue Zones Solution – Reader F.H.

We never dreamed our essay on Feel-Good Economics would draw so much attention. When we wrote of the myths surrounding the meat industry, we heard from all sides of the argument.

It causes cancer, some folks say.

You’re crazy, others said.

You’re looking at it all wrong, they cried.

You’re spot on, they cheered.

It confirmed what we wrote – there’s misinformation everywhere.

But F.H. has it right. The more meat we eat, the higher our chances of an early death. Science proves it.

To say we missed the boat, though… we beg to argue… and so would the scores of readers who took us to task for cautioning readers.

In fact, when we linked meat with cancer in the essay, one reader said it was “the most preposterous load of garbage ever stated.”

It proves that myths are tough to bust.

Humans believe what humans want.

But not all of them…

Your point about myths and wrong “information” is SOOO point on!!! The problem has become one of the most massive in modern history – an epidemic, I would say! Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to change our old biases/misinformation. That is why I have appropriated a quip from A. Scalia that he delivered after being taken to task for flipping 180 degrees on a topic. When asked if he had changed his mind, he replied, “I have gained new information, or more specifically, I have abandoned old ignorance.”  Reader L.E., MD

Amen.

We can think of nothing to add.

But we will say the idea of abandoning old ignorance is a great way to think of the nation’s growing change of heart on marijuana and, more specifically, hemp.

We’ve mused a fair amount about the idea in recent weeks. Most readers agree that it’s time to rethink America’s ban on hemp (a plant that can’t make you high… but looks like one that can).

But not everybody is convinced…

If the cannabis treatments were so great back then, why wasn’t the lifespan longer than it was? Thank you kindly! – Reader B.S.

It’s a fair question. In fact, anybody who’s thinking through the issue fairly will stumble upon it.

The answer, fortunately, is quite simple.

Living Longer

At the start of the 20th century, the top three causes of death were pneumonia, tuberculosis and gastrointestinal infection.

Cancer, on the other hand, was way down in the 10th spot… just below heart disease.

It wasn’t until antibiotics were widespread that folks started to live to the old ages that are so common today.

So to say hemp and its CBD aren’t powerful because folks died at a young age when they were an American mainstay is bad logic.

Folks never had a chance to benefit from the wonder plant. Bacteria was killing them too young.

We’ll wrap up with a powerful note.

Andy, God bless you, my friend. You have really “hit the nail on the head” with this one! Truer words have seldom ever been written.

My toolbox (my favorite one of many) accompanies me everywhere I go and carries with it so much more than mere tools of steel; it humbles me with the wonderful memories of a father who could do anything and everything and was all too happy to teach me the same. Add to that an awesome redheaded wife whose father was a contractor and taught her the unchallenged wisdom of buying the best of everything when it comes to tools. She never ceases to remind me “you get what you pay for.”

Believe me, the more years I add to this earthly experience, the more thankful I am every day for the blessing of parents who taught me all I needed to know to excel in this world, especially right from wrong and always to be mindful of the source of our blessings.

My toolbox just happens to be the companion vessel that keeps it all handy for me and helps to fill my mind with gratitude for all I have received, both materially and spiritually. My toolbox represents true freedom and helps me to express my ingenuity.

God Bless you and may you have a most happy Thanksgiving! – Reader S.A.

Thanks, S.A.

We smiled as we read this for many reasons, but most of all because it hits at all angles of our Triad.

There’s the Liberty of being able to thrive on your own… the Know-How to get the job done… and the Connections that made it all possible.

It’s proof of the hard work within our mission.

If we have all three, we truly have plenty to be thankful for.

 

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