How Lucrative is the Apple (AAPL) money machine?

Having money to burn allows Apple to enter risky ventures like Show Business. In particular, I think Apple is able to do serious damage to Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX).

To enumerate, Apple can afford to hire big stars, major directors, and expensive talent to produce high-quality programming without affecting its bottom line. In particular, Apple can cut large checks to stars and creators and avoid paying them royalties or a cut of the profits.

For example, Applecould write a $30 million or $40 million check to Robert Downey Jr. or Jackie Chan for a starring role. Hence, Apple can buy a lot of exclusive content with a readymade audience.

Uniquely, Apple can create exclusive content just for Apple TV or iTunes. Then give it away as a loss leader to buyers of its products. For instance, the only place you will see the next Robert Downey Jr. movie is on Apple TV.

On the other hand, Netflix reported $3.067 billion in cash and short-term investments on 30 September 2018. Thus, Netflix will have to pay talent in royalties or a cut of the profits.

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McDonald’s (MCD) and the Incredibly Shrinking Revenues

Second, McDonald’s now faces serious competition from supermarkets, Walmart (NYSE: WMT), convenience stores, and even Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). For example, Amazon’s Go cashierless convenience store sells a wide variety of readymade food.

In detail, Go is selling salads, sushi, sandwiches, soups, and other items. Many of those items sell for the same price as a Big Mac.

Unluckily for McDonald’s, Amazon Go is the latest entry in a crowded ready to eat market place. Kroger (NYSE: KR), in particular, has been pushing a wide variety of hot and cold ready to eat foods through its supermarkets for years.

Markedly, some Kroger Marketplace stores contain pizzerias, Asian cafes, and even cheese sandwich restaurants. Nor is Kroger alone, Amazon subsidiary Whole Foods sells an incredible variety of ready to eat foods.

This ready to eat revolution is a direct threat to McDonald’s because it offers a wide variety of consistent food at a competitive price. In addition, the ready to eat food is every bit as a fast and convenient as McDonald’s.

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Bernie Sanders wants a $15-an Hour Wage at Walmart

The $15 an hour minimum wage could have killed 20,000 temporary jobs at Amazon.

To clarify, Quartz estimates Amazon will hire 100,000 temps for holiday season 2018. In contrast Amazon hired 120,000 temporary workers for holiday seasons in 2016 and 2018.

Amazon no longer needs the 20,000 temps because of its deployment of Kiva robots in fulfillment centers, Citi analyst Mark May theorizes. In particular, Kiva robots eliminate workers who pull merchandise from the shelves.

Instead, the robots literally bring the shelves to the workers who pull and pack and the goods for shipment. Quartz claims, Amazon cut the time needed to pull and pack an order from an hour to 15 minutes with robots.

To be fair to Bernie, Amazon would have deployed the robots with or without the $15 wage. In fact, the robots could have made the $15 wage possible by reducing the size of the labor force. Amazon is paying workers more because it has fewer of them thanks to robots.

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Ten Practical Solutions to Voter Suppression

Stop electing state secretaries of state and other officials who oversee voter registration and elections.

Make the officials in charge of elections and voter registration nonpolitical.
Create a federal ID card for all legal residents and citizens of the United States.
Implement automatic voter registration nationwide.
Allow voters to vote at any polling place.
Implement mail-in voting nationwide
Make upgrades of election technology mandatory
Establish an Election Security Agency
Create a secure digital voting system
We must get Serious about fighting Voter Suppression

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Volkswagen plans to build 50 Million Electric Cars

Volkswagen AG (VWAPY) plans to build 50 million electric vehicles (EVs) within the next few years. In particular, VW claims to have enough batteries to power 50 million EVs.

“We have bought batteries for 50 million vehicles,” Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess supposedly claims.The German language publication Automobilwoche reported the claim. Unfortunately, I have not located an English language translation of that interview.

Unfortunately, news reports did not say where Volkswagen is getting the batteries. However, Electrek reports that Volkswagen’s battery factory in Braunschweig or Brunswick, can produce 500,000 battery packs for electric vehicles a year. Thus, Volkswagen is already beating Tesla at its own game.

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Should America be Taxing Philanthropy?

Why we should Tax Big Philanthropy

Taxes exist to finance necessary government services and functions. In a civilized society the common good must take precedence over the whims of the elite.

Not all philanthropy is beneficial or useful.

Philanthropists rarely donate more than a tiny portion of their wealth.

Philanthropy is rarely adequate to deal with the needs or problems of modern society. For example, Bezos’ $2 billion will do little to reduce homelessness.

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Is MOAC (MOAC) a Valuable Cryptocurrency?

MOAC’s answer to the blockchain scalability problem is MicroChains. A MicroChain is a sidechain, a less-encrypted blockhain alternative.

A blockchain’s capacity and speed is limited because of all the encryption. Sidechains offer higher speeds and greater capacities because they build them with less encryption.

MOAC is trying to solve the scalability problem with a layer of MicroChains or sidechains built into its blockchain. Thus, a business using MOAC could theoretically send out hundreds of invoices or accept payments at once via the MOAC MicroChain.

For instance, a gaming platform could accept payments from dozens or hundreds of players once with MOAC MicroChains. A utility could bill thousands of customers at once using a MOAC MicroChain.

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Amazon (AMZN) owns Retail, can Anybody Compete?

It should scare brick and mortar retailers because Amazon Go could generate profits similar to Amazon itself.

For instance, Amazon Go could generate up $2,700 a square foot in annual sales per square foot, Brick meets Click, claims. In contrast, Costar estimated Walmart’s annual sales-per-square foot was $325 in 2018.

Thus Amazon Go’s sales per square foot could be seven times those of Walmart’s. However, the Apple Store’s sales per square foot were nearly twice Amazon Go’s at $5,546 in 2017.

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Does Dogecoin (DOGE) Have any Value?

It appears the only demand for Dogecoin (DOGE) is from speculators who buy it because the price is high.

Therefore, Dogecoin is caught in a speculative bubble. A speculative bubble occurs when speculators drive up the price of an altcoin by buying more and more.

Bubbles are unsustainable because the only thing driving up the price is the speculators. If the speculators stop buying the price collapses and the bubble bursts.

Hence, Dogecoin (DOGE) looks like a classic speculative bubble. For instance, I think the picture of a cute dog on the Dogecoin website drives at least part of its value.

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Five Myths about Stablecoins

“When an investor focuses on short-term investments; he or she is observing the variability of the portfolio, not the returns – in short, being fooled by randomness.” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Therefore stablecoins, like most cryptocurrencies are a purely speculative asset. Stablecoin speculators bet that these assets will work as advertised. If stablecoins fail the speculators will lose their money.
Thus, stablecoins are an inherently risky asset based on unproven technologies and business models. Thus only people who can afford to lose money should buy stablecoins.

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