Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gold regulation in Obamacare

As Nancy Pelosi foretold, we continue to find out what's in Obamacare.  And it ain't good.

Thomas Sowell has discovered that Obamacare regulates gold sales.  Is this some kind of Austin Powers "smelting accident" joke that the Congressional staffers were pulling on us?

I can make a case that gold isn't a great asset, although owning gold has certainly been the right thing to do recently.  At best, gold is a store of value.  It's not a growth asset.  There's a reason it's called the "barbarous relic"; we go to great efforts to dig this yellow metal out of the ground, process it into bars and coins, and then re-bury it in vaults around the world.  Sure, some of it is made into jewelry, and there are a few industrial applications, but mostly it just gets dug up out of one hole and put back into another.

One should only own gold if one thinks there is zero real economic growth in equity earnings underneath the inflation-boosted nominal growth.  If there is any real growth at all, one should own stocks instead of gold. 

Of course I could be wrong.  And that's why Congress shouldn't regulate gold sales, particularly in a health care bill.

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