James Altucher gives me a headache, but I guess that’s part of his brand as he uses his ‘wild and crazy entrepreneur who eschews convention but hobnobs with insiders’ image to sell his newsletters and books — for a while I felt like I was seeing his bobbing, wild-haired head in my dreams, trying to get me to pony up $1,000 for some retread blather about cryptocurrencies.
But, of course, we don’t judge stock ideas by the people who promote them — we just try to dig through the hype and get you some answers, so you can think for yourself without the pressure of an aggressive sales pitch for, in this case, a $2,000 no-refunds microcap newsletter that he calls Altucher’s Top 1% Advisory.
So what’s he teasing with this “Electronic Police” ad? Here’s a little taste:
“This Futuristic Crime-Fighting Technology Is About To Land In Your Neighborhood
“Sparking a Potential $27 Billion Wave of Wealth as Early as November 13…
“No more murders…
“No more mass shootings.
“No more drive-bys or carjackings.
“No more home invasions or child abductions…
“Like a scene from the 2002 movie Minority Report, this tiny crime detector I’m calling ‘electronic police’ can stop crimes before they happen.”
So, for those who don’t think we’re close enough to a dystopian “give up all your privacy for a false sense of security” nightmare society yet, apparently there’s more!
Altucher says that 90 cities have deployed what he calls these “AI police units,” and he says the opportunity here makes the huge gains from Axon (AAXN) look like peanuts — if you don’t know Axon, you might remember their old name, Taser… they company supplemented their electronic stun gum business by selling police body cameras, and saw that business and their video evidence “cloud” archiving become so big that they changed their name (he cites a 25,971% gain on Axon, and most folks probably wouldn’t have sat through the 90% drop the stock had from 2005 to 2011 or so… but the more recent performance is certainly phenomenal, with a 150% gain in just the past year).
And apparently there’s some immediate political connection, though it sounds very tenuous:
“Trump is about to pour buckets of money into a plan that could include the infrastructure to make ‘Electronic Police’ a reality.
“Trump has a $1.5 billion plan to make America safe again”
That seems to just be a play on fears, from what I can tell — and on uninformed and manipulated public perception… violent crime and property crime have both been on a long-term decline for most of my life, peaking during the crack cocaine epidemic in the early 1990s and dropping for 25 years, but the public perception of that trend is almost always wrong (the per-capita crime rate has fallen ~75% in 25 years, but for almost all of that time a solid majority of Americans, typically 60-70%, have said that they think there is more crime in the US than there was in the previous year).
But anyway, let’s not let facts get in the way of a good story — “law and order” and “fear of crime” have both been driving factors in American society for at least 50 years, and probably far longer, and that has led to a lot of spending on security… some of which has made some folks very wealthy.
More from Altucher:
“With the sweep of his pen, Trump has set in motion one of the greatest revolutions of the next 100 years…
“A massive plan to improve our nation’s infrastructure.
“And what I expect to happen will change how we fight crime forever, save millions of lives and rain buckets of money on early investors.Are you getting our free Daily Update
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“It will spark a brand-new era of crime fighting…
“And send the price of the one tiny company behind it into the stratosphere.”
So apparently this connection between the company has something to do with that “infrastructure” spending that has been promised by both parties for several years but not actually materialized… at least not in any dramatic way that I’m aware of. Trump’s “blueprint” for the current year’s budget, which is different from what was actually passed by Congress, did envision a couple hundred billion for infrastructure over the next decade, though that’s mostly going to be “fix our old roads and bridges”, and the security stuff was mostly focused on the opioid crisis and border security, from what I can tell. $1.5 billion ain’t much on the federal level, though, so there could easily be something of that size on the crime-fighting front that I’m unaware of.
Though really, police spending is generally not federal — so if this is a city-by-city thing, as implied by the hints about Baltimore and Chicago and New York at the top of the ad, the President will have little impact unless he proposes to start supporting local police forces directly in some way… his initial budget priorities went the other way, either trying to cut off local aid for “sanctuary” cities or simply to stop the limited federal support for police hiring that has been in place for 25 years or so (part of that longstanding ‘get more police on the streets’ priority that was put in place during the crack cocaine epidemic).
So what else do we learn about the stock Altucher is teasing? He gives an example:
“It was a Tuesday morning in Fresno, almost a year ago today.
“A crazed gunman going by the nickname ‘Black Jesus’ opened fire in a Catholic Charities parkin