The chips are down

Congress is poised to give a fat handout to the computer chip industry, I see. Everybody in power is babbling about it, from the President down to the lowliest rookies on Capitol Hill. Even Oregon's governor, Killer Kate, is on the bandwagon.

So I thought it might be a good time to see if Ron Wyden's wife, Nancy Bass Wyden, is still heavily into the stock of Nvidia, a Silicon Valley designer and manufacturer of mega-chips used for gaming, artificial intelligence, and cryptocurrency mining. Based on the reports that her husband files with the Senate ethics authorities, she's still into it, big time, but looking at ye olde Yahoo Finance, I see that the stock has really taken a beating.

The last time I wrote about this, last August, Nvidia was trading at around $194 a share. It shot up to nearly $334 by the end of November, but then the tanking began. By year end, it traded at $294, and yesterday it closed at just over $165. Ouch!

The decline makes sense. Not only has the stock market in general been plummeting, but the crypto crash has probably hurt just about anybody connected with that "industry." And I suspect the Wall Street types aren't betting on fast growth in gaming during the feared recession.

And so I've got to downgrade the value of Bass Wyden's piece of the Nvidia pie. My last guess was somewhere between $750,000 and $1.5 million. Now I'm thinking it's more like between $650,000 and $1.3 million. Still a tidy profit indeed from what she put into it (somewhere between $350,000 and $950,000), but nothing like it was eight months ago.

Ah, but now a juicy federal subsidy is coming, courtesy of guess who. That, youngsters, is an obscene conflict of interest that shouldn't be allowed. Congresspeople and their spouses and dependents should not be trading in individual company stocks. But as one wag recently put it, it's a complicated issue, because the members of Congress like doing it so much.

Do you know who else owns more than a million dollars' worth of Nvidia stock, plus another million-plus worth of options to buy Nvidia stock at $100 a share? Take a guess. I'll give you a hint. His wife is the Speaker of the House.


  1. Congressional corruption is now endemic. As the saying goes, "the genie has left the bottle and there is no stuffing him back in", nobody should expect Congress to pass any laws restricting their abilities to trade securities as that would be against their own self-interests. Never gonna happen.


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