2012 US Election and JFK related stuff

Last time I predicted an election, I was pretty prescient. This time, I’m not so sure, and ironically this time, I am actually living in the United States, though not a resident. In this year’s election, I’m betting on Obama to win, but its going to be a close one.

My bets on Obama

Obama won the election, as predicted, and I made a pretty decent profit from Intrade.
Intrade is a good bargain. If the probability of Obama winning according to 538 is 80%, then your expected value of your return is that probability times the money you put in.

EV = expected profit * P(x)

If you buy Obama at $6.80/share, then your expected profit is 10-6.8=$3.2/share. So if Obama wins 80% of the time and you make $3.2/share, and loses 20% of the time and you lose $6.8/share, then:

($3.20/share * 80%) + (-$6.8 * 20%)= $2.56/share (expected profit) – $1.36/share (expected loss) = $1.20/share is your expected outcome.

This means if we were to run a simulation of Obama vs Romney 2012 on this day 10000 times, on average you can expect to make $1.20 per share, or 17.6% ROI. A positive expected profit is always a good thing, people.

According to FiveThirtyEight, Obama has the slight edge, with the main deciding state being Ohio. That’s one of the problems of the Electoral College system. You can win the popular vote but not the election. And what ends up happening is that a few states (Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Virginia) become much more important than other states. The result is that the election is basically in the hands of a few voters, in this case, Ohio.

There are many reasons why this is a close race, mostly because people think that Obama will raise taxes next year, his healthcare law that forces people to buy insurance, and too much government debt, along with a weak economy. Romney’s only this close because he’s not Obama, not because he has any substance in his plans.

But consider what Obama has done: He ended the war in Iraq, drawing down the war in Afghanistan as well, killed Osama Bin laden, renewed America’s standing globally, bailed out the auto industry, repealed don’t ask don’t tell, put into place healthcare and financial reform, decreased the unemployment rate to 7.8%, and cut taxes for families (payroll tax break). That’s not that bad. The economy was losing 700,000 jobs a month when he took office from Bush. Now the economy is creating jobs, albeit slowly. His healthcare law wasn’t perfect, but its a start. And the 111th congress, controlled by Democrats, was one of the most productive ever, despite all the opposition from Republicans. When you consider all that Obama has done, despite inheriting a financial recession, and creating jobs faster than Bush did in 8 years, finishing the jobs that Bush started, then don’t you think he deserves to be re-elected?

JFK-related stuff
Everyone knows I’m a big fan of JFK, and recently I watched a few documentaries and read some books related to him.

Virtual JFK
This is a great documentary and tells of how JFK prevented war on multiple occasions – in Cuba during Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile crisis, in Laos, in Vietnam in 1961, in Berlin, and withdrawing troops from Vietnam. Then LBJ took over and he was a different type of president. He wasn’t the skeptic Kennedy was. He firmly believed that Vietnam could be won, a very costly mistake for America. If JFK had been in office, he would have most likely have negotiated or withdrawn, just like he did in hte case of Laos/Cuba.

If only presidents today were like JFK – President Bush reminds me of LBJ, he went to war in Afghanistan over an attack on the U.S, but then forayed into Iraq, which had nothing to do with the attack. JFK would never had done such a thing. The Iraq War costed billions of dollars, and thousands of American lives. We need more presidents who understand that war is unnecessary and a last resort.


I highly recommend this book. If you had the chance to go back in time to stop the Kennedy Assassination – would you do it?
The first book since Da Vinci Code and Harry Potter to keep me reading night after night.

Edit: Finished the book. It was quite good, some parts very sad. Climax was too rushed though, I still recommend it.

We never know how much time we’re going to have. Our tombstones are emblazoned with three things under our names – a birth date, a death date, and a dash in the middle. We have no control over the first one – that’s mostly up to our parents. We have more control over the second one, and yet still never know when it’s going to come. But the one thing on that tombstone we do have full control over is that dash in the middle. That simple punctuation mark that sums up our entire lifetime of choices and experiences.
Let’s all strive to do alot with our dash.


JFK arguing for the same thing Obama was – 50 years ago.