Finance Docket: Tesla’s CyberBeer, Households’ Net Worth, A Bitcoin ‘Whale’

finance-docket-800Ed. note: This article first appeared in the “Opening Bell” section of the latest Finance Docket newsletter. Enter your email below to subscribe, view the full newsletter, and access our archives.  

Two wars continue to rage. With a faction of House Republicans insisting that aid for Ukraine and Israel be separated and tied to unrelated right-wing domestic priorities like slashing the IRS budget, there is little America is advancing on a policy level to help address either conflict.

Cutting the IRS budget does not seem to be a good idea for the federal budget, as the agency just announced it had collected $160 million so far this year from rich tax cheats thanks in large part to operational funding provided by last year’s Inflation Reduction Act. Somewhat stunningly, all those back taxes were collected as a result of just 275 cases. A number of high income individuals who were targeted in the crackdown owed the IRS more than $1 million.

Sometimes when the government comes to collect it gets more than it bargained for, which is why a new report indicates that the feds have seized more than $5.5 billion worth of bitcoin from cybercriminals since 2020. This makes the U.S. government one of the biggest bitcoin “whales” in the world, capable of single-handedly moving crypto markets should it decide to make any particularly large sales.

The average American household now has a net worth of $1.06 million adjusted for inflation, according to the latest consumer finance survey from the Federal Reserve. Before you get too excited thinking about all your neighbors probably being millionaires, note that the median household is only worth $192,900; the average is being dragged way up by extremely high net worth individuals at the top.

Still, a net worth close to $200,000 is nothing to sneeze at. Don’t expect to find very many people celebrating though. Consumer confidence levels remain dismal despite months of glowing economic news.

Providing more evidence that consumers don’t know what they’re talking about when surveyed about their sentiments, electric automaker Tesla released a limited edition beverage from Buzzrock Brewing named CyberBeer, which immediately sold out. The price for this futuristic concoction of hops and barley? Only $150 for two bottles. No, I did not miss a decimal point there. I think Americans are doing fine financially when a company sells out of $75 beers in the time it takes me to walk the dog.

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Jonathan Wolf is a civil litigator and author of Your Debt-Free JD (affiliate link). He has taught legal writing, written for a wide variety of publications, and made it both his business and his pleasure to be financially and scientifically literate. Any views he expresses are probably pure gold, but are nonetheless solely his own and should not be attributed to any organization with which he is affiliated. He wouldn’t want to share the credit anyway. He can be reached at jon_wolf@hotmail.com.

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