Nuclear power, debt and burritos

It's been that sort of week.

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A worker with a clipboard stands in front of a nuclear energy facility

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I don't need to tell you that social media can be an awful cesspit of mistruth, abuse and algorithmic manipulation. (Exhibit A: My name being used and my video being overdubbed in an attempt to scam people!)

But it can also be a great place to interact with people of good faith from right across the political and ideological spectrum.

As an example, I'd been wrestling with so many contradictory claims and counter-claims on Australia's energy future (this was before the recent announcement by the Opposition Leader… I have no time for the politics of this!), and tweeted that I had come to a point where I thought that nuclear power might have to be part of the power mix, despite my misgivings.

And thanks to the good graces of my followers, climate activist (and Climate 200 political funding body convener) Simon Holmes à Court was tagged in a reply.

He told me why he thought I was wrong, and a conversation ensued… that ended up with Simon agreeing to be a guest on our podcast, The Good Oil. (It's officially 'The Good Oil with Scott Phillips', because our podcast partners pointed out there were already a lot of pods called 'The Good Oil', but it always makes me cringe!).

And why am I telling you all this? Well, two reasons.

One, social media can be a pretty decent place for most (not all) of us if you cultivate a positive approach and some quality followers. 

Second, and more importantly in this context, we recorded that episode this week, and I reckon if you're interested in the energy future of the country, you'll get a lot out of having a listen to our conversation. I did!

You can find the episode here on Apple Podcasts, or just search 'The Good Oil with Scott Phillips' on your favourite podcast player.

—–

Speaking of public policy, the announcement this week was just the latest in a long list of the many and varied ways that our governments have found to spend taxpayers' money.

Now, let me say that I'm very much in favour of government spending where there are goods or services (including safety nets) that aren't adequately or better provided by the private sector.

But we heard this week that on top of the Federal Government debt heading to $1 trillion, the combined state debts are heading to $800 billion, with no signs of slowing down.

And that at a time when the RBA is trying to slow the economy!

It is, I hope you'll agree, deeply irresponsible. And perhaps worse, none of the various oppositions in those parliaments are making any signs of wanting to hold the incumbents accountable, or to promise more fiscal responsibility, so there's not much hope of change at the political level, whichever way the electoral winds blow.

No, I'm not really surprised. I do remember a time, though, when both sides of politics actually considered responsible Budget management an important part of governing in the national interest.

And if you're wondering why it matters… we have to pay the interest on that debt; money that can't be spent on other things. And the higher the debt goes, the riskier our balance sheet becomes, and the less we're financially prepared to handle the next crisis.

Oh sure, we can just print money… but that's kinda part of what got us into this inflationary mess. Actions, unfortunately, have consequences.

—–

The other money printing? That might just be the existing shareholders of burrito chain Guzman y Gomez (ASX: GYG), now an ASX-listed company, who've printed some very nice profits by taking the company public.

From an IPO price of $22 (50% higher than Morningstar publicly said it was worth), the shares closed at $30. That's… a spicy burrito (sorry!) if ever there was one. How spicy? The company now has a market cap of $3 billion and a profit last year of $3 million.

I'll save you the maths.. That's a P/E of 1,000 times!

Now, investors are never buying last year's profits – we're looking forward and hoping to harvest future profits. The company is forecasting a decent lift next year, and has ambitious growth plans well past that.

This might be stating the obvious… but it'll need to!

Can it get there? Maybe. I do love the company's food, but I'm not sure this is a risk/reward worth chasing. It wouldn't be the first company to blow away expectations… or the first one to leave investors feeling as flat as a tortilla!

Have a great weekend. 

Fool on!

Motley Fool contributor Scott Phillips has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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