After realizing that taking out a home loan meant his property was never really his, a military member sold his house to buy bitcoin instead.
This is an opinion editorial by Mickey Koss, a West Point graduate with a degree in economics. He spent four years in the infantry before transitioning to the Finance Corps.
I actually started this article nearly a year ago and had abandoned it, until the idea was reinvigorated through a Twitter Spaces with “Toxic Happy Hour.” When hearing @publordhodl speak about wealth taxes there, the implications suddenly slapped me across the face:
Wealth taxes and property taxes mean that you never truly own anything. Ever. Maybe that’s the point.
You Already Own Nothing, You Just Don’t Know It Yet
Back in 2018, my wife and I decided to leverage our VA home loan benefit to purchase a home at our new duty station. The home was in a nice pocket of a low-income area, so the price would allow us to rent the home after leaving to try and build some wealth and cash flow.
Fast forward two years: We were met with an unconscionable black swan event, and I’m not talking about COVID-19. The event I’m alluding to were the eviction moratoriums that were passed hastily during that period.
Through luck and happenstance, our tenant remained in place and kept paying rent, but had they stopped, it could have meant financial disaster. The message was clear and the precedent was set: I no longer had rights to my own property. We worked diligently to sell the home, eventually offloading it through an off-market deal to another investor, and we used the proceeds to buy that beautiful, glorious bitcoin price dip in 2021.
Came For The PGU, Stayed For The FGU
Like many in the military and the middle class alike, home ownership is an essential piece to building long-term wealth for me. For military folks especially, the frequent moves makes this difficult to do without choosing properties that can be rented out after you move.
I see the risks, however, as having increased exponentially after what happened in 2020. I don’t think it’s a viable strategy anymore.
Furthermore, even if we were to pay off properties and own them outright, we would still owe taxes every year, and what’s to stop another rent moratorium from going into effect? Or worse, a wealth tax? It really got me thinking: Do we already own nothing and just don’t know it yet?
It took me a while to understand this, but bitcoin is the only thing that I truly own. The talks of wealth taxes and eating the rich has been causing me to reevaluate this lesson.
It makes me think about the Jeff Booth thesis above, that the system cannot be fixed from within. Bitcoin is attractive at first because of the price-go-up (PGU) sensation, but you inevitably hit an inflection point; will you panic sell at the first sign of danger, or will you dig deeper through proof of work and uncover the true value?
The true value of bitcoin is not reflected in its day-to-day price fluctuations; the value of bitcoin is reflected in its ability to empower the individual. Bitcoin in self-custody is fundamentally freedom-go-up (FGU) technology. The confiscation-resistant nature enables people to exercise jurisdictional arbitrage, fleeing hostile areas without coercive exit taxes or penalties. It levels the playing field for individuals, a fact that is going to become more obvious in the coming years.
Freedom can only exist in a state where individual rights are protected, including property rights. What people fail to realize is that policies targeting the rich may inevitably be the very things preventing them from joining that group, notwithstanding that those very policies may change, targeting the individuals who once supported them.
This is first-order thinking, wrought with unforeseen consequences and unplanned impacts; an insidious envy, based on a scarcity mindset. In a world bereft of monetary scarcity, everything else becomes scarce as a result. Wealth taxes solve the problem the same way vengeance does, short-term satisfaction with potentially-dire, long-term implications.
If you think the last bull market was exciting, just wait until nation-states start passing wealth taxes. Bitcoin’s true value will be reflected in time. Until then, I will continue to stay humble and stack sats, waiting for the inevitable.
This is a guest post by Mickey Koss. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.