Trading in healthcare reform, or Chrystal Bowersox

It’s just too agonizing to pay attention to what’s happening with healthcare reform this week – it’s in, it’s out; the public option is back, no it’s not. . . so I’ve taken refuge in numbers.

I discovered Intrade sometime during the bleak years of the Bush administration. It didn’t help me much with John Kerry, but it was quite cheerful about the prospects of taking back the House in 2006.

Intrade is like legalized political gambling – you bet on stuff either happening or not happening, and when whatever happens happens, you make money on the spread between what you bet and 100% (got that?). It’s like a big stock market of opinion.

So if more people think healthcare reform is going to pass, for example, the price goes up. If something happens to make them think it won’t, the price goes down.

I just wish I’d decided to take my refuge yesterday, when the price hit 70. I don’t know what happened overnight, but it’s now at 35!

So let’s just move on to the next contract in Intrade, to the next most important thing in the world: the chances of Chrystal Bowersox winning American Idol. Now I have to confess I’ve never ever seen American Idol, but if I bet right now, and she wins, I win 61 cents for every contract I buy.

I’m going to have to start watching to see what my chances are. It’s got to be better than the other stuff on Fox.

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