- November 1, 2014: Vol. 1, Number 2

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An Ode to Ostrich Farms and Llama Ranches: R.I.P.

by Ben Johnson

It startles me every time I see it or think about it.

No, not the daily roller coaster ride otherwise known as the stock market. Specifically I mean my still-pristine copy of the March 1983 issue of National Tax Shelter Digest.

Waaaaay back in the day, I was just starting out in the world of business journalism as a lowly associate editor of this esteemed publication, for all of about a year as I recall. Raise your hand if you remember — or have at least read about —the go-go 1980s and the era of “if it moves, we can turn it into a limited partnership.”

Today’s generation might opine something to the effect of “LOL” and “OMG” at the notion, but back then, the investment world was testing itself, as well as the bounds of financial regulation. It wasn’t rocket science. It wasn’t even sane (upon hindsight). It was often nothing more than a tax shelter dodge/frenzy.

Oh, the times they were a-different. Consider that in the early

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