whitney tilson

Witney Tilson is willing to bet $25,000 that Barack Obama will win the election. Tilson recently endorsed Barack Obama for President in a lengthy ‘doctoral thesis’ sent to email subscribers. Whitney Tilson plans to give the 25,000 to a charity for charter schools in the New York area. Tilson believes that people who believe Mitt Romney will win are letting emotion get ahead of logic. On a side note, Tilson never explained why he thinks Mitt Romney is a neo-con, while Tilson supports Obama’s policies such as drone strikes across the globe, the war in Afghanistan, and the war in Libya. Below is Tilson in his own words.

With everyone focused on the election tomorrow, let’s have some fun and raise money for charity. I am willing to match up to $25,000 worth of bets on the outcome of the presidential race. My proposal is simple: if Barack Obama wins (my bet), you donate what you bet to my favorite charity, KIPP charter schools in NYC (www.kippnyc.org; I’ve been on the board for more than a decade), and if Mitt Romney wins (your bet), I’ll make a donation of the same amount to your favorite charity.

If you’re on my email list, I’ll take your word: just email me by midnight tonight the amount you want to wager (between $500 and $5,000 please) and your charity, I’ll email you back to confirm. First come, first serve!

Full disclosure: the majority of national and swing state polls as well as every betting site shows that Barack Obama is favored anywhere from 2:1 (www.intrade.com) to 6:1 (http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com), and I’m only offering a straight-up bet. Thus, statistically speaking, I think I’m making a high-probability, high-expected-value wager (I far prefer that on Wednesday you will make a donation to my favorite charity than vice versa!). But as John Mauldin points out in his latest essay, in every market there are plenty of people who are willing to make seemingly low-expected-value bets, perhaps because they think they have better information or have analyzed it better or historical patterns no longer apply – or are simply letting emotion substitute for logic.

If think Mitt Romney is likely to win, here’s an opportunity to put your money where your mouth is. If you’re right, your favorite charity will benefit, and if you’re not, you’ll be making a donation to another great charity.