Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The High Priest of the Moronic Market

Let's get it straight - capitalism, or the semblance of it we "enjoy" in the United States, is a myth. The government has been inextricably involved in the quasi-free market for decades. The last time we came close to an unfettered laissez-faire policy was at the turn of the 20th century, when capitalism gave us unbelievable squalor in tenements and a pretty good chance that you would find an ear in your hamburger meat.

That the stock market is the true indicator of our economic health is equally bogus. As someone who traded in options pits for 20 years, I can assure you that markets are manipulated every day, from small time market makers like myself, to previously powerful firms who would, in the "best interests of their customers," force the market to move adversely to a price where the company's trading desk could take the bulk of the other side of their customer's order, and not to the client's benefit, I can assure you.

I thoroughly enjoy the Obama administration going mano a mano with media stars like Rush Limbaugh and Jim Cramer. While some commentators say it is unseemly for the President to be punching down at its critics, to me it is more like a little kid knocking over an anthill. It's hysterical to watch the ants panic and skitter around until they get their bearings. In no way does it topple the dominant position of the kid.

Cramer is ridiculous. He has come out the last few days with the idea that Obama's policies are causing the single largest destruction of wealth in this nation's history. Cramer is a figment of his own making. He pumped up this economy and market all the way from 14,000 on the Dow to 9,000. Then, at 9,000 he loudly proclaimed "disaster" and told his viewers to bail. The market went down another 1,000 points and he was hailed as a visionary. "Best call I ever made," he boasted. How about the losses piled on by the people who followed you all the way down. As I say, ridiculous.
Now, Cramer says Obama must slow down and keep his eye on market quotes on Bloomberg because the stock market must be heeded. It tells the truth. Really? The constant chasing of share value is never spoken of when causes of the market decline are proffered. CEO's pumping up their stocks based on fraudulent earnings and cooked books - remember Enron, Worldcom, etc.? - were keeping an eye on the market constantly. The market rules were the blueprints from which they built their houses of cards. Now Cramer is advising Obama to do something, or not do something, based on the daily market returns. Feeding the dumb beast that is the market is not the same as a long term strategy for economic rebuilding.

Beware the false prophets, or, at least, check their scorecard. You'll find they are consistently wrong. And when you come to that discovery, you can pay them the attention they deserve. It's that quick look you give when you see a crazy person on the street incoherently talking to himself. In this case, the street you're walking on is Wall Street.

1 comment:

brain salad surgery said...

Call me simplistic, but....if Wall Street is screaming about the economic recovery plan then that must mean it is an economic recovery plan that may work for the country and not just the "street". Ego blended with entitlement takes a while to get watered down...time to waterboard some of these fiscal thieves,I say.