Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Letter To A Blow-Hard Co-Worker

Dear Sir,

I am not impressed by your inventive figures regarding the estimated potential cost savings; the executives' names you are throwing around; or the highfalutin meetings and agreements you mention which, frankly, may or may not have occurred. I have only microscopic confidence in your honesty or integrity after surviving many months of your empty rhetoric and duplicitous back-stabbing. I was not a part of these meetings or agreements and I consider them laughably unrealistic. It was irresponsible, pompous and ridiculous of you to employ such tactics. I hope you have come to understand that you are an arse and your email antics today have only clearly demonstrated this fact once more.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Reverse Robin Hood

The bail-out(s) are reverse-Robin Hood: steal from the poor and give to the rich. The only reason the members of Congress who have a conscience agreed to the bail-outs was to prevent mass panic and further crashing of the stock markets. Guess what? It didn't work. The rich people panicked and crashed the stock markets anyway. Fortunately, we don't have mass unemployment yet, so the poor people who didn't have any money in the stock markets anyway are a little concerned but not panicking. Why are the stock markets bouncing all over the place? Some of the rich people are taking profits. In some cases they are buying up stocks they consider good buys because the companies are sound but their stocks tumbled along with everyone else's, in other cases they are cashing in on the "short" option, where you de-value a stock by betting that its price is going to drop. "Shorts" have been a major contributor to recent market volatility, that and panicked investors grabbing their money out of the market because they're afraid it will disappear. Fortunately, the market has been so massively over-valued that those people taking their money out of the market don't have enough places to put it, so they're turning around and sticking some of it back into the market.

A "short" sounds like a great idea to an investor who wants to profit from his understanding of companies and figuring out when one is about to fail and its stock take a dive.

They should be illegal. Why? It's not an investment. It's a bet. It doesn't add anything to the stock market, to other investors, or to companies. Owning a stock you've decided is now a bad investment and selling it is a choice to protect your investment. Maybe you decide to wait and see. Maybe you do something to try to help out the company itself. Fine.

Not owning a stock and borrowing money to bet that someone else's stock which is now worth $100 will eventually be worth $1 so you can pocket the $99 difference is a SHORT.

Why is this a problem? Have you contributed anything to the company? Have you contributed anything to the market? No. What have you done? The obvious is that you've spirited away a huge portion of the value of a given stock when the company started having trouble.

What isn't obvious is that you've undercut the company's chances for righting itself because when it's stock dips a little, investors' "stops" trip causing automatic sell-offs and as the stock price slides further, "short" positions push the price dive into free-fall.

Company by company that makes having publicly traded stock a little risky. When you have stock market crashes, "shorts" can turn what might have been a little correction of a bubble into a global financial disaster.

We need to pressure our representatives to put a stop to "shorts" and contact our media to talk about it.

Will they? It's doubtful. Our representatives' campaigns are paid for by the kinds of people like to invest in short positions. Our media are owned and run by those kinds of people, at least most of it is.

We're finally starting to get heard, though, and there's hope that we can start a thorough housecleaning on Capitol Hill in a few weeks.

If each one of us is brave enough to speak out, eventually it will become clear that they have to change their ways. If each one of us figures someone else will do it; we're too busy; we're too tired; there's no point because it's just one voice in a sea of so many - nothing will change.

Don't assume your neighbor has free time, isn't so busy and is braver than you. Speak up. Your ideas, your concerns and your vote count, too.