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Our forefathers – all the way back to the cave people – at some time figured out that there must be some way to calculate their status. That is a measure to differenciate between the rich and the poor.
This was necessary to separate between those that had a cave and those that lived in the great outdoors. I do not know what they used as money, maybe it was different colored rocks, but there had to be something of value exchanged. Even colored rocks could be used as a weapon. Whatever was used I would bet that it soon became coveted by those who had less than they thought was their share.
If you have read this far you must be wondering where I am going with this. If you keep reading, maybe you will find out. The word “speculation” is not often used as a title to anything. I use it because it properly describes what caused an awful lot of the problems we face today. Problems caused, to a large extent, by speculation.
Spec’u’la’tion, according to the dictionary can have many definitions. Among them are these: “opinion based on incomplete information” and “reasoning based on incomplete information” and “risky transaction.” All of the above apply.
Two places in this country are known for being where you can make or lose a lot of money. Those are “Wall Street” and “Las Vegas, Nevada.” There is only one way to access Las Vegas, but many ways to get involved with Wall Street marketeers (misspelling on purpose). Spending your money on Wall Street is called investing. Spending your money in Vegas is called gambling. Is there a difference? Wall Street would have you believe there is.
Our government keeps telling us that the stock market is made up of small investors, ordinary citizens. If by that they mean the average working person, I think they are very wrong. Very few of us have enough money to be able to follow the cardinal rule for investing in stock, which is “use only money you can afford to lose.” That, for the most, takes working people out of the program.
Since the days of the Great Depression, many rules were put in place to control banks and brokerage houses of Wall Street. They effectively controlled any and all excesses in the manner in which investment money was handled. These regulations kept investing on an even keel. Beginning in the early 1980’s our politicians (your elected employees) began to nibble at these controls. Both parties had a hand in this deregulation, leading to the inevitable conclusion that they must have seen a value to themselves in loosening these restrictions on how your money was spent. This tearing down of the regulatory system continued through Presidential terms of members of both parties.
I am not a season investor so I did not become aware of the danger in the market until “hedge funds” began to make news with their phenomenal profits. I admit that even up to this point, I do not understand how “hedge funds” work, but I soon came to the conclusion they were not good for us, the working class. The very least you could say about them is they did not break the bank. Again, greed had out-paced common sense. These are people that are selling a product that the average person could understand only that it earned large profits. To the investor that did not care if it was legitimate or not, the manager was making more than the investor. These hedge funds morphed into something call “swaps,” a fake insurance program sold to the suckers that they sold the sub-prime mortgages to. All of these programs run on SPECULATION. Some SMART Wall Street manager took a look at the market and said to himself, “If is so then maybe I can sell it to someone.” Since most people do not understand even the language, it would not be beyond imagination that the lure of large profits would create a sale. From that point on chicanery and greed took over.
The point of this is simple. Even though you or I are not guilty, YOU DID NOT TAKE OUT A SUB-PRIME LOAN OR INVEST IN A “HEDGE FUND,” but neither did we pay attention to what these people were doing (The people that carry the largest burden of not only allowing this to happen, but they in many ways abetted this crime against the public.)
The salt in the wound is that the public is being forced to pay the bill for what has been done to the citizens of the country. This is adding insult to injury. These bank officers and fund managers, along with all sellers of sub-prime loans should face some legal charge. There is little doubt that these sellers of the loans knew what they were doing would not work. I am also convinced that some of these loan takers knew what they were doing. Greed is insidious, it burrows deep into the human brain. May I BE SO RUDE AS TO SAY THAT IT TAKES A STRONG CHARACTER TO OVERCOME THIS DESIRE CREATED IN ANY PERSON.
Many people will read this and think about the quality of the people that represent us in our governments. The problem arises in that it is difficult to look your Representative or Senator in the eye and see a bad person. It is much easier to blame in the abstract than in person. I have often said that the cure is in your vote. However, direct contact with these legislators certainly COULD NOT HURT. Letters will be read. If you get an answer, send some more. We cannot escape paying the cure, but maybe it will force these people out of their bubble. A good many of them live a life in isolation from the life that we live. We need to bring them back to reality. By the way, I do not think I have ever seen a legislator leave office poorer than when he was first elected.