Shorting America

Helicopter Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, in concert with the world’s other major central banks, stepped up to the bar and took action this morning. Worldwide, markets reacted positively to this sign of spine, actually, as Alan Greenspan might say, reacted with irrational exuberance. Whatever, the DOW climbed almost 500 points and all major indices were up a similar 4%. We here at RegenAxe are proud to announce that we have scooped the rest of the blogosphere. We have here a recording of Big Ben’s helicopter as it descended low over Zuccotti Park and hovered as Wall Street traders poured out from the surrounding buildings and let their cheerful voices be heard, almost drowning out the sound of the rotor blades. OWS (no octopi today) protesters were overwhelmed by the crushing onslaught of three-piece suits.

Irrational exuberance aside, not everyone was happy with the Fed’s surprise action today. Short sellers got caught with their pants down. They awoke to find the Fed holding on to their short hairs and in short that is not a pleasant position to find oneself. To them I say too bad, cry me a river. The stock market was intended to be a mechanism for corporation to raise capital, by publicly trading shares in themselves. It was never intended to be a Las Vegas style gambling house, where parasite investors can bet against American companies, nay the United States itself. It is alright to be a bear on Wall Street, if you believe that the market is in a downturn. Markets go up and they go down that’s what markets are supposed to do. Go ahead and sell. It is not alright to act bearish, if you do so to the detriment of the marketplace and for your own perverse gain. Various brokerages have or will pay fines for selling dubious securities and then turning around and betting against their own customers. This is an example of illegal activity, but on the sliding scale of human morality there is also immoral activity and that is where I place the practice of short selling. Just because you can place the bet, does not mean you should, “22, 22, 22, …”.

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