Wall Street: Both Goldmine and Carnival
edited: Sunday, April 12, 2009
By Bill Hudley
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Sunday, April 12, 2009
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Investors are probably more aware today that they need to use extreme caution when parting with their money. No one is required to be more responsible.
There is no other place on this planet as sophisticated and resourceful where you can make big money and get fleeced without leaving your armchair. The money craze on Wall Street has called attention to a new era for investors.
"Yessiree, step right up and play the game everybody loves! You sir, yes you with the big bear tee shirt. This is your lucky day! I'll tell you what I'm going to do for you. Give me a half million dollars and I will guarantee that your investment earns twenty percent per year EVERY YEAR for the next five years and longer. Trust me.
(Pitch continued...) "This investment is one of a kind and we only offer it to special investors who seek above average returns. I'm giving you our confidential brochure documenting the returns over the past ten years. As you can clearly see from the charts and the sincere look in my eye (doesn't matter which one), this is a phenomenal opportunity backed by our proven history of outperforming the markets."Now, who in their right mind would fall for a scam like the one described above. You? If not you, who?
The shell game on Wall Street has been marketed in various forms.If you didn't quite like the cologne worn by the scam artist offering you twenty percent on your money, you probably gave a huge fraction of your assets to a giant institution brandishing a recognizable logo for the last fifty years. I'm referring to Merrill Lynch. You sounded like a bug snug in a rug when you told your house guests or close friends (OR ME), "I'm with Merrill."
For decades, Merrill Lynch posed as a monolith owning a legacy of strength and integrity.Who knew the benchmark of investment banking was so reckless while strutting its bullish messages in more tabloids than any financial institution in the world? I had only a small clue, going back twenty years; but I had no idea the company was casting a shadow across the markets that ten times larger than its true size. Imagine, a global investment bank being swallowed up by a bank (Bank Of America, NYSE: BAC)! Think about that for a couple of minutes.
Being Rich Has New Meaning
"The rich get richer" is an old adage that we have all heard for most of our lives. Forget it. These days the rich are becoming more corrupt by the hour, losing their integrity to the lure of money an preying on investors that need the money the most. It's about time we all learned that any service or series of transactions that require new capital to be successful is a virtual Ponzi scheme!
Roughly three decades ago, Woody Allen described a stockbroker as someone who invested your money until there was none left. In the past decade, distributions of wealth have been a one-way system that benefits corporate executives more than any other class in the United States; and we taxpayers are now asked to take a flying leap of faith in hopes that our government will put the brakes on the inequities of Wall Street. Unfortunately, it hasn't happened, yet.
While Democrats and Republicans debate who's right and who's wrong, the swindler's beat goes on. Unjustifiable use of company jets, lavish junkets to softer climes and additional perks to the best dressed executives will continue until President Obama finds a way to pull the plug. In my view, he is somewhat intimidated by the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank. Who wouldn't be? Those two bureaucrats began hobnobbing on Capitol Hill before Mr. Obama left law school. In my opinion, they represent the monkey wrench (think pork) in the recovery program.
I believe no one doubts that our greatest commodity is hope.
Government, being what it is, will grind through waste to achieve the economic restoration this country needs, albeit in a much longer time frame than actually necessary. Supposedly, the buck will stop at the Oval Office, and hard-nosed decisions from the top will be exercised.I think of the solution to our financial crisis can be characterized a a gigantic jigsaw puzzle.
The banks have to be reclassified and refurbished, jobs must be secured and looting of investors' pockets must cease, all within a singe time frame. Progress in these areas has to be achieved quickly in order to keep the glimmer of hope alive around the world.
If there was ever an opportunity for a U.S. President to be lionized as a the champion of America's future, now is the time - a feat that would be registered as one more magnificent moment in history.