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David Arthur Walters

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Joe the Plumber changes trades
By David Arthur Walters
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2009
Last edited: Saturday, October 10, 2009
This short story is rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent stories by David Arthur Walters
· I Was A Frustrated Newspaper Columnist
· I Was A Crack Adding Machine Operator
· Whom God Hears
· On The Immortal Story
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           >> View all 156
Tax on $250,000 is no longer a problem!

I had not spoken to Joe the Plumber since the 2008 presidential campaign. When I called upon him for this interview at his ranch-style home in the suburbs, his general demeanor had greatly changed since then, from rational diffidence to irrational exuberance.

 

“Joe, I must say, you look great.”

 

“I feel even better than I look, Dave.”

 

“And why is that? The economy has tanked even worse, and you were already very worried back then. You thought you could not make it in the plumbing business if Barrack Obama were elected and you made over $250,000, because he said he would only cut taxes for people making less than that.”

 

“Things are good for me now. I took the money I had stashed away in my basement safe to the bank and deposited it so the bank could lend it out and save the economy. I reported the income to the IRS and paid my taxes. I sold what was left of my plumbing business, the trucks and tools, and bought myself a trading station. I netted over $250,000 in January, and have matched that already in the third week of February. To be honest, I don’t mind paying a little more in taxes if I make this kind of money.”

 

“You bought a trading station?”

 

“Yeah, I saw an ad on television one night, called the number and signed up. It’s the best thing I ever did. My money machine is making me a fortune. I was planning on defaulting on my mortgage so the government could reduce my interest rate and cram the loan balance down, but now I could just pay the whole damn thing off if I wanted to, but, hey, I won’t, because I’m leveraging my cash, you know. I’m trading million-dollar contracts now. We’ll move out of this dump soon enough, anyway, buy a foreclosed mansion in Palm Beach. For now, I bought a Hummer H2 for the wife and me to tool around in, and I’ve ordered a Jag for my oldest boy so he won’t be embarrassed anymore at high school.”

 

“What securities would you recommend right now?”

 

“The ones that go up and down the most are best. Only the ups and downs matter, not the securities themselves. Anyone making money in the market now will tell you that only fools hold onto positions for long. We make our money off churning the market – let the shark with the biggest teeth and best program win. The value of the securities people sit on goes up and down according to what a few people like us do on a daily basis, and we make or break their portfolios. I prefer not to be into anything for more than a day or two.”

 

“My, you have changed. So you’re a day trader. But Joe, that’s a dangerous business. I did some day trading myself, hoping to get out of poorly paid journalism, and I lost my savings during the Dot.com boom. All I had to do was to buy and hold a few choice Internet stocks for a couple of years to come out a winner before the bust, but I kept trading in and out of the market, and went bust during the boom.”

 

“Well, this is not the time to hold onto stocks, at least not more than a couple of weeks at a time. I play combinations of stocks and derivatives. It sounds like you were trading on your emotions. You’ve got to take emotions out of the picture – that’s what mathematical trading programs are for.”

 

“Joe, it is said that the market is so efficient, with all the information already priced into it, that the best one can do with a perfect trading program is to break even before costs, and one is bound to lose his shirt with a less than perfect strategy. And maybe he’ll lose his mind too, go home and kill his family to save them from poverty before doing himself in.”    

 

“That guy was whacko. I would go back into the plumbing business before wiping out my whole family. Right now my money machine is making money. Yes, the market might be efficient over time, but it is constantly going out of kilter a little bit here and there, and my program picks up on that, the more volatility the better….”

 

“Excuse me, Joe, if your Internet-store-bought trading program was so good, everyone would have bought one and there would not be any profit to be had as a result.”

 

“Right, but I got lucky. Mine had a bug in it.”

 

“A bug?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“What kind of bug?”

 

“I call it my gold bug. I’m keeping it to myself for now.”

 

“Okay. Do you think the market is going to bottom out and turn up soon?”

 

“When people least expect it, it will take off like a sky rocket – real estate will ramp up sharply too, so I’ll be bidding on foreclosed properties. My machine gives me time to study the market and the economy for signs of a big break out, and when I see those signs I will make a killing. The machine doesn’t call those signs – that takes intuition. I’m looking into currency and credit default swaps too, and I’m reading all of George Soros’ books – I might raise some funds from investors and become a billionaire by the next time you see me.”

 

“So you think real estate has a big future?”

 

“Real estate is the basis of all wealth. I’ll be getting myself some of that on the cheap. I don’t place much trust in material things unless they are fundamental, and the ground under our feet is the most fundamental of all things. Oh, I am hanging onto something for quite awhile – I’m buying a little gold every week, and storing it in a vault. Gold is an everlasting thing, or at least one of the oldest things on Earth, and there’s not much of it.”

 

“So you’re a gold bug too?”

 

“Not really. But it’s a hedge what with all the money being created.”

 

“Guys like Steve Forbes think money should be backed by or indexed to gold, so money would remain a constant reference.”

 

“Hey, I refer to it all the time. Money’s gotta be backed by people to be as good as gold. Gold isn’t worth anything unless people are willing to work for it, and they won’t devote too much time to it because they can’t eat it. But I’m getting me some, and some silver too – silver’s set to triple.”

 

“But if the government prints too much money, inflation will soar.”

 

“All the better that I put my winnings into the real thing, real estate, farmland somewhere out of way as well as Palm Beach. And a lot of the play money will be bet on stocks as prices go up. My machine is geared to really make a killing when the money comes off the sidelines. Anyway, Dave, I’ve said enough. I’m no expert on this stuff. I’m just a plumber, really.”

 

“Thank you for the interview, Joe.”

 


“You’re welcome, Dave.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Reviewed by m j hollingshead 10/15/2009
i'll read more







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