I often read Ben Stein’s Diary on the American Spectator – and they are great little pieces of nostalgia and celebration of the small things in life that should be enjoyed. Ben is at that time of life were he has the ability to sit back and “smell the roses” as he gives thanks for each day. A great way to live. What I enjoyed about a recent column wasn’t the column itself, but rather the postscript.
From Far Away From the Panic.
A LITTLE POSTSCRIPT. I notice that the papers and the Internet talk about the big losses on the stock markets yesterday as being based on "...waves of investor panic..." Nonsense. The selling is done by billionaire traders and immense hedge funds and high frequency traders who seek to make money by selling, then tricking others into selling even more, then covering their shorts at lower prices. This is not Ma and Pa Kettle calling their broker and selling their 1000 shares of AT&T. It is cynical, calculated manoeuvring by cold, clever people. It isn't illegal, but you buy into it at your peril. These people are not the ordinary investors' friend. They will use any and every excuse and rationale to "explain" their behaviour, but it's all about trying to outwit the next guy.
To quote Patton in the movie Patton, it's "… not about dying for your country. It is about making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country." That's the attitude of the traders. They're not bad people. They're just trying to get rich quick, but that's not illegal.. But don't believe this nonsense about Wall Streeters' "panic." They're the bosses and they're not panicked at all. They're making money while YOU are panicked.
Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.