Thursday, May 01, 2003

What does a Libertarian ... I'll ask one if I see one. Actually, I am (in theory) of the mindset that the market should sort this out. Even if the government should get involved, is a couple hundred mil really going to be a disincentive for companies that shift that kind of cake daily? In any case, I'm a firm believer in the caveat emptor school of responsibility. I'm sorry if some folks out there don't realize that when they get a call from their "broker" (ahem, "salesman") humping a stock, the broker isn't doing it because he loves you and wants you to be rich. He's doing it because his boss told him to move 50,000 shares of Xyz Corp. or his bonus this year will be fractional. That's life with the big boys. As long as they've got you on the line, they're gonna sell you their product (in this case, the teetering IPOs they just underwrote). The people who got "burned" must be the people who keep telemarketers in business by saying "yes" to every stupid pitch that jingles "O Sole Mio" on their Motorola. One writer made an extended comparison (in another context) to the "Whiffle Life": there are people who really believe that everything they do should be as risk-free as the whiffle ball. Everything needs to be padded by extensive, nerfy government paperwork. At some point, the market will catch up. You'll know when investments are risk-free when the Dow goes up about 2 points every year forever.

Sidebar: This reminds me of the people who lost their retirement shirts in Enron. Sure, Enron was doing shady stuff, but if you have your nestegg tied up, undiversified, in the in-house stock of a business that makes its money in speculation, maybe you needed a lesson.

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