Tag Archives: Wall Street

This won’t happen, but it’s worth asking for it

We need to see the stock trades of President Trump and his family in the month of February.

This is a tweet fired off just a day ago by David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and, yes, a noted critic of Donald John Trump.

Frum has raised a legitimate issue with regard to the pandemic virus and the scandal that has erupted in the U.S. Senate regarding senators who sold stock in companies in which they were invested on the eve of the stock market collapse.

You see, the senators allegedly had inside knowledge of what was about to happen, so they — again, allegedly — dumped the stock at a huge profit before it lost a ton of its value.

They were engaging in happy talk about the market and everyone’s retirement accounts. Except they allegedly knew the bottom was about to collapse on the market’s value.

Hmm. Didn’t Donald Trump also engage in that kind of low-balling of the coronavirus pandemic threat? Um, yeah, I believe he did.

Hence, we have David Frum raising the pertinent issue regarding the Trump family’s investments. The public’s ability to see such activity is likely to be fought hammer and tong by Trump, just as he has fought like hell to keep his tax returns away from public review.

Dow plunges … and they still clap?

It happened this week yet again.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average collapsed more than 1,100 points Monday, the largest single-day point drop in the history of Wall Street.

I commented on this strange reaction back in 2009. Here’s what I wrote then:

Clapping for what?

The earlier blog post questioned why those financial gurus standing in the balcony overlooking the trading floor were clapping after a measly 250-point drop in the Dow average.

Another set of financial types and perhaps a celeb were standing on that balcony clapping and grinning as if the Dow had gained 1,100-plus points rather than lost it.

I must conclude that they might know something about this latest financial collapse that the rest of us laypeople don’t understand.

Perhaps they foresaw what would happen today, that the Dow would gain back about half of what it lost Monday. The DJIA finished up a little more than 560 points today.

I’ll take it, folks. I also will accept that the podium cheering section had good reason to clap and grin today.

Where are the words to calm our fears, Mr. President?

I probably shouldn’t go there, but what the hey … I will anyway.

Donald J. Trump spoke to an Ohio crowd today to boast about the nation’s economic success. According to Politico, the president instead delivered a bitchy, meandering speech detailing his grievances at Democrats.

At the very same time he was delivering his remarks, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was plummeting more than 1,100 points in the largest single point decline in stock market history.

To be clear, though, the size of the point drop isn’t as critical as the percentage of decline from the total market value.

The president has made lots of noise about how well the markets have performed since he took office. And they have! Does he deserve all the credit? No. The tax cuts, though, have played well in the minds of investors.

Today, though, was a time for the president to offer some words of wisdom about what the market was doing. I don’t mean to suggest he should couch it in some sort of personal sob story about how much money he lost while the market was plummeting.

It’s just he keeps reminding us of his Ivy League education, how well he did in the classroom, how much he learned about how to build his “amazing” business.

I keep waiting for some evidence of compassion, some ability to connect with his constituents at a level that gives them comfort that the head of state is in charge and that he’s going to do whatever he can to protect us against financial calamity.

If the president would simply stop the boasting when the winds are blowing at his back and deliver some assurance when it smacks us all in the face …

Market craters: Time for calming words from POTUS

Wall Street took a header today.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted more than 600 points, signaling — possibly, maybe, perhaps — a new Black Friday.

I get that one day does not portend a stock market crash by itself.

However, I am wondering if the president of the United States is capable of offering some calm words of assurance rather than assigning blame for what happened today to millions of Americans’ retirement portfolios.

Ours took a beating today. I am not worried irrationally about our retirement future based on the market’s woes.

Donald Trump has spent a lot of emotional energy of late boasting about how Wall Street has reached record highs in record time. He has taken all sorts of credit for the market performance. He deserves some of it, although millions of the rest of us understand that the market has been climbing steadily during the past eight or nine years after it went through a serious crash to trigger the Great Recession of 2008-09.

Here’s what I would like to hear from the president: I would prefer he would provide some calm words of assurance. I mean, he is a self-described business whiz who’s made zillions of dollars. If he has any knowledge of what transpired today — and if it is a harbinger of more to come — then let’s hear it.

Talk to us, Mr. President, but speak to us like a grownup.

‘Brexit’ vote might not vaporize our money after all


I might have been a bit too quick to push the panic button in the wake of the British vote to leave the European Union.

My fear — which wasn’t exactly what I predicted would happen — was that my retirement account was going to fly out the window as investors bailed on stocks.

The Brits’ vote to leave the EU did cause some momentary panic. It seems to have lasted a couple of days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped about 800 points in those two days.

Then came a significant rally over the past two days. The Dow gained back nearly 600 of those points.

I had sent my financial adviser an e-mail message and implored her to “please tell me my retirement account is not going to vaporize.”

She called me right away. Her words were encouraging. Don’t worry, she told me. Your funds aren’t tied to the British markets. “You’re going to be fine,” she said.

It turns out — at least in the immediate term — that she is right.

As for the other pledge I made publicly — about not wanting to look at my retirement account for the next good while — I’m going to stay the course.

I might not look at it for the rest of the year. Then again, will I be able to resist opening the quarterly statements the investment firm sends us — the next one of which will arrive in the mail probably one day next week?

Oh, what a test of my internal fortitude.

I keep thinking of what the actor Danny Glover kept saying during those “Lethal Weapon” films … about being “too old for this s***.”

Brits to leave EU … and it will hit us hard


I might remember this day for a while.

I woke up, turned on my computer to catch up with the overnight news and learned that Great Britain voted to leave the European Union, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced his intention to resign, Wall Street took a dive … and a leading American politician who advocated all this mayhem might benefit politically in the United States.

Holy retirement fund, Batman!

The Brits decided they’d had enough of their economic marriage with the rest of Europe. So they bailed. Cameron staked his political reputation on the vote; it went badly for him and so he’s moving out of 10 Downing Street.

My retirement account is going to shed a lot of value today and perhaps for the next good while. Sheesh!

But here’s the element of this story that might underscore perfectly the weirdness of the American presidential election season.

Republican candidate Donald J. Trump — who at this very moment is touring a golf course resort he owns in Scotland — said he wanted the Brits to leave the EU. His Democratic opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton — along with President Obama — pitched for the Brits to stay in. Trump argued for nationalism in Britain; Clinton and Obama argued for economic stability.

Who might gain from this chaos? Trump.

“They’re angry over borders. They’re angry over people coming into the country and taking over, and nobody even knows who they are,” Trump told reporters after his helicopter landed in Turnberry, Scotland. “They’re angry about many, many things.”


Why does that matter here? It matters, according to Trump, because he says he’s angry about the same things. How he connects the EU situation with U.S. domestic policy, though, remains a mystery to me.

He also said that Clinton “misread” the mood of the British, which I guess in Trump’s view is another strike against the Democratic nominee-to-be.

It’s going to take some time for all this sink in. The markets will go wild and retirement accounts — just like those my wife and I are hoping to live on while we enjoy our “Golden Years” — will bleed heavily as investors push every panic button they can find.

Then we’ll get to listen to a major-party presidential candidate take “credit” for being on the winning side of a losing argument.

Crazy, man. Simply crazy.

Bernie turns from nice to nasty


Bernie Sanders once vowed never to speak ill of his chief rival for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

He said he wanted to stay on the high road. He barely mentioned her by name while stumping across places like Iowa and New Hampshire.

That was then. Today he went straight after Hillary Clinton, contending in New York that the former secretary of state, U.S. senator — from New York! — and first lady isn’t “qualified” to become the 45th president of the United States.

Why is Clinton now unqualified to hold the nation’s highest office? According to the Vermont independent-turned-Democratic senator, her acceptance of money from “big Wall Street banks and other establishment political action groups makes her no longer qualified.

Hmm. That’s an interesting accusation.

You see, from my perspective, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the most qualified candidate — among the five people in either party still seeking the presidency — to become the next president.

She served several terms as first lady as Arkansas; she became first lady of the nation for two terms and had a profound influence on her husband’s rather successful presidency; she was elected twice to the U.S. Senate from New York; she served as secretary of state during President Obama’s first term.

Surely, there have been other candidates over the years who’ve brought more sparkling resumes to the Oval Office. I keep thinking that of the presidents who served in my lifetime, the one with the glossiest history was George H.W. Bush. World War II fighter pilot, CIA director, member of Congress, U.N. ambassador, Republican Party chairman, vice president? The man had chops to be president.

As for Sanders’ own qualifications, well, he’s marginally so.

But the tone of this Democratic primary campaign has changed dramatically.

Now the nation is paying attention.

That’s the way it goes. Negativity works.


Hey, Hillary … take a look at what these guys are saying


Hillary Rodham Clinton may be the inevitable Democratic Party presidential nominee.

It’s not a done deal just yet, given Sen. Bernie Sanders’s big wins this weekend in Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. Clinton, though, still has the big lead in delegates and the primary campaign is heading into more Clinton-friendly territory.

But here’s the thing, according to Bill Moyers (yes, that Bill Moyers) and Michael Winship: She remains captive to the big-money interests that are poisoning the political system. It’s time for Clinton to stand up, spit into her palms and then do what she needs to do, they say, which is call for the immediate resignation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

They ask a valid question: Is she the candidate of the past or of the future?

If it’s the latter, then she needs to demonstrate it. Forcefully.

These two figures — Emmanuel and Schultz — represent what’s wrong with the Democratic Party, say Moyers and Winship.

Emmanuel’s tenure as mayor has been rocked by controversy. The shooting death of an African-American teenager, Laquan McDonald, went unreported for months. Laquan was shot to death by Chicago police while he was strolling down the street. He presented no weapon; his hands were in the air. A cop shot him multiple times dead in the street.

Emmanuel then took responsibility for the shooting, given that he’s the mayor and the chief of police answers to him.

But before he became mayor he was a three-term Illinois congressman and White House chief of staff for President Obama. He is soaked in corporate money. Emmanuel, Moyers and Winship write, “chaired the fundraising Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (calling on his Wall Street sources to get in on the gravy by electing so-called New Democrats over New Deal Democrats), and soon was back in the White House as Obama’s chief of staff. There, he infamously told a strategy meeting of liberal groups and administration types that the liberals were ‘retarded’ for planning to run attack ads against conservative Democrats resisting Obamacare. Classy.”

He’s a longtime ally of Hillary and Bill Clinton, which is why he continues to loom so large on the Democratic Party landscape.

Schultz is just as tainted by money, say Moyers and Winship, who write that “she embodies the tactics that have eroded the ability of Democrats to once again be the party of the working class. As Democratic National Committee chair she has opened the floodgates for Big Money, brought lobbyists into the inner circle and oiled all the moving parts of the revolving door that twirls between government service and cushy jobs in the world of corporate influence.”

Of the two essayists, Moyers — of course — is the better known. He’s an East Texan who came to prominence during the Lyndon Johnson administration, where he served his fellow Texan as White House press secretary. He then went on to become a fixture on public television.

The Sanders campaign has lit a fire all by itself with the candidate’s call for reform of the political financing system. His sole aim is to finance presidential campaigns solely with public funds, while seeking to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that unleashes corporate donors.

Moyers and Winship make the case fairly persuasively that Hillary Clinton is too wedded to the deep-pocketed donor class that they say has corrupted the political system.

She well might want to consider seriously what these men are suggesting, which is to cut her ties to the past and demonstrate that she’s the Democratic Party’s best hope for the future.


Still waiting for answers from Bernie


Some of us might recall a quip made famous by former Vice President Walter Mondale as he competed for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984.

His chief foe that year was U.S. Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado. The two of them squared off in a debate and Mondale turned to Hart and asked him: Where’s the beef?

The question has become something of a punch line.

I think it’s fair ask another challenger for the Democratic nomination essentially the same question. It ought to go to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Where is the beef, Bernie? Where are your constructive solutions to what you say ails the country?

I’m not hearing them.

Sanders captured two Democratic caucuses today, in Washington and Alaska. The frontrunner for the party’s nomination remains Hillary Clinton.

I listened last night to quite a bit of Sanders’s rally in Seattle. He stood at a lecturn in the middle of Safeco Field and kept saying what he’s been saying all along.

The campaign system is corrupt and he wants to bring public financing to presidential elections; the top 1 percent are getting richer while the rest of America is suffering; he wants to provide free college education for every student in America; he says every American is entitled to “universal health care.”

OK. Fair enough. I get the message.

The question: How are you going to make any — let alone all of it — a reality?

It occurred to me this afternoon while visiting with a friend: Sanders sounds a little like Donald J. Trump. Yes, he’s tapping into voters’ anxiety, anger, fear and frustration, just like Trump.

The difference, though, lies in the tone and tenor of his remarks … not to mention the tone and tenor of his response to criticism.

As I listen to Sanders, though, I keep hearing the same refrain.

Wall Street is bad. The political system is corrupt. Wages are unequal.

What is the candidate going to do — precisely, I must ask — to fix it?

Where, Sen. Sanders, is the beef?


Christie attacks Obama … on economy? Wow!


Chris Christie needs to read more.

The New Jersey governor, and a probable Republican candidate for president next year, thinks the economy has tanked under President Obama’s administration.



The stock market is at record highs. Unemployment is at its lowest level in about a decade. Jobs are being created at a rate not seen since the Clinton administration, when everyone — even Republicans — say the economy was booming. The banking and auto industries have recovered. Automakers have paid back the funds they borrowed when the government bailed it out shortly after Barack Obama took office as president.

“This president is failing because he cares more about redistributing wealth than he cares about creating and growing new wealth in our economy,” Christie said on a radio talk show.

Here’s a flash: The president may be criticized for a lot of things, but the economy is in full recovery mode. Even the New Jersey governor ought to understand that.

Has the president done everything he said he’d do? No. We haven’t stabilized Middle East politics. We haven’t brought a world of peace and plenty to places that have neither. It can be argued that the war on terror hasn’t progressed as the president promised it would when he took office.

The nation’s economy — while it isn’t perfect — is in far better shape than when the 44th president moved into the White House.

Then again, when has the economy ever been in perfect condition?