Selling Short America and the Rest of the World

Includes: DIA, KRE, QQQ, SPY, XLF
by: Michael Levy

"Oh, how the mighty have fallen", is a quote from the Old Testament that pertains to the collapse of past dynasties. In today's world, it deals with the downfall of the major infrastructure of capital markets in the USA and the systemic fallout all around the world.

The demise of Bear Sterns, Freddie Mac (FRE), Fannie Mae (FNM), and IndyMac are a few events that have already caused disruption, costing billions of tax payers money. Waiting in the wings of fiscal devastation are firms such as Lehman (LEH), Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM), and Merrill Lynch (MER), whose shares have been devastated by speculative short sellers.

The question is, have the media unjustly helped the billionaire short sellers achieve massive profits from the demise of major investment, brokerage and banking institutions? Also, have the financial institutions, in part, been hoisted by their own petard of greed?

Last month, one of the main financial TV channels had a billionaire short seller on their morning show for one hour, explaining a very cleverly thought out plan why the shares of Freddie Mac and Fannie May should go to zero. Perhaps if a professor of economics that is not affiliated with any speculators spoke about institutions that are in dire straits, it is acceptable. However, when a billionaire speculator is given an hour to deliver his schemes, with a self declared, vested interest in his short positions, it is totally immoral if not illegal.

This practice continues unabated. On Wednesday, September 9, 2008, on a popular TV financial channel, almost every segment throughout the day had guests who were short selling speculators, talking about the demise of Lehman. The next day, the stock was cut in half from already greatly depressed levels.

The same style of erroneous intellectual propaganda that drove house prices to unsustainable levels, that thrust oil up to $147 a barrel and other commodities to unrealistic altitudes, is now being spread, bringing about the premature collapse of financial houses, whose stock book values are worth far more than the current traded price.

Top analysts have stated the prices have detached from fundamentals. It seems that the themes played out on fear-based emotions, all brought about by past greed, are driving down prices far faster than normal trading in past years, which did not have such powerful leveraged derivatives.

The medicine being doled out seems to be more of the same that ails you. The cure may work in holistic circles, but in finance, real change is required. There is no doubt that many companies in the financial arena have brought about their own destruction by their own avarice and greed. They dreamt up many derivatives and collateralized notes that were backed up with valueless assets. Many bosses who should be accountable for the collapse of their companies were paid millions of dollars when they were kicked out; yet, the common shareholders are left with zero. In one instance recently, the head of one of the government backed agencies is reported to have received $20,000,000 in severance pay. Many financial institutions are now been taken to the cleaners by the same type of derivatives they devised and traded ... Karma, maybe?

Well, maybe, however it still has not stopped the onslaught of new derivatives that arrive on the world scene on a daily basis, for more speculators to trade away corporate enterprises and commodities, with highly sophisticated leveraged financial instruments.

The government declares they are in favor of free markets and do not want to bring in the up-tick rule that would limit short sellers. It limits the short trade as the speculator can only short a stock when it has traded up. This levels the playing field, somewhat. They also do not want to stop naked short selling, although some say it is already illegal. This means that, without new regulations, the short sellers can take advantage of a bad situation and fast-track its demise with the help of the media who assigns them lots of free air space.

The founding fathers of America, built up ideas and blueprints to make it the greatest country in the world. In the past few years, sharp-witted, educated wizards have devised schemes that, first of all, over-leveraged complicated financial instruments. This in turn has fed the short selling vultures to sell America short and to hell with all who stand in their way. The greedy few get richer in money but poorer in spirit, while everyone else just becomes impoverished.

Who is to blame for the farces in a USA comedy of financial errors?

  • Is it the bosses who allowed the greed to rampantly spread?
  • Is it the short sellers who feed from avarice? 
  • Is it the media who will go to any lengths to sensationalize a story?
  • Is it the government who allows it all to happen?

Perhaps all are all equally guilty and are doing more damage than any terrorist organization can do. However, they all have one thing in common... They are all extremely well educated with financial and business accruement.

Lamentably, the education lacks wisdom or self respect that contains the real values and morals of humanity. If you want more proof of how obnoxious humans can sink to feather their nest, just follow the political campaign for president and observe how they degrade their fellow Americans from the opposite party.

The mighty have indeed fallen short of grace, compassion, kindness and generosity. Negative slants have been programmed in the brains of media reporters and programmers, and even the weather has become a vehicle for fear laden reporting. The quest for mastery by intellectual, sophisticated, power crazed people knows no decent or wholesome boundaries.

There is no admissible truth, or acceptable wisdom, that power seeking people will correctly invest their time in, that can halt further decline into ... the slings and arrows of outrage misfortune ...

Now where have I heard that before?

Disclosure: none