BOCA RATON, Fla. (
) -- For the first time in our nation's history, last week the SEC charged a state government with securities fraud. I
wrote about this last week but I'm still sitting here shocked, which says a lot. I don't shock easily. The media dutifully reported on this historic event and moved on.
This is simply astonishing. When a public company commits securities fraud, as
admitted to doing recently with the Abacus fiasco, the SEC comes thumping in with their size 12 boots demanding flesh. Shareholders get crushed as the stock plummets. So much for the SEC looking out for the "little guy" who was me of course when they went after GS. Guess the SEC was more interested in protecting those poor billion-dollar institutional investors who knew exactly what they were doing.
Thankfully I trade options and wasn't hurt as much as many other retail traders. I actually did quite well in the end because I executed a bullish options position when everyone panicked because I knew the government was using this deal as an excuse to ram the financial reform bill though. GS wasn't going out of business anytime soon, especially when its alumni include governors and treasury secretaries.
So why the double standard with my home state? Their fraud was clearly more intentional and designed to fool investors. By valuing pension funds with 1999 stock prices, they overstated the actual value of the true obligations. Can you say
Next time you apply for a home loan and you've fallen on hard times, try reporting your income from a couple years ago when you were raking it in instead of your current financial condition. Let me know how the Jello tastes in prison.
Today the men and women who "serve" in public office are stunned by the current political climate and how distrustful the people are of them and our government. Really? From a "Health Care Reform" law that even supporters now acknowledge will add, not reduce the deficit, to the massive stimulus that "had to be passed" or unemployment would rise to 8% (now 9.5%), Americans simply know that they cannot trust anyone in government. Broad stereotype? Yup. Based somewhat in truth? Yup.
A poignant example of this distrust of government unfortunately comes again from the Snooki State this week. It turns out that NJ is not going to receive $400 million in federal education funding because of a simple clerical error. This error could've been corrected by a phone call or someone on the federal end doing another five minutes of "work"...
...but I can tell you there was no way this GS-10 (or 12) was going to do that. Please watch
this clip to see the governor's comments on this flap.
Future presidential candidate by the way. It's refreshing to see someone in government lead with "I'm ultimately responsible for everything that goes on here" and mean it.
Firing Line: I predict in 5 to 10 years we will be facing a Greek-like tragedy. Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, health care and other federal "entitlements" like pensions will be bankrupt, along with several states like Illinois, California and New Jersey (unless Christie does what he says he's going to do). The same federal "employee" who couldn't be bothered to do the right thing is going to riot in the streets when the government announces that they are raising the retirement age or reducing benefits. That is of course if an adult is in charge at the time... Christie?
Matthew "Whiz" Buckley is a partner at
a provider of options education and practical applications for options traders of all levels. He is also the founder of Strike Fighter Financial LLC, a business-consulting firm specializing in leadership development, risk management and strategic planning for Fortune 500 companies and related organizations. Buckley flew the F/A-18 Hornet for the U.S. Navy. He's a graduate of TOPGUN, has close to 400 carrier landings and flew 44 combat sorties over southern Iraq. After leaving active duty, he served as a managing director at a Wall Street volatility arbitrage options firm and was a founder and the CEO of a financial media company. He is an internationally recognized speaker and combined his experiences in the military and corporate America in his book "From Sea Level to C Level."