Publish date:

Times When Trading Takes a Back Seat

Cramer argues against evening-hours trading and in favor of outdated notions like, well, parenting.
Author:

Shea Stadium

is ready for evening trading. Both the right- and left-field bleachers now feature scrolling stock quotes, most actives, big gainers.

Perfect. I now know that when I take my kids to a game, I won't have to miss out on any of the action. I can whip out my cellular phone and do plenty of business, even while the kids watch -- 'cause, heck, it's all about money anyhow, isn't it?

Wrong!

What the heck is happening here? When did this evening-hours juggernaut become so ingrained in our lives that everyone accepts it, keeping the grumbling to themselves? How did we let this happen? Can't we stop it purely for the selfish reason that we should be home with our families, not trading stocks through dinner and when we are helping the kids do homework or reading a book to them before they go to bed?

You want irony? I take my daughter to the

Mets

come-from-behind win against my beloved

Phillies

yesterday, and she points up to the

Reuters

billboards flashing closing prices and wants to know if I will have to do work while I am at the game. Mercifully the market is closed, those are boring Friday quotes on a Sunday, and I don't have to lie. Nope, just here to watch the game with you, buddy.

But come weeknight games, you can bet we'll be trading right from the bleachers. Heck, maybe those upper-deck seats have higher-quality phone reception -- all the better to trade by!

Then, on the way home, our completely marginalized president is on the radio urging parents to spend more quality time with their kids, and I'm thinking, good idea, you sex-crazed prexy, but I gotta do some trading, so fuggedabout it.

Look, nobody has more to gain financially from extended hours than yours truly. I've got all the info I need, and I can fleece unsuspecting newbies and hobbyists alike by staying late and exploiting the edge my machines and contacts provide.

Not only that, but -- what the hey -- this publication you are reading will slaughter the print guys, all of which will soon be presenting even more hopelessly out-of-date information to you each morning. There are no deadlines in the New World that's coming. Perfect for the Net. A real win-win situation!

At what point, however, does common sense trump money? At what point do we realize that our lives will be made miserable by more trading, no matter how much more commission gets generated or short-term profits get taken? When do we get to debate this ridiculous idea of expanded hours?

Or is this just some sort of mandated action by a couple of greedy guys trying to capture share that the rest of us don't even get a chance to check off on?

So far, that's what it looks like. I know this, one of the reasons I got in this business was because, unlike my classmates from law school, I wanted a life after work, a life where I might be able to be a dad without killing my chances of advancement at work.

I am too old to start over now -- all that this does is hasten the desire to retire. But I'll be darned if I am going to go down on this one without a fight.

We should stop evening-hours trading in the name of doing what's right in life: spending more time with our families,

not making money

TheStreet Recommends

.

Some things are more important than scalping that point of

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report

or those two points of

EMC

(EMC)

. We know what they are. Let's speak up and stop this lunacy before it rolls right over us and we don't know why we suddenly became even worse mothers and fathers and spouses and family members than we are now.

Random musings:

While I am at it, I see

Long Term Capital's

making a big-name, big-money comeback, aided by everyone from ex-

Goldman

biggies to

Larry Tisch

. That's just super. And so deserving! These guys almost bring down the entire Western world, but, heck, they had some darn good numbers in the early '90s. Why not throw money at them again?

I say we go one step further. Let's give them Social Security to invest. If they screw it up and lose 90% of it, you can bet the big firms will step right in again and bail out the fund. The

New York Fed

will get in and backstop things. What the heck, why not? They've got the size and scale -- we know they were running a couple of trillion, albeit in borrowed funds. They could leverage Social Security up to the nation's eyeball, really roll the dice, and then get the big stopout when they blow it all up again.

Sounds logical. You gotta love those guys up there in Greenwich. Now they think big!

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Cisco. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at

letters@thestreet.com.