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How Wall Street Hijacked America and Became Master of the Tradable Universe

68 | By Shah Gilani

Today I’m going to make a blanket indictment, and I’m going to back it up. No doubt some of you will see it my way, and some of you will tell me I’m just plain wrong. Either way, bring on the comments!

I ended Thursday’s WSII post – “Why High-Frequency Trading is a Scam” with this comment and threat: “There’s nothing redeeming about high-frequency trading. Nothing. Maybe I should write a real article on why it’s a bunch of crap and who’s really behind it? Oh, I’ve done that. I did it two-and-a-half years ago, at Money Morning. Guess it’s time to do it again. Maybe I’ll call it my new high-frequency muckraking series on HFT B.S. (Think my publisher will go for that?)”

Well, my editor over at MoneyMorning.com agreed that it’s important to tell the world the truth about this scam, how it actually works, and what should be done about it.

So, tomorrow (Monday) and Tuesday, in a two-part series, you can read exactly how HFT players play their game, what B.S. they lay on us to justify their moneymaking schemes, how it can blow us all up, and what steps we should be taking to defuse the bomb.

But first, here and now, I’m going to tell you how high-frequency trading was allowed to happen in the first place – and, by extension, how what looks like the unintended consequences of past rules and regulations changes, which manifested multiple Wall Street scams, were never “unintended” at all.

Buckle up…

In the old days, Wall Street brokers made their (very nice, thank you) living mostly buying and sometimes selling stocks for customers under a fixed-commission umbrella.

That umbrella, not surprisingly, was held up by the industry, which (wink, wink) took the term “fixed” to a level that looked like price fixing (because it was).

In the 1970s, new-on-the-scene wannabe discounters (namely Charles Schwab) who weren’t part of the old guard made the case for a free-for-all, let commissions fall from competition, federal case… and won. On May 1, 1975 – known in the industry as May Day – negotiated commissions came into being.

All the old “customers’ men” were aghast. What was going to happen to their lofty salaries? And worse, if commoners were going to have cheap transaction costs, would they start buying and even selling stocks on their own, without the sage advice of brokers?

Of course they would.

So, Wall Street being Wall Street, they huddled, looked into the future, and decided right then and there to create it themselves – the future that is – in the craven image of the world as one giant exchange; an exchange without borders, where everybody traded everything.

But the beauty of the monster wasn’t about little transaction costs they could pocket. It was to be a magnificent future, you see, where trillions of trades were possible. And not just on stocks and bonds in the here and now, but on futures, on derivatives of synthetic squared portfolios of loans on American homes, and on what the Fed will do with interest rates, and pollution credits, and who will get elected – and even more stuff in the works that will blow your mind.

They knew they could make billions of dollars on everything that would be traded. They would make some of their money, a piddling little of it, on those annoying little negotiated commissions. But more to the point, they would make money on doing their own trading with their insider advantages, their speed, their duplicity in telling the public one thing and doing the opposite. They would all become masters of the new tradable universe, plying their trade as market-makers and market destroyers. All battling one another, one and all and all for one against the stupid public, who might look upon the billionaire hedgies and aspire to their ranks by trading their oneseies and twosies… but trade them they would.

And so it came to pass.

In order to make things more tradable and to give themselves more of an advantage, the increasing pool of Wall Street game theorists and game-trading practitioners had to clear runways so their plans and planes could takeoff.

Starting in 1980, it was all about deregulation. That would expand the airfield by creating innumerable new runways, where plans could take off in any direction, at any speed, and go anywhere, without the bother of a flight plan or the ignorant oversight of traffic controllers.

Then in the 1990s, they targeted the binding effect of having to funnel trades through only a few exchange pipes. They hacked away at the old pipes, took them over, and rechanneled them with PVC and copper and fiber optics. And more and more electronic trading venues in cyberspace came into being. That spread out trades across multiple highways where dumb investors could get run over because of far too much “fragmentation.” But the insiders, the players, the traders, and game theorists knew how to negotiate the back alleys of all these electronic communications networks.

But still, when it came to stock trading, quotes and trading increments were still based on the old Spanish system of “eighths,” which wasn’t just quaint but actually had a huge impact of how risk was measured and managed by the specialists and market-makers responsible for “keeping fair and orderly markets.”

Then again, the game wasn’t about fair and orderly markets, it was about trading, and more and more trading.

So, under the guise of narrowing spreads, which was supposed to reduce transaction costs (it didn’t, read my upcoming articles) the push towards decimalization was completed in 2001. Now stocks move in increments of a penny as opposed to a minimum of twelve and a half cents in the past. It’s a long explanation, as to what effect decimalization has had. But trust me: It hasn’t helped the public one bit.

It did make for more trading, however; a lot more. That was the intention, after all.

I could go on and on and cite a lot more changes that look like they had unintended consequences. But here is my point.

All those changes were intended to create more trading.

Trading – that’s where the money is on Wall Street. It’s not about capital formation. It’s about trading, stupid.

And the latest example of those unintended consequences? Guess.

Yep, that would be the billions of dollars made annually in high frequency trading.

Get it? HFT does nothing for the markets, adds nothing to liquidity, has no reason, there’s nothing redeeming about it. That is, unless you’re the one doing it.

The system is corrupt. Wall Street is the tail wagging the economy and America, and the world too. The business of trading has hijacked American business. It has to stop.

Okay… bring on those comments.

68 Responses to How Wall Street Hijacked America and Became Master of the Tradable Universe

  1. SwampGatorex says:

    Shah, as always, head of the class. Question: Wwhat can “we” do about it? i.e. Can you provide some practical advice on how to stop it…..and at what level?

    -SwampGatorex-.

  2. Rick says:

    As usual, your right on yet again, Wall street and it’s too big to fail Banksters and insurance companies, god knows what the hell they are insuring other then their own profits, they have manipulated the world markets for their own gain, this includes all Central Banks. Allan Greenspan was the master mind on the topic of “deregulating” he’s a criminal along with the rest of them all. Helicopter Ben should be ready to leave the country, before the house of cards collapses January 1st 2013.

  3. Hans says:

    The closer the servers are to the traders the more do re me is in the pockets of the “too big to fail” corporations. Now that trades are made in billionth of second. How can the public join in on the largesse?

  4. BP says:

    I didn’t hear all those “dumb investors” complaining in the ’90’s. I don’t believe in politiciziing greed as if it is part of one ideology either.

  5. Vic says:

    OK, I’ll take the bait. How do we stop it? The only obvious way is to starve the beast which may not be practical unless we all go to hard assets and precious metals.

  6. Paul says:

    excellent job Shah … I am amazed you take the risk of speaking out … good for you … The NY/DC axis ‘people’ (animals) would eat their own young (after they eat yours, which would be after they would drive over their mothers in their Mercedes to steal a lollipop from a child on the other side of the street).

  7. Sandra says:

    I´m not into stocks and bonds,becase I heard stories from my father, 50 years ofd when I was born, but who had worked on Wall St. as a 26 year old, buying 2 coop apartmens, and generally doing very well for himself trading. But detailed information on the Great Crash plus one of those 1940´s hiccoughs were severe enough to have him sell out and never return. He saw for himself, the “dirty games” that had already begun to be played pre and post depression and although he had enjoyed his early years on the Street, he could sense the way it would eventually go….defrauding the public on a global scale.

  8. David B. says:

    Sure, but I’d do a better job of distinguishing between “trading” and “high frequency trading.” Trading single lots on the futures markets is not what you’re talking about but I’m afraid that some won’t see it that way.

  9. Anonymole says:

    Shah, If you could tone down your bias it would help your case. I know we all have bias, and generally I tend to side with you on issues like this, but overt invasive bias, or “attitude” only goes to lessen your influence by making you sound radicalized. An even temper goes a long way to substantiating one’s claims; subtlety speaks volumes.

  10. Retail Investor says:

    Traders are vampires

    If you trade the markets, buying and selling e-minis, or FX, or options all day long, if you scalp, or arb, or HFT then you’re nothing but a vampire. You perform no real benefit to society. You produce nothing, create nothing, build nothing. You live in a dark cave and come out to suck the monetary life from hard working citizens. And like a vampire, though you are a leach on society, you boast and brag of your accomplishments as though they should be regarded as feats of majesty or fine art. And, like a vampire, you hold nothing but disdain for the mortals, the common citizens who work for a living, and invest for the long haul. Traders only take; and like vampires, you should be dealt with by driving a stake through your black hearts.

  11. Michael says:

    Shah, is the System used for HFT code named PROMIS? Recently I read an article in the Malaysian Press with regard to this “mythical” PROMIS system in which it was pointed out that the system had the capability of monitoring the global Internet for ALL Monetary transaction & movements of Securities & Currency’s in real time.
    Supposedly, as described in the article, the PROMIS system was not limited to just Financial Transactions online in real time, but could be used for tracking all forms of communications whether email, Zipped Packet Data, and Dedicated Point to Point Networks. To my thinking this PROMIS system, if it exists is a far more lethal weapon than the use of nuclear weapons in wartime. The ability to be aware of all traffic on the internet and disseminate that information in real time, breaches any and all Net-Privacy Regulations and if the system was in the wrong handsand has the capability as described it alone could have the power of life and death for much, much more than Financial Markets control over the Globe. Can you shed any light on this?? Is it real or is it Memorex?

  12. Veronica says:

    This is exactly what we all feared was going on, but what do we do about it now – we have to somehow get that obin Tax mplemented – just enuf to make the fast track trading not-as-profitable -but this will be a major major fight, I am ready with my placards but have little faith in getting it done now that the 1% is getting further entrenched ! Only when they get scared enuf of a revolution will they listen !!

  13. H. Craig Bradley says:

    WHERE WILL IT ALL END?

    Well, in a nutshell, probably not well. Beyond that we can draw some very general predictions. Just remember, nobody can accurately predict anything, from tomorrow’s weather to the outcome of the Nov. election. Instead, we have lots of pundits and a great many uninformed individuals.

    Paul Warberg, U.S. Banker (elitist) said in 1913 when the Congress passed the necessary legislation to establish a central bank in America: ” We intend to establish a global currency whether by consent or by force”. From this quiet statement nearly 100 years ago a thoughtful person should conclude the “we” are the U.S. BANKERS and their goals are by implication intergenerational. So, you have a strata of America that is in effect our nobility, both hereditary and continuous (just like Europe has had for 1,000’s of years).

    Conventional wisdom says there is no permanent nobility or class structure in America and everyone competes on their own merits for their place in life. In practice, this does apply, but not to the most powerful families in America ( The American Oligarchs). This is part of the myth designed to keep the Goy(a) distracted, divided, and chasing their tails. It has worked out well (for them) in the last 100 years.

    In the end, there probably will be only two classes of survivors in America (and most of the Developed Countries, as well) : The (American) Nobility and the Serfs (formerly Middle Class workers or proles). Everyone will be equal and equally poor. Their will be no pretenses about it either.

    Sincerely,

    H. Craig Bradley

    • H. Craig Bradley says:

      WARNING!

      It has been predicted that this will NOT come to pass in America without great pain and suffereing on whoever attempts to impose this kind of “new world order” on rank and file Americans.

    • Ed the Grocer says:

      The NWO is Euro centered and Africa will be its primary supply zone. The City still has Wall Street by the nose. Some USA rich now understand that they are only meant to be soldiers and nothing more. Russia will likely never fold in properly. China and the rest will be left to twist in the wind. But as you know…The best laid plans of mice and men..gang oft aglay.

  14. mike says:

    be sure to include the creation of archipelago and the break up and sale of it, it’s ability to track the onesy twoseys, the ten lotters the 100 lotters and the complete total of open long and shorts,each acct has it’s own i d like a drivers license number,,,work out a mathematical formula and do mini squeezes several times a day, week in week out year after year,inside information that is totally ignored by any security industry watchdogs

  15. Hugh Farquharson says:

    I had a pal who used to tow a mobile gallows behind his Police truck. I wonder if he’d like some freelance work

  16. Will Harden says:

    Shah, I have to hand it to you man, you can write. This bit that you put out on HFT was so good I am going to read it at my” Creative Nonfiction” class class next wednesday. Also I carried a poster with five of your 13 points to a OWS rally we had in MIami. To bad most of the rabble there could not comprehend what it was about. I believe that you actually want to improve the system and God Bless you!

  17. jsmith says:

    So essentially what you are saying is that the stock brokers in the past were “somewhat” working for us, and we could make a few bucks, but now they are working for themselves with our money and now they are skinning us alive. So “brokers” are really breaking us. Sweet.

  18. Kevin Donnelly says:

    There always have been traders.
    It’s hard to cut them out
    For people are so gullible
    And do not have the “clout”
    We’re looking for a bargain,
    to make a buck or two
    or “save” on our “expenditures’
    or capture something new
    Computers are the answer,
    to quickly make a score
    But now we find,surprisingly
    That traders hold the floor

  19. Jim in Atlanta says:

    Other than your comments, which I blindly tend to agree with, what other news programs, pundits should we go to to verify your claims? I don’t doubt what you say, and have witnessed the results of HFT, but I just don’t want to blindly follow ANYONE anymore without at least comparing notes. I simply don’t have the time to research it all myself.

  20. Chuck says:

    I believe corruption was so widespride in Russian markets few dare to invest anymore….Sad to say I think but the “good ole” USA has passed those corruption levels and we should all get our heads checked if we put $1 into any USA stocks….The SEC is worthless to individual investors and should stand for Stealing Everyones Cash

  21. Stanley Margolis says:

    I agree 100% with your explanation. The HTF;s simply buy stocks to push them up and then sell them at the higher price that they have created. There doesn’t need to be any outside dealing in the stock they simply take the profit that they themselves have created,

  22. R W N says:

    Since all trades have to be reported, why not institute a tax of 95% on any trade with a holding period of less than 5 days? Doing this would not generate another layer of beauracrucy.

    • Susie Austin says:

      RWN, I’m thinking along those lines also, only I think the tax should be $1 per trade or something like that, which I wouldn’t mind paying, but you cannot limit the time that a trade is held. This would put a stop to almost all HFT, don’t you think?

  23. Matt G says:

    You’re absolutely right, Shah, it DOES have to stop. All those little 2 and 3 hundredths of a penny by which they bid up or down a stock’s price do absolutely NOTHING for the economy (to say nothing of the actual value of the underlying company), except to line the pockets of Wall Street by robbing those of us on Main Street. Ban the practice outright, I say; disallow the exchanges from leasing space in their data centers to ANY third party, and don’t let any third party have any direct connections to the exchanges’ data centers, other than an SEC clearing house.

    On another, somewhat related, note: for the love of Pete (and Mike, and Shelly, Barb, and everybody else on Main Street), please bring back Glass-Steagall!!

  24. don larson says:

    . . . And, you should see how those Predators duck and cover! Newsletter after Newsletter attempt to initiate a new twist; most blame the Government, and the two Political Parties. Sure they were involved’ but the Boiler Room Work was done on Wall Street.

    Someone tell me how 20 Traders, each made a Billion Dollars, in 2010? No body makes that kind of Money – – legally.

    Good article. So, frequency trading is all the rage on Wall Street . . . interesting! Now, what can be done about the culture of crime and corruption on the Street, that might bring Small Fry’s back to the Market, with at least some semblance of Trust! I don’t know if will ever happen again.

    Always look forward to your Articles; and it’s encouraging to see someone with the GUTS, to keep the Minions and Working Stiff”s informed.about what’s going on. The Middle Class cannot be burned again! by Wall Street. They have so little left now; that another September 18, 2008; would send most to the Poor House.

    By the way, no body has been able to tell me what they produce, or actually make, on Wall Street! The Assumption is: NOTHING! They are in the Business of Extraction, and Rent Seeking. There are new Bottom Feeders on Wall Street – – and, I don’t mean Lawyers – – necessarily

    don (subscriber)

    • don larson says:

      Final Comment: Here’s what scares me! Not satisfied with Ravishing the Financial Sector of our Economy; the Predators want REGULATIONS LOOSENED ON OTHER SECTORS OF THE U. S. ECONOMY! BRAZEN, PREDATOR CAPITALISTS – – ALL! Selfish, S.O.B’s is what they are!

      don

      (Hey Shah’ someone needs to do a piece on how far the Nation has sunk in the past 35 years – – on so many Indice – -, of former Greatness. Exceptional Once? Yes, Maybe. But what do the Indices of Greatness show today? Too many people are still in denial about the new Realities of our Social, Economic, and Political Systems. It’s very difficult to accept our Fall from Grace; I know that..)

  25. ziggy says:

    Hi Shah,
    You are right about this but we are at the hands of men in suits who portray themselves as regulators yet are hoodwinked by Wallstreet and the money men.
    I’m emailing from Australia and my Broking House friends complain bitterly about this practice and in time the markets will be played by the top players and the majority small players will no longer be there for they would have been burnt one too many times and will be pennyless.Plus fear will keep them out.
    I am an avid follower of you and your articles.
    Thank you.
    Kind regards,
    Ziggy

    • Susie Austin says:

      You are right, ziggy, in that the regular investors will be scared to invest after one too many times of being burned. We used to have to go through a broker and they didn’t like it one bit that they were bypassed, so this is their payback. And once interest rates go through the roof, the bankers will decide (or they’ll reinstate Glass Steagall) they can go back to being bankers again, and not gambling YOUR money away in WS. We decided in ’08 to never use a broker again…also if you look at the stats, more boomers are pulling their money out of the market at record numbers…and if you watch the volume of trading on WS, it’s down dramatically, so that’s proof of exactly what you said. But many many regular investors will get burned and the big boys will have already pulled out. I would say wait for ZA BIG CORRECTION, which is inevitable given the “faux rally” based on big money printing, then that’s the time to get back in Baby MultiNationals, if you can in a foreign exchange like Canada, so you can also benefit from an eventually much lower dollar exchange. I have enjoyed reading all of your comments!

  26. Alex Gogan says:

    During the. Com boom, my company was in the process if been taken over and a reverse buy out was going to happen. At the time it was exciting and my only worry was the market lasting til it happened. But two days before the event boom. But my issue at the time was prior to letting my company go into the process I approached this firm to manage a private listing to allow clients to buy in and not go public. But looking back greed and ego took over. I knew that my company was not worth the valuation it was given, but saw the cash been left on the table would allow my to do something and make it real. I also knew that there was not looking left in the market with the valuations. But the market makers involved said at the time that this was happening that no matter what it was all about the trade as when I asked about the commissions been made as from my side it was small. But this article puts it in perspective, the more trades they make the more money. Now with these systems in play they have engineered as way to increase and inflate prices ande a

    • Alex Gogan says:

      Sorry phone posted be fore finished….

      But the trading it seems and prices been used doesn’t reflect the value, and I have been saying fir years that until value returns to the market and the world the snake oil sales men if wall street, or main street leave we will never have a fair system.

      But I do not see our current set of politicians having the balls to stop this.

  27. ken hedtke says:

    Shah , a while back Green Mountain Coffee Roasters lost 50% of it,s value in about five seconds on an opening gap.I would like to know how the big money manipulators set that up in the previous time period using shorts to cover their longs,and then using naked shorts,and if put or call options could have been involved.The “retail”little guys got stuck with the loss of course.A work out of how that was done would be appreciated. Ken

  28. Ian Morton says:

    Thanks for the information so far.
    I am in Western Australia, and if we use a broker here there is a 10% GST charge on any trade with them, and the charge is approx 1.5 % therefore the GST is 0.13% and if its a buy and sell its double, if you had this would it
    1/ be a bonanza for yourTax department
    2/ and or stop the trading.
    Regards Ian

  29. David says:

    There’s nothing level about the playing field. Why does big money get to place orers before the bell rings? Decimalization has just made easier for the little guy to get run over on the information super highway.

  30. ray says:

    Certainly HFT is of concern, as retail trading/investing (hate to include investing as that may be a dinosaur) has plummeted.

    It just seems this is just another of the many unfair barriers facing the individual, so I am thinking that the concentration should be on the most important item, which is to eliminate the Federal Reserve (IMO).

  31. jeremy defreitas says:

    Hi mr Gilani,I’ve been reading your articles and must say thanks for your downright bluntness on what others call making money and just simply ripping the average man of his hard earn earnings This system of greed not only exists in the US.In my country there’s this huge corperation called CLICO,they are into everything,I mean you name it from insurance to methanol and everything in between.People with no common decency.You trust these people with your hard earned cash,what do they do? certainly not ….at least insure your initial deposit..When I look at some of what you have exposed with your economy…it’s the same load of bull### all over.It’s just greedy men filling themselves and usually it’s the expense of others no two ways about it.Someone once wrote ”Leaches only say one thing Give,Give” Well these folks sure fit this quote…What should we do? well exposing it is one way…and hats of to you in this regard….keep up your excellent work

  32. Magnum says:

    This is good revelation. Please do more to educate the outsiders so that they can all support transaction tax to make HFT not profitable and at the same time give government more revenue so that outsider’s income tax burden can be reduced. Keep up the good work and expose more of such insiders’ scams…………….Magnum

  33. tom says:

    Your observations could be 100% spot on, but in order to have the free movement of commerce it is fundamental to have markets. This being said what are the solutions to the dilemma??

  34. JAMES KIERATH says:

    Hi Shah,
    Some of your writings are really interesting, thank you. However in this
    article I fail to see how you can “jump” to your conclusion ..’that the system is corrupt’. This doesn’t seem to follow from the preceding history. Will your view become more digestible in following articles?

  35. sharon ehrhardt says:

    Even the guys who buckle up in a Lotus have to use the same streets as everybody else, bought at public expense, potholes and all. For trading they get their own roadways – too bad for the rest of us. Power in the USA belongs to those with big money and the clout to buy all they want. Only public funding for elections can save us now from the rampant corruption. The 47% are ripe for fleecing.

  36. Chris Skillings says:

    Assuming what you say about HFT is true (and I have no doubt that it is), isn’t it just farting in the wind to try and fight it? If the fix is really in that deep, nobody (named Obama or Romney) has the power or inclination to try and change the system. It sounds like we have are destined to wait until they utterly blow themselves up, and then hope for a better re-build.

  37. skopros says:

    bias–don’t ditch it, enlarge it. too much “bias” is always the complaint of the ox gored. keep doing what you’re doing with as much ire and fire as always.

  38. Charles says:

    Shah, there is probably not space for all of my comments but I am all for change. But once again the question is, how? How many individual investors would have any inkling of what you are talking about? Only because I developed an interest in trading (in 1997) and investing (about 2006) have I become reasonably well acquainted with the financial world. I could count on one hand and have fingers left over, the number of my friends or relatives who spend any time whatsoever thinking about such things, and they would probably not react much if I tried to talk with them. This is not because they are not intelligent. The investments that most of these people have (if they even have any) are managed within employee defined contribution accounts, such as 401k. Their investment choices are limited, even if they wanted to strategically manage them. Not only that, but if these individuals are in salaried jobs, and might have sufficient education to comprehend such information, they are most likely buried by the amount of work put upon them. I know because I was in the corporate world for almost 30 years and it was all I could do to keep my head above water. I worked well into the evening and lots of weekends. That’s the way salaried jobs are designed, and it is not unintentional. So, where does one even begin a rallying effort? How many average Americans even care? I’m ready to engage if you or anyone has a plan. Otherwise, I have to agree with Mr. Skillings’ comments above.

  39. DrJuan says:

    Hasn’t Obama yet figured out that he could balance the budget by putting a tiny tax on each high speed trade? I will let Ryan figure out how much that tax should be based on how much they will need to collect.

    And he can also figure out what 40 and 50 year very low interest mortgages would do for the foreclosure crisis.

  40. Ed the Grocer says:

    Some of the early rules were simple. Never buy or sell “at market.” Always place the order one point off the big numbers. Don’t be greedy. Hedge, pay attention, or get out. Never use stops. Expect some corruption. Watch your charts. I don’t think it has changed over the years. And then we started to watch the on line feeds. Some of the early ones didn’t show the ‘spikes’. Opps, that’s why you don’t use stops. If it isn’t HFT, it will be some other corrupt practice designed to make the traders rich. It is what it is. A big boys game.

  41. Brad M. says:

    This unfortunately is probably the sad truth. But will anything be done about it? My guess is no. The Fed and the financial institutions which own it have completely seized control. Much can be and has been said about what has happened since 2008, but I think ultimately the truth is… it is the largest hijacking of and destruction of wealth in human history. The question is what is their desired end result in all of this?

  42. Steve says:

    Strangely, no one suggested setting interest rates at 2% above inflation. Yup, that would bring Wall Street to its knees and return value to money and labor. Stock prices would then reflect the true value of corporations. HFT would become instantly moot. No balls, that’s why. Unfortunately, that can only happen after a destructive revolt following equally destructive inflation. A return to a 90% progressive rate will be the only way to pay down 16T-and-growing to avoid social instability. That’s what it took in the ’50’s to pay for WWII and Korea, winning one of the wars notwithstanding. I recall in the ’50’s there were still plenty of wealthy paying the 90% rate, but there was also nearly full employment at livable wages……. big middle class.

    The affluent running things in America back then were a different breed. Economic theory has always suggested that free trade would make everyone better off, but it hasn’t really worked out that way.

  43. None of the Above says:

    Politicians who propose the appropriate transaction tax will receive huge “campaign contributions” to abandon or subvert the tax. If we had initiative petition on the national level, we could do the job congress refuses to do. Unfortunately, the founding fathers did not trust the people to govern themselves, rather they set up a system in which we allegedly get to choose people to represent us. However, those chosen ones represent those who pay them well (not those who pay their small salary).

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