By Jack Engelhard
Don’t know much about the economy. Then again, neither do the people who run these things.
With all these banking outfits going down the drain, virtually overnight, we skipped right past Recession and went directly to Depression. Thanks, guys! Now it’s all in the hands of our Congress to save us from insolvency, which is like inviting Michael Jackson into your bedroom to babysit.
Don’t know much about politics, either, which puts me in the same boat with politicians.
On Nancy Pelosi and the bickering in the House of Representatives, we quote the sage Casey Stengal: “Doesn’t anybody know how to play this game?”
[Wait a minute! This Congress is controlled by the Democrats. If this is a sample of the “change” we’ve got coming, we’re in big trouble, kemosabe.]
I’m told that it’s all about Wall Street taking on faulty loans for mortgages. Huge investment firms got sucked in and got sucked dry. How, then, could so many smart people be so stupid? (Or corrupt?) We’re talking about “the best and the brightest,” people who went to college. Tom Wolfe called them Masters of the Universe.
(Maybe greed is not so good.)
Why, incidentally, is the stock market considered an investment, while the racetrack is considered gambling? What’s the difference? We’re both wagering and yet horseplayers get called names like degenerates. You’re betting on General Motors and I’m betting on Secretariat. So? Given the headlines and the panic and the bankruptcies and the foreclosures, I’ll take the horses.
They don’t always win, but you can be sure of an honest effort for your two dollars.
I don’t know of any horse that lost a race and then walked off with $90 million. This happened at one of those brokerage firms. His company and the people with it went bust but he’s sitting fat. This happens all the time. What’s the difference between Wall Street and the local bookie? I’ll wait for the answer.
How is playing the stock market any different from playing a slot machine?
But there is a difference after all. When I lose at the track, the government does not step in to give me my money back. No bailout.
When I’m up there at Bally’s Racing Parlor, I have no Portfolio. I do have the Racing Form and I decide for myself which horse is worth a bet. So when I lose it’s all my fault and our entire economy does not come tumbling down. Meanwhile, I’m learning that there’s a method (since stopped temporarily) where players can bet on a stock going down, losing, in other words.
I know of no such bet at the track. We cannot wager on a horse losing. There is only win, place, show, and the rest, but nothing about betting on a horse to lose.
Which proves that the stock market is more like shooting dice.
People trust their entire life’s savings on the stock market forgetting that it’s people, not horses, who get to tinker with their money.
Now we know what can happen. (Acorn can happen.)
I’m not suggesting that we parlay our money onto the horses. I’m only saying that horses are more reliable. People are risky.
Community Organizers, for example, are not a safe bet despite being touted.
Over at the tobacco shop (another bad habit of mine, smoking), Joe was on the phone with a lady who had won $250 million on the lottery.
Now the lottery – there’s a bet, an investment, that’s as good as anything Wall Street has to offer.
Sure, most of the time you lose, but that’s how it goes. Ask anyone whose stock took a dive.
Back at Joe’s, most of his customers are people who come in to buy lottery tickets. I used to think of THEM as degenerates. (After all, we have turned into a nation of gamblers.) But I’ve changed my mind. Everybody wants to be a millionaire and one bad habit is as good as another.
So as Joe is on the phone with this lady, I interrupt to have him warn her against “investing.”
Keep the loot hidden under the mattress, or take it to the track where the pain on a “sure thing” only lasts two minutes and not a lifetime.
Jack Engelhard’s latest novel, THE BATHSHEBA DEADLINE, now in paperback, places journalism at the center of our war on terror. Engelhard wrote the classic/original international bestselling novel INDECENT PROPOSAL that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. He can be reached, and his Works can be viewed, at www.jackengelhard.com.