The government’s financial rescue plan continued to spur a immense Wall Street rally today as investors rushed back to the market.
After shooting up more than 400 points at the opening bell, The Dow Jones industrial average was up more than 370 points, a 3.4 percent gain, by 2:30 p.m. That is on top of a 400-point gain late yesterday after news of a government program began to emerge and could bring the market to break-even for the week. The technology-heavy Nasdaq was up 2.5 percent and Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index rose 3.7 percent.
Global markets also traded up on the news. European markets rose on the order of 5 to 9 percent, while Asian markets overnight added anywhere from 4 to 9 percent.
In what amounts to a further restructuring of the financial market, the government said it would take on the bad debts of troubled financial firms, prop up money-market mutual funds and temporarily ban short selling of financial stocks. After watching the demise of Lehman Brothers, the quick sale of Merrill Lynch to Bank of America and a $85 billion loan to salvage American International Group, investors appeared more confident that the government intervention could have a lasting impact.
“It’s a massive relief rally on the back of the comprehensive plan,” said Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist for Merk Investment. “If you have hundreds of millions of mortgage-backed securities on your books that you cannot value — much less sell — you can now unload them to the U.S. government.”
In other words: the stock market is rallying because stupid rich people won’t have to suffer any consequences for the shitty investments they’ve made over the past decade.
It’s times like these where I start getting pitchfork-and-torches angry. Make no mistake, this bailout plan will have a massive opportunity cost. National health care just became that much more difficult because we’re going to be spending $1 trillion to bail out a bunch of irresponsible Wall Street assholes. The sheer amount of shit that the American taxpayer is about to devour cannot be calculated. Our choice boil down to:
- Borrowing a crapload more money from the Chinese and adding God knows how much to our national debt.
- Paying significantly higher taxes and getting precisely nothing in return except for the knowledge that rich people won’t feel bad about themselves.
It’s time to bring back the pillory stocks, my friends. I want Bush, Paulson, Cox, Bernanke and the heads of AIG, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Fannie and Freddie locked up for years on end so that we may hurl vegetables and feces at them to our hearts’ content. Because hey, if we’re going to be sacrificing our Social Security and our health insurance to save the Wizards of Wall Street, we might as well get *something* out of the deal.
UPDATE: It’s a cold day in hell when I agree with Larry Kudlow:
The decision by SEC Chairman Chris Cox to ban short selling is a terrible idea. It is an encroachment on free-market principles. In extreme, the absence of short sellers would inflate stock market upturns, probably into bubbles. Short sellers keep the market honest. I know many in the short-selling community and most of them really do their homework. They are skeptical about puff pieces on companies and they are properly cynical about corporate press releases.
If anything, we should be thanking the short sellers for calling bullshit on a lot of these financial institutions. Now the SOBs will feel free to invest billions more into shit sandwiches and tell us how awesome they taste.
Goddammit I’m pissed.