May 7th, 2010
09:12 AM ET

Dear President Obama #473: "It's Greek to me"

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/europe/05/07/greece.bailout.talks.brussels/smlvid.greek.violence.gi.jpg caption="Riots in the streets of Athens caused panic on one street in New York. Or at least that’s what some analysts of the high-finance world would have us believe" width=300 height=169]

Reporter's Note: Riots in the streets of Athens caused panic on one street in New York. Or at least that’s what some analysts of the high-finance world would have us believe. Amid the turmoil, I write my next letter to the White House. At least I’m reliable!

Dear Mr. President,

Is there someone to whom I can surrender? I am ready to give up whatever faint, feeble, delusional hope I’ve ever had of understanding the behavior of the financial markets. I’ll hand over my credit cards, my copy of Rich Dad/Poor Dad, my Magic 8 Ball, and I’ll delete Ali Velshi’s private number from my cell phone.

This fit of despair comes in the wake of the Tilt-A-Whirl whip of the stock market. (Btw, please note, my private campaign to retire the phrase “roller coaster ride.” Haven’t we had enough of that?)

So the Dow dropped a thousand points in a matter of minutes, based on a one-two punch. First, the Greek riots got everyone jumpy about a possible meltdown in the European markets. Then some trader spilled his latte into his computer, or dropped a muffin on it, or punched the wrong number in or something like that, and it suddenly looked as if Proctor and Gamble had just been vaporized. Not a good thing.

Both events apparently made the whole bull and bear crowd squeal like second grade girls and start heaving stocks overboard as if they were on fire. Honestly, is this any way to run an economy? The Greeks grumble, Todd forgets his glasses, and the foundation of our whole market system shakes. Ridiculous.

Frankly this is why I don’t trust that whole Wall Street crew when they insist that they just have to have all those massive bonuses. “Why, without that money, we’d lose all the top talent that makes the market such a wonder!” Uh huh. So where were those geniuses today when everyone started running from shadows? I don’t recall one of these intellectual giants of finance stepping up and saying loudly and clearly, “Hold on, everyone. Let’s figure out what is really going on before we let a bunch of knee-jerk reactions fire a slug at our struggling economy.”

Next time you have that pack down to DC for a chat, ask them about that. In the meantime, you might want to print out a chart of the market trend line from today, and when you start hearing that old refrain about how brilliant the Wall Streeters are, just pull one out and start fanning yourself with it.

Here’s another idea: Pull out your phone and give me call! Feels like forever since we’ve talked. Because, uh, it has been.


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