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Insider Trading Is Legal For Members Of Congress – And They Refuse To Pass A Law That Would Change That

Is insider trading wrong?  Most Americans would say that it is.  In fact, some very wealthy and very prominent Americans (including Martha Stewart) have gone to prison for it.  It just is not right for those with inside information that is not generally available to the public to make huge profits in the stock market by making key trades based on that information.  But there is one group, members of the U.S. Congress, that can do all the insider trading they want and get away with it.  That is because insider trading is perfectly legal for members of Congress.  Yes, you read that correctly.  So how would that work?  Well, for example, a member of Congress may know that a law that is about to be proposed would have a very positive effect on a particular company and could buy up a ton of stock in that company a few days before that law is introduced.  Isn’t that wrong?  Of course.  Is there any law against it?  Not at all. 

You would think that some of the more ethical members of Congress would want to close this glaring loophole, but it just isn’t happening.  Legislation has been introduced from time to time that would end this practice, but it has gotten very, very little support.  The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about this issue which described the current situation this way….

“A few lawmakers proposed a bill that would prevent members and employees of Congress from trading securities based on nonpublic information they obtain. The legislation has languished since 2006.”

But even though insider trading is legal for members of Congress, they would never take advantage of the situation, would they?

Well, there is at least one study that seems to indicate that members of the U.S. Congress have been much more successful in the U.S. stock market than most members of the general public….

“A 2004 study of the results of stock trading by United States Senators during the 1990s found that that senators on average beat the market by 12% a year. In sharp contrast, U.S. households on average underperformed the market by 1.4% a year and even corporate insiders on average beat the market by only about 6% a year during that period. A reasonable inference is that some Senators had access to – and were using – material nonpublic information about the companies in whose stock they trade.”

But it isn’t just the members of Congress themselves that are using inside information to do well in the stock market.  According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, a significant number of Congressional staffers have also been involved in some questionable dealings….

“At least 72 aides on both sides of the aisle traded shares of companies that their bosses help oversee, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of more than 3,000 disclosure forms covering trading activity by Capitol Hill staffers for 2008 and 2009.”

The Wall Street Journal goes on to describe example after example of Congressional staff members that have made large profits from trades that could have been influenced by inside knowledge.

But should we be surprised?

The truth is that Congress exempts themselves from the laws that they pass on a regular basis.

Integrity is in real short supply up on Capitol Hill.

Is it any wonder that the approval rating for the U.S. Congress has been hovering around 20 percent?

Just think about that.

Approximately 80 percent of the American people are dissatisfied with Congress.

Our system of government is deeply corrupt and deeply broken.

So is there any hope for us?  Please feel free to leave a comment with your opinion….

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comments

  • http://www.connection2forex.com/ Eric

    And people wonder why some think both parties are the same?

  • http://www.debtconsolidationavenue.com/ Konic

    And then they go on cable news talking about how they will protect Americans from “corporate greed.”

  • http://www.idcredit.org/ Mark

    They all need to put their money into a blind trust just like the president does.

    Each gets a lottery number with a fund manager attached to that lottery number, and the fund manager has a number that represents the member of congress, but has no idea which member of congress.

    Staffers are a little different. They should disclose all brokerage accounts and any trade they make should occur 3 days after they have disclosed it to a public website.

  • http://www.rockfordremodeling.biz Freedom Builders

    @Konic The kettle calling who black. Totally agree about hypocrisy and blatant deception in most of our ‘elected’ officials. I was not much into politics until lately. I am a registered Republican. After doing some casual research over the past 20-30 years, I truly wonder just who really is for ‘We the People’ Appears most are either for big Corp control or big Gov control and step on the American Citizen

  • Sarge

    I am “Fed”-up with all of this BS. I have been very active in politics for years. I’ve contributed to certain nominees and until I learned better, to the Republican Party in general. I am exhausted with the current system. I’ve worked phone banks, gone door to door, put out signs and fliers. I’ve been to umpteen rallies to help make a “show of force” for the media and listen to the same speech and talking points until I can give it better than the candidate. All this gets us is a newly elected congressman or woman…..maybe. And then what? Any hopeful, CONSTITUTIONAL legislation gets dismissed or watered down to the point where its original object and purpose are no longer identifiable.

    Maybe the Borg are right and resistance is futile. But, I am a Southerner. A stubborn descendant of other stubborn Southerners who knew what the stakes were in the 1860s and made the good fight. So I will continue to resist and vote, although I will never contribute any more money to any campaign unless I come in to some large windfall comes my way.

    What we need is for something to shake up the system so we the people can set things right.

  • Justa Guy

    Want to shake up the system? Everybody needs to vote for independents. Imagine a congress where nobody was on the same “side” as anyone else, where the only things they had in common was that they were elected to the same office, and they were American citizens. Wow, a room with a bunch of American citizens from all walks of life, with no affilitation to each other or some “big brother” type of party. They would actually have to have open discussion and come to concensus, rather than the pre-packaged party rubbish that is, and has been, constantly pushed through because of their alliegence to the party.

  • Dean

    Do you think any congress-creatures have invested in Airport, radiation cancer causing x-ray machines.

  • Big Al

    They gotta have some walking around money! Getting from one plush cushion to another, is hard work!

  • Phoenix Goodman

    Thomas Paine, an American patriot, wrote “Common Sense” during the revolutionary war . This pamphlet roused Americans to discover the philosophical case for revolution and freedom. Jean-Jacques Rousseau laid out principles in his Social Contract of the ideal society and how we could achieve governance that best suited the needs of the entire populace. The Declaration of the Rights of Man were laid out prior to the French Revolution that specified exactly what was expected to result after the tyrannical monarchies are abolished. Isn’t it time for a 21st century manifesto that follow in the footsteps of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, of Common Sense, and of the Declaration of Independence? Isn’t it time for a second Enlightenment?

    Every couple of decades, a cause arises to stir the people in the ever perpetuating battle of tyrants over freedom and every couple of generations a cause so large emerges that entire paradigm shifts are brought about by the people, led by those with drive, creativity, and vision. Today, those tyrants are the perpetuators of our faux-democracy and their economic tyrant counterparts-the banking elite, both inexorably and perpetually advancing no other agenda than developing an ever-growing disparity of power and wealth. Slowly but surely, and ever more quickly, they erode all progress made by the revolutionaries of past that fought to overthrow the aristocracies, monarchies, and religious oppressors of the time.
    We are still part of the constant struggle of the General Will of society- a drive to progress the well-being for all of society, with the Particular Will- the drive to progress one’s own well being, even at the expense of others, and of society as a whole. Today, the vast majority of our politicians are driven not by the sincere need to better society, based on a value system of rationality but by their hypocritical allegiance to their selective constituents at the expense of society’s welfare. The banks- the financial circulatory system of our economy, are run not by those who wish to create an economy most conducive to the nation’s well-being but by those who run private industries that wield the power to manipulate the movement of money. When selfish people are in an industry that allows a concerted funneling of money into their pockets, what outcome do you expect? And no less, when these same institutions are backed by the very government that was founded to be one by the people and for the people, there is nothing other than absolute proof that corruption by any means have utterly destroyed the visions of the freedom fighters of our ancestors’ time. Society may always evolve towards higher and higher ends, but only when there are ample counter-points to the aspects of the society that are flawed. The greater embeddedness of the problem, the greater the counter-force necessary to root out the problem, until there is nothing left but revolution. Are we at that point yet? You decide. But are we even at close the momentum needed to provide true change? Without the possibility for debate, we are certainly not.
    So, at what point are we in this movement?
    The time where only the most dedicated are left, the point where the synergy of our most meritorious will effectively culminate into the next phase- the phase of leadership, the phase of vision, the phase of philosophy, the phase of change, the phase of the movement!

    Thus far, we have been successful at creating awareness of the general problem, and have inspired an entire generation to realize that our society is built to benefit the absurdly small minority of the population and that this must be changed for the sake of the advancement of civilization itself. We have been experiencing none other than a devolution into the aristocracies and despotic governance of the past- the very forces we transcended that arose into the Enlightenment.

    Now, Phase 2!

    Like Thomas Paine, Robespierre, Thomas Jefferson and the other brave freedom fighters of revolutions past, we must not only look to changing a regime (or a president) but look to the future, to higher heights, to a greater fulfillment of humanity’s potential by assessing the flaws of the status quo and through a dialectical debate, philosophy, and creativity devise a new system, one more perfect than the last. Don’t fall prey to the psychological manipulation that our elections provide the sufficient change we need. It is the very system that the elections are built on that must be changed. We must transform the fundamentals.
    I, the writer of this pamphlet can provide some ideas to begin with. But what needs to happen is this “leaderless movement” needs to develop not a single leader, but an entire collective of leaders. A movement of followers raises awareness. A movement of leaders changes everything. How can we become a movement of leaders? Write more pamphlets. Don’t just say “down with x” or espouse blind revolution. Let’s utilize the most potent force for change- the dissemination of ideas. Let’s do the most daring thing of all and not just elect representatives in our system, but actually change the system itself. Which of you reading this is a Rousseau or a Jefferson? Who of you will rise as a hero and change history?
    Let’s use crowdsourcing as well as the scientific method to discover what works based on a value system of rationality and the General Will. Both have proven effective in bringing change to technology and academia but have never been applied to governance and economics.
    Capitalism brought us great prosperity by empowering individual entrepreneurs to utilize their hard work and creativity to create solutions to needs, creating jobs and progressing technology. While these positive traits allow the fulfillment of entrepreneurs and incentive system for effective production, this ideology in pure, blind form has no impetus to treat people as human beings but merely as commodities. Completely unfettered, the impetus for few to enrich their power disproportionately lead to a highly stratified society of a rich upper-elite and the working masses with the exponential function of money begetting more money, as eventually all wealth is funneled upwards.
    The counter-point- Communism- was devised by Marx as an ideology directly concerned with addressing these issues and providing the so-called remedy. The outrageous fallacy in this ideology is that by denouncing it outright society would rise to higher fulfillment of humanity’s potential. Reversing the aspects of capitalism that are negative is absolutely necessary, but by denouncing it utterly, the positive parts become casualties- the freedom of entrepreneurs to empower themselves to invent, produce, create, and trade. Consequently, communism is plagued by cronyism and a stagnancy, eventually succumbing to the arbitrary whim of tyrants and an almost religious zealotry toward the State, (which is in the same category as monarchies, aristocracies, oligarchies and oppressive religion as enemies of freedom)
    Therefore, we see in history dialectic. Thesis-Antitheses. The answer lies not in nuanced changes in either, but in an entirely new model outright- a Synthesis. The best, most effectively run and legitimate government is a government of Meritocracy. Cronyism, nepotism, faux-elections are all enemies of legitimate government.
    The markets consist of businesses and individuals providing goods and services that fill a need in society. When the economy itself is hijacked by money manipulators under the guise of “Free-Markets” we are being none other than psychologically manipulated by language. It is an Orwellian attempt to induce a masochistic support of this system by the 99% who suffer from it. There is nothing “free” about allowing an elite minority of selfish individuals to wield the power of the economic well being of an entire society. What do these money-managers create? What are their innovations? How have they improved society? Their only creations and innovations are craftier and craftier techniques to move money around (into their own hands). Invariably, the consequence is a systematic transfer of wealth upwards. In the most blatant example of double-speak- trickle-up economics,was labeled as “trickle-down.” The implicit feeling that something isn’t right with these people and this system is ripe in all of us. But what many of us have thus-far failed to do is diagnose the disease; all we have done is address the symptoms.
    In our collective unconscious, in our culture, we have a pernicious construct: That money in and of itself is the outright measure of success and it is directly correlated to it- the richer you are, the more successful you necessarily are. It is this ingrained culture that empowers the oligarchs and banksters of Washington and Wall St to control society. When we subscribe to the mainstream-media endorsed precept that an overpaid money-manipulator on Wall St. making $20 million is somehow more successful than a Scientist that makes a breakthrough discovery, yet earns a “modest” $150,000 a year, we subscribe to a game rigged against society for the welfare of the elite few. Let’s change our culture, let’s change our standards, let’s change our minds.
    In 2008, a dilemma was faced- and the choice was to bail out the perpetrators of the collapse under the auspices that if they were left to fail then our system as a whole would fail. Does this not indicate in a painstakingly obvious way that the system itself is doomed in due time? A truly legitimate system would never need a bailout to maintain its perpetuity. Are we going to wait for the biggest economic crash in history before we take realization to this?
    Just as the scientific revolution and philosophy of the Enlightenment broke the shambles of religious persecution and monarchic control, it is time for a similar process of discarding what doesn’t work while perpetuating and devising what does, to our governance and to our society.
    Do not merely nod your head if you agree. Write your own pamphlet. Create your own philosophical idea. Disseminate the message. Debate. Get inspired by the brave revolutionaries of past.
    The culmination of unrest has begun. Now, the phase of leaders, ideas, vision, and true change will come. We will either die in oblivion, and the history of mankind will be told as a triumph of tyranny over enlightenment, or we will continue to fight teeth and nail to begin what is nothing short of a revolution. Don’t be a bystander, don’t be a follower who claims to be inspired by their heros. BE a hero yourself, inspire others, and write history.
    Let us explode with intellectual energy, a Jacobin club of the 21st century where ideas that completely overhaul the status quo take precedence in our actions and our consciousness, a second American Revolution- A second Enlightenment.
    -What is YOUR idea to eliminate the monetary system that enslaves you?
    -What is YOUR idea to disseminate the message?
    -What is YOUR idea on how we can create a new government system?
    -What is YOUR revised economic theory that espouses the betterment of humankind?
    -What is YOUR idea for a future system that has never been implemented, but represents the pinnacle of what humanity can ever achieve?

    Disseminate this message, add to it, improve it. Perfect it.
    The Movement