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Significant Details: What Can You Trust?

April 7, 2014

First was total disbelief, followed by bargaining, then despair and finally anger.
Acceptance will never be part of the equation, because I feel duped, tricked, misled and stupid for not seeing the “truth” that was recently revealed.
News stories spelled out the source of my angst: “Wall Street is Rigged,” the screaming headlines screamed. “Traders Get Rich, Investors Get Ripped Off.”
Yeah, I know. Hard to believe, right? Wow. Crazy talk. And who knew? Anyone see that coming? Not me.
I never ever doubted that stock and bond trading and swapping and indexing and option short-selling was done on the up-and-up by smart, ethical, hard-working folks whose motives were as pure as the driven snow and whose one-and-only goal was to make American Capitalism work for the little guy and remain the Rock-Solid Foundation of the World Economy.
I guess I was wrong. It seems stock traders with fast computers get inside information and in a split second sell or buy huge chunks of stocks just so they can make tons of money. That’s a stunning revelation, a real shocker, right? Again, hard to believe that’s what’s happening.
Meanwhile, us average schmucks are told to “do your homework,” by reading reams of reports and financial statements and stock charts and on and on and on, all of which makes stock picking sound like a logical, even scientific operation.
But noooo. It looks like it’s all luck. You can only hope that, by the luck of the draw, your IRA or mutual fund is in the hands of a swindler who is sleazier than the competition and whose computer cheats faster than theirs.
Boy, that revelation sure shattered my illusions.
As I was picking up those shattered shards of my former reality, I started to wonder if other things were “rigged.”
It didn’t take long on the Internet, which is the font of all wisdom, to find something that, much to my surprise, is also “rigged.”
Gambling. Yeah. Really. I’m not kidding. Gambling on cards or dice or slot machines is also “rigged.” It’s set up so you almost always lose money. Wow, again. And who knew, again? And, you gotta be kidding me, again.
Shooting craps was supposed to be all about the wrist action when throwing the dice. But it’s actually random; you can’t make dice do anything but roll. Bet we all wish we’d have known that a couple years ago, right? And poker? Watch those TV poker tournaments and you’re sure poker is a card game of skillful and strategic bluffing and betting. But noooo. Groups of cards are dealt out at random, so there’s no “scientific” poker plan. It’s mainly luck. Even worse are slot machines, which are actually computers these days, and they are programmed, programmed I tell you, to give out less money than they take in. That’s a shocker, right? They’re rigged. That’s just plain wrong, right?
Those shocking and gut wrenching revelations about gambling make the stock market look like a better bet.

(Jon Klusmire of Bishop is gambling on being able to take his tongue out of his cheek in the near future.)

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