MF Global and the 99 Percent

As Occupy Chicago blocks the LaSalle Bridge and tens of thousands of protestors take to the streets of New York, one of the One Percent lets off some 99 Percent steam about MF Global and his missing money.

Occupy Chicago

 

As you’ve probably heard, Occupy Chicago protesters briefly shut down the LaSalle Street bridge yesterday evening, and 46 of them were ticketed; the protest later headed to the Thompson Center. It’s nothing like what happened in New York, where five times as many protesters were arrested, but it was a pretty good crowd, as you can see in the videos (h/t @MrJM).

While all this was going on, I was reading a letter railing at a firm and the screwed-up, unjust system that enabled it:

So congratulations, even in the dark days of Hank Paulson and his ummm-how to put this delicately, “… you are all screwed anyway…” policy – none of the Oligarchs had descended to just outright theft. Even Madoff had the class to run a proper Ponzi scheme requiring charisma, finesse and time.

[snip]

Just for fun, I like to speculate on what the Oligarchs think will happen once they get all the loot and leave the smoldering remains of a once great country….

[snip]

In short – if the Oligarchs think they are going to flee to a life of opulence, they will be bitterly disappointed.

Oligarchs! Theft! Hank Paulson! Once great country! Clearly a 99 Percenter is angry.

Only the anonymous writer, according to one of my favorite econ blogs, The Big Picture, is assuredly one of the one percent: a big-shot trader with one hundred thousand dollars in the accounts, or wreckage thereof, of MF Global, the newly bankrupt trading firm. $100k doesn’t sound like it’s that much for the trader, and it’s not a lot of the money that’s still missing, about $600 million by the most recent figures. And reports are starting to trickle out that the majority of investors’ money is gone, not to mention over a thousand jobs split between Chicago and New York, though a couple hundred will get paid to sift through the ashes. (Though it’s mostly disappeared back to the pages of the business press, here’s how MF Global blew itself up.)

Also not receiving as much money as they want: the regulators at the CFTC, the department tasked with finding the money. Then again, William Cohan argues that the whole thing could have been prevented if one trading rule hadn’t been changed in 2000 and again in 2004 in 2005. The New York Times has a good rundown on the hunt for Captain Corzine’s missing treasure chest, though “used customer cash improperly” is a, um, genteel way of describing what’s alleged to have happened.

 

Photograph: Chicago Tribune

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