The saga of Reddit investors deciding to cost hedge funds tens of billions of dollars continues apace (see Reddit Trolls Beat the Stock Market, and the Elites are Really, Really Mad). If you haven’t been paying attention, the original story involved hedge funds getting in way too deep trying to short GameStop. This came after a “tip” was shared on CNBC in an effort to push down the value of the company. That provided an opportunity for the Wall Street Bets sub-Reddit to take matters into their own hands. They banded together and starting buying up the stock, raising it’s price and nailing the hedge funds who couldn’t borrow enough to keep the float going.
The chaos set off a flurry of activity in the markets, including some extremely corrupt machinations by trading sites. Earlier today, Robinhood, Ameritrade, and others shut down down trading of GME, AMC, and several other stocks that had been targeted (see Dave Portney Goes Nuclear on Robinhood After the App Shuts Down Trading to Protect the Elite). This pushed the price down, allowing the hedge fund managers to reposition and recover. In other words, the elites stepped in to help the elites by changing the rules in the middle of the game because we simply don’t have a real free market. Rather, we have a market tailored for a certain class, and if the normals get to close, the hammer comes down.
Meanwhile, the billionaires are crying about “retail” investors messing up their party (see Billionaire Hedge Funder Freaks the Heck Out on CNBC Over Reddit Investors). Fox News’ Charles Payne had something to say about that in a rebuke that is so heated, it’s almost funny.
Fox’s Charles Payne EXPLODES over Wall Street ‘Whining’ Over Skyrocketing GameStop Stock: “It’s Making Me Sick!” pic.twitter.com/KatesTapUy
— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) January 28, 2021
As Payne points out, 140% of Gamestop was short. That’s insane. That means more of the company’s value was shorted than exists. The goal on Wall Street was to short the company at a ridiculous rate and then rush to cable news to make pronouncements that would influence behavior and force the price down even further. At that point, the hedge funds would buy the stock, pay off the short, and make out like bandits. Meanwhile, thousands of people would lose their jobs as GameStop collapses.
All of this is perfectly legal, of course. I’m not even morally opposed to it. If the market allows you to make money a certain way, then by all means. Yet, I’m firmly in the camp that believes the rules should apply equally to everyone. If hedge funds want to try to short a company and push for it’s demise, they should pay the piper if that maneuver goes downhill. They shouldn’t be protected from taking the losses they rightfully earned by getting way out over their skis.
Payne took another shot on Twitter later, hitting Robinhood for their corrupt, possibly illegal behavior.
Don’t call yourself Robin Hood if you are going to turn your back on the folks in Sherwood forest after one phone call from the Sheriff of Nottingham@RobinhoodApp #RobinHood
— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) January 28, 2021
These trading sites try to present themselves as a portal for the little guy, but they are bought and paid for like all the rest. When push came to shove, Robinhood showed who they really care about, and it’s not their formerly massive customer base of amateur traders. Sure, they were more than happy to make money off those people, but when daddy Wall Street came calling, they bent the knee and manipulated the market to ensure the elites didn’t lose their shirt.
It is what it is, and it’s exactly the kind of thing that is going to lead to another populist revolution like we saw in 2016. If establishment Republicans were hoping that sentiment would fade, a group of investors on Reddit just killed that idea. People are restless, they are sick of being taken advantage of, and they want a level playing field.