The Nationalization of Insider Trading. Reuters reports that the SEC is “investigating whether people may have illegally profited from trading on nonpublic information at BP Plc in the weeks and months following” the Deepwater Horzion oil spill.” Interestingly, the same story reports: “The U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission is also investigating whether BP properly disclosed information on risks related to its deepwater oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico.” So, the U.S. wants business employees to disclose all information relating to corporate risks. Indeed, it has shown a willingness to use multimillion-dollar payoffs to so-called whistleblowers . But the greatest collator of knowledge ever devised, the free market, is to be crippled by strict rules that prevent people who have secret information from profiting by it. Think of it as the nationalization of insider trading.
Don’t Outlaw Hustling. This story by Caitlin Nish of the WSJ (“ GAO Finds Deceptive Practices at For-Profits )  says that for-profit schools are about to come under legal scrutiny, even though “the schools weren't accused of fraud, but rather of misleading marketing.” This attempt to banish “misleading marketing” that does not amount to fraud brings up one of my hobby-horses: the central role of the hustler in America’s capitalist society. To quote myself:
“Hustler” is one of those peculiar words--like “cleave,” “husked,” and “impregnable”--that can mean both one thing and something very nearly its opposite. A hustler is, on the one hand, a worker who exhibits a lot of hustle—an extremely active, energetic, productive worker. On the other hand, a hustler is a fraud who produces nothing of value. The dual meaning of the word may well have its roots in the phenomenon of the entrepreneur. In a free-market culture, the entrepreneur is a leader—a trailblazer, an innovator, a man who pushes things forward. Economically speaking, however, the entrepreneur must be an outsider, because he must be someone who dissents from the market’s present valuation of goods and services. For both reasons, the entrepreneur tends to be a bit of an enthusiast, a visionary, and a dreamer. When his dreams come true, he is honored as a productive genius; when they do not, he is all too frequently damned as a fraud--and all too often he ends up in prison. 
 
The Rine in Spine. To parody one of my least-favorite columnists: The story: Post-adolescent capitalism-basher notes downside to Progressivism . “Zach” Goldfarb has declared the Maxine Waters case to be ‘another illustration of the risks of politicization when the government gets involved in investing in the private sector.’” Who: Why none other than the deeply unlearned Goldfarb himself: Princeton ’05 and author of the WaPo column “Market Cop: Corporate Crime, Wall Street Excess, and Government Watchdogs.” The takeaway: The rine in Spine sties minely in the pline. There is always hope. 
Number 2 Tries Harder. On July 22, Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise rated Connecticut attorny general Richard Blumenthal the second worst state AG in America (bested only by the 72-year-old General Moonbeam himself, Jerry Brown). But Blumenthal is still running for the U.S. Senate (despite having been exposed by Raymond Hernandez of the New York Times for having frequently misstated his military record ) and seems to think that becoming the absolutely #1 Worst Attorney General could put him over the top. How else can one explain his investigation into the agreements that Amazon and Apple have reached with five of the country’s book publishers. Take the very worst of 19th century economic thinking, apply it to the most exciting 21st century technologies, and apparently you have a recipe for demagoguery in liberal America.

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