A couple of months ago we mentioned in this space the unsavory details of our latest Congressional exercise in abstruse logic. They are so frequent in an election year that it’s hard to differentiate one from another. But occasionally members of Congress manage to outdo even themselves.
Delaying action to curtail Congress and other government insiders from investing on the basis of material, nonpublic information is one such occasion. Which begs the question: Is there a reason we shouldn’t care whether information gained by virtue of privileged government position is used to front-run other investors? Or, even better, is there an honest explanation of why such activity is not really insider trading? It’s a resounding “no” on both counts.
We are so numb in this country to political corruption that few things surprise us any longer. It is so innate to our process, we barely flinch. As a result, initial outrage is swift but fleeting, and any proposed reforms often are doomed to abandonment, or watered-down legislation.
By now, we all know that complaining about Congress or revealing embarrassing transgressions won’t accomplish much. Worse yet, we seem willing to accept the futility of reform and that we lack one iota of impact on making a course direction. Members of Congress not only understand this, they’re counting on it.
Social media buffs take note. We need to send a blunt message to members of Congress to eliminate the unfair advantage they have over the average investor. I encourage you to occupy the inboxes and Twitter accounts of your government representatives with this simple message: “Stop trading on Congressional insider information now.”