Roll back the clock four or five years...

The people who go to work on Wall Street, or in a den in their retirement castle on some mountaintop… the ones who sit in front of a computer all day and play the market — those people were heroes, titans, masters of the universe.

Venture capitalists were the people who were going to turn information and ideas into wealth. It wasn't necessary to sweat any more. Just pop a good idea, get the market to fund it, and you were off to the races and your well-larded retirement.

Now we find out that the crooks were in there pumping the stock to exercise their options, getting huge piles of cash out and then leaving the shell of a stock teetering in the breeze, waiting for something to wander by and push it over.

It was said back then that the little guy couldn't move the market much. That the big fund managers were the ones who made the market go up with their billions in assets, and their multi-million-dollar buy orders.

So now we're finding out something else... that the little guy can make the market move... down. And if the little guy thinks he's being taken to the cleaners, he can call his broker, yell sell and sit on the sidelines with what little cash he's got left.

If all he's got is a 401k, he can call his broker and tell the broker to move his investments into the money market, and sit things out.

I don't know that this is what's causing all this downward movement in the market, but I suspect it is.

People who got their retirement funds whacked in half — or worse, by the crooks who looted companies with cooked books — are saying, "Get me into cash."

And they're waiting... waiting ... waiting…  for the president to put some people in jail, and for the market to make some moves like Coke did today. Take stock options off the table as a way to reward CEO's, or at least reduce the chance that stock options can eat up your holdings in silence, like termites eat a house.

The little guy is having his revenge on this market, and it might be a while before he lets the smart guys — the ones he now identifies as crooks — to have another go with his money.

That's My Word.

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