May 8, 2009
I don't understand why it is necessary to sell more of something than what you own. Short selling allows a few market savvy speculators to beat down an otherwise strong stock, for purely self-serving profit. Short selling releases an unpredictable market force that has the ability to panic investors at the profit of those that started the rout.
We must decide if this is going to be a marketplace for investors or speculators. We have seen the greed of speculators in the real estate market which has driven down our home values. Most of us with 401K plans as our only pension source have already seen the "Tech Bubble" burst, watch our investment diminish through the corporate malfeasance of the late 1990s and the terrorist attacks on our homeland. We don't need or want other greedy forces working in the marketplace that will ravage our already beat down retirement accounts.
I'm not sure who said it, but it sounds right, "A speculator is someone who sells you something that he doesn't have, and you don't need". I think that speculators mixed with amateur investors leads to unfair competition. One way to rein in their enthusiasm is to reimpose the up-tick rule or some other mechanism that will limit when and how short selling can be used.