Frugal Friday: We Just Got Blindfolded by the Government Edition
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Happy Friday everyone! It’s been another fast and frenzied week, but I have come to expect that these days. Awhile back I decided to take this Friday post in a different direction and discuss something that happened in the “news” that week, whether it be quirky, ridiculous or just plain interesting. Today is not one of those times. What I am writing about today makes me mad. I try my best to keep politics out of my writing, though I know I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. What I am writing about today is something that got buried in the media and that’s the gutting of the STOCK Act. The STOCK Act (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) was something that came about roughly a year ago after 60 Minutes revealed legal insider trading practices done by a variety of elected officials at the national level. Insider trading involves making stock trades off of material, non-public information. Elected officials and their staffs can execute trades off of information revealed during the legislative process – information not available to the general public. Does anyone remember what happened to Martha Stewart? She went to federal jail for something very similar. The STOCK Act was supposed to make it easy for the public to see when elected officials were doing that. It’s gutting equates to a public blindfolding.
What makes me mad is that when Obama first signed it there was broad support for it and they made all sorts of hoopla about it. Heck, Senator Elizabeth Warren practically campaigned on it. I thought it was a great move and what I liked most about it was a national, sortable and searchable database that would house financial disclosures and stock trading of elected officials, staffers, aides, lobbyists and on down the line. While maybe not perfect, at least it was some sort of victory for transparency and was seen as the media educating the public who in turn actually pushed the government into doing something right. Fast forward a year, and much of the Act has been gutted. You’d think with all the fanfare that was surrounding the Stock Act that there would’ve been equal discussion about it being gutted. Wrong. The news was buried in a one sentence statement on the White House’s website. With the gutting of the STOCK Act it leaves only the elected officials as the ones who’ll have to report the covered information which will be “published” in an unsorted, unsearchable database that I am sure will be less than easy to use. Call me a cynic, but I think this will only lead to continued shady deals and the potential for even more stock trades to be done with material, non-public information. This reeks so bad that it stinks. At least when it comes to stock trading, there appears to be two sets of standards…one for them and one for the rest of us.
I’d love to say that it was one party that is guilty of trying to defeat this, but the bill was gutted with broad, bipartisan support. Both sides of the aisle acquiesced in regards to removing the teeth from this bill and I guess that should not surprise me. In the end, I believe that we only have ourselves to blame. We (and I am using “we” collectively here) continue to re-elect these clowns election after election. The fact that the announcement was buried should tip us off to the fact that they knew it would be wildly unpopular. However, this is the name of the game when it comes to politics and really should come as no surprise to us that a different standard is held for some. I am not naïve enough to say that if you call your congressperson something will be done about it. You can do that, but I highly doubt that will be effective. Where we need to voice our concern is at the ballot box on Election Day. Like a consumer who votes with their wallet over a company they do not support, we need to let our voices be heard with our vote. Things like this will only continue to occur until we make our voices heard with our vote. When we continue to see ordeals like this go on, then it is our responsibility to make our voice be heard. End Rant! 🙂
Thank you for listening to me while I got that out! It has been an eventful week in the blogosphere. To all those that voted for me in the Free Money Finance March Money Madness tournament, I thank you. I was fortunate enough to make it to the Final Four and lost in that round. I never thought I’d make it that far, so it was an honor to be included amongst the select few. Another highlight this week was that I hired my first staff writer! I know some might see it as too early in my blogging journey, but it is the next natural transition for Frugal Rules. When I started this blog it was always my intention to start a community of like-minded individuals who’re committed to helping others make better financial decisions, so I am pretty excited for my new staff writer to start next month.
Amidst my busyness this week I was still able to read some great blog posts. I always hate narrowing them down, but that’s half the fun. If you have the time this weekend, I encourage you to check out some of these blog posts as I can pretty much guarantee you’ll either learn something new or be encouraged.
Blog Post of the Week
Frugality: My New Normal on Budget and the Beach
I loved this post by Tonya as I can relate so much to it. Tonya’s final statement sums up the blog post best for me: “Nothing recklessly purchased feels as good as financial security.” I could not agree more. In my spend-happy days I thought that the shiny new whatever would bring me happiness. What I didn’t know then is that happiness wears off very quickly and you only have bills that stick around. Tonya describes the “financial awakening” she went through to get her finances in order and having gone through that in the past myself I know how that can change your perspective in regards to spending money and where you find happiness. Like Tonya, becoming frugal did not happen overnight for me, but I am definitely glad I was able to make that change. If you’re dealing with facing difficulties in regards to spending money, take it from me – the hard work of transforming your habits will be worth it in the long run.
Other Blog Posts That Ruled
Quotes for Authors: Stephen King on Writing on Fearless Men
The Potential Dangers of Stop Loss Orders on Money Bulldog
Almost Frugal on Girl Meets Debt
Extreme Retirement is Fool’s Gold! on Krant Cents
We Don’t Have a Plan For Retirement…Yet on The Frugal Path
Confession: I Avoided the Millennial Curse on Broke Millennial
Free Online Coupon Codes on Modest Money
Why Real Estate is One of the Best Ways to Make Money on Make Money Your Way
Odd Search Terms
How to become rich with no money…rob a bank (I kid I kid)
Ferrari and a frugal lifestyle…Umm, I don’t know where to start with this one
Girl, do you buy your clothes at Wal-Mart…Not a question I suggest asking!
I have a smell when I scratch my head…May I suggest some shampoo?
Penny stocks that can make you rich…I’ve got a bridge I can sell you as well!
What the F#!$ have I done I quit my job…I know that feeling all too well!
Shopping at Wal-Mart makes me feel dirty…I feel the same way!
Frugal barrel ideas…Nothing says frugality like a good barrel!
Does it surprise you that news like the Stock Act being gutted isn’t a major headline? What fun things do you have planned for this weekend?
Photo courtesy of: Left-Hand