Friday, August 21, 2015

Possible Stock Market Treason

Months ago I saw a rumor that some crooked billionaires had worked out a scheme to profit from a stock market crash.  At the time I thought it must be just an urban legend.  No one could be so stupid as to try to crash the stock market, particularly while the nation is at war.  Now I'm not so sure it's just an urban legend. 

Ron Paul and other hucksters are advertising that we should follow their advice to avoid the economic debacle they claim is coming.   Someone needs to tell these dopes that if they succeed in causing an economic panic they could face prison or worse.

The United States is in a war with the terrorist groups al Qaeda and ISIS.   Wars are not just fought with bullets and bombs.  Damaging an enemy's economy can also be a weapon of war.

Al Qeada's 9/11 attack didn't just kill people.  It temporarily damaged the U.S. economy.   Terrorist groups could use a major American economic calamity as evidence that the United States is finished and they are going to win.   Such a claim could be a powerful recruiting tool.

If people were to cause a stock market crash, they would in effect be "giving aid and comfort to the enemy"(i.e., committing treason).  

Stock market "panics" are as much, if not more, psychological events rather than economic events.   Getting people to believe a crash will occur can be a deliberate attempt to cause the crash.  Predicting a crash can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In time of war an American President such as Barack Obama could charge those involved in crashing the market with treason regardless of whether they were motivated by greed or actually wanted to help an enemy of the United States.   Action might involve more than just criminal prosecution.   If individuals are "giving aid to an enemy", government could convince the courts to allow confiscation of their economic assets to prevent the assets from being transferred to the enemy.

Spreading rumors of imminent stock market crashes can be considered the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater and the United States Supreme Court has said yelling fire in a theater is not protected by the first amendment.    This fact means that any television station, newspaper,  online media site, etc.  that provides a forum for spreading such rumors could be prosecuted as a "co-conspirator".

Congress needs to examine this situation to see if legislation is needed to discourage any economic problems or to provide additional grounds for prosecution.  

No comments: