Sunday, June 28, 2009

Humor and Not So Funny

Mark Twain said something about humor was the only thing going for mankind. Here is something along that vein:

For those who prefer the serious:

“A commodity index, like an index for the stock market, such as the Dow Jones
Industrial Average or the S&P 500, is calculated according to the prices of selected
commodity futures contracts which make up the index. Commodity index traders sell
financial instruments whose values rise and fall in tune with the value of the commodity
index upon which they are based. Index traders sell these index instruments to hedge
funds, pension funds, other large institutions, and wealthy individuals who want to invest or speculate in the commodity market without actually buying any commodities. To
offset their financial exposure to changes in commodity prices that make up the index and the value of the index-related instruments they sell, index traders typically buy the futures contracts on which the index-related instruments are based. It is through the purchase of these futures contracts that commodity index traders directly affect the futures markets.”

Subcommittee Chair Carl Levins said” that excessive speculation in commodity indexes has created great losers.”

Dairy farmers tend to be buyers of grain. No one can say if dairy farmers have benefited from grain subsidies by way of lower price dairy ration or have lost by way of former Senator Phil Gramm and the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000 which allowed the speculators in the exchanges to run rampant.

Phil Gramm serves as Vice Chairman and a member of UBS Investment Bank of UBS AG, a European bank which has received a bundle of U.S. bailout money. Gramm’s wife, Wendy Lee Gramm served on the board of Enron and until recently, on the Board of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

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