Insider Trading versus Being an Idiot

Published March 21, 2020

Apparently knowing the coronavirus would soon wreak havoc on the stock market, some people in government sold off millions of dollars of stock just before the market crashed. Was this “insider trading?” Sure sounds like it, especially if the knowledge came from closed briefing sessions.

HOWEVER, let’s play devil’s advocate. If you owned millions in stock and learned that something was about to happen that would cause stocks to crash, would you keep your stock? What is a person supposed to do is this situation? If you sell, it’s insider trading. But if you don’t, you’re an idiot.

I don’t know the law, but something is wrong if you’re forced to hold stock you know is about to lose much of its value just because you know it is about to lose much of its value. I can understand not being allowed to buy stock that you know is likely to skyrocket based on inside information. But to be required to sit back and watch your portfolio self-destruct doesn’t seem right either.

Of course, I never really understood the stock market despite working for a number of publicly held companies. It always just seemed like legalized gambling to me. But I digress.

Given that the accused are Republicans, it would be easy for me and other Democrats to pounce on this. More corruption from a party led by and beholden to a corrupt president is another opportunity to pile on. But this isn’t about politics. There are Dems who would and possibly did the same thing.

Again, I’m just asking: What are people is this situation supposed to do? What would you do?