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Michael Russnow

Michael Russnow

Posted March 16, 2009 | 05:41 AM (EST)

Lou Dobbs and His Ilk are Wrong: Why I Bought Stock Friday for the First Time in Years


I'm not an economist, though I did get a "B" in one course at CCNY. I submit, however, that Lou Dobbs, employed on and off at CNN for many years, is an inveterate right-wing naysayer and appears to be no more knowledgeable about the subject than I am.

He and his ilk in the media continue to rant about all the perceived Obama wrongdoing and have already declared the president's administration a failure after less than two months in office. How is this possible? Whatever you may think of the Obama plans for our economic revival, isn't it a bit too early to know whether any of it will work?

However, Dobbs and his conservative media pals have to maintain a rationale for paying them to spout on the airwaves, so they scream and flail about as CNBC's Jim Cramer did not long ago. Or they raise an eyebrow and gaze in the camera condescendingly, which is Lou Dobbs' trademark euphemism when he has nothing valid to say. He actually lambasted Obama for spreading himself thin when he announced new policies for stem cell research and health care. He accused the president of wasting time when Obama, no economist himself -- that's why he hires people in the know -- exercises leadership to effect goals and solutions for myriad problems our nation needs correcting.

People are dying or suffering from illnesses that might be cured or at least alleviated. Or are not receiving adequate care. For them, a fixed economy will do no good if they are dead or live their lives in misery. The president is not and should never be a one-trick pony.

But because the economy is still in shambles, the Republicans shamelessly point to the Obama administration with a doomsday scenario, citing the continuing mountain of job losses piling up as proof positive the Obama policies aren't working.

Hold on just a darned minute. Whether you agree with Obama or not and whether you feel his associates don't know what they're doing, it's just a tad bit early to ascribe blame to him for the enduring problems. If there's no improvement by July, maybe. By next December, certainly. But most people, not those simply concerned with building ratings by fomenting political opposition in an unreasonable time frame, would agree the jury is still out whether the recently passed stimulus package will yield results.

Christ, unemployment checks with the extra fifty bucks only started appearing in mailboxes last week. The help pledged to the mortgage and banking industries clearly hasn't had time to work or fail.

However, it is a fact Obama and his team are trying and have announced plans, which have instilled a level of hope. They're employing strategies to get us out of the economic mire caused by the previous administration's screwed up economic policy and extraordinarily costly, unnecessary war.

The markets are reacting -- perhaps in a short-lived burst of optimism and/or the reality that there are bargains to be had all around. As someone previously burned in the stock market through my own fault and overzealous stockbrokers, I took special note when the nightly newscasters announced blue chip company stocks were selling at rock bottom prices.

I sensed this was a chance to make a killing at little risk to myself, but unfortunately waited a few days too many before opening a brokerage account. I opted to buy on the cheap, choosing Charles Schwab as my investment company, and, raring to go, became anxious when my stock choice, Citigroup, went up forty cents from earlier in the week when it was just over a dollar.

Still, at $1.54 it was only going to cost about fifteen hundred dollars if I acted fast, so I rushed to the Schwab office with a $2,000 check and uncharacteristically got up at 6:15 the next morning to await the opening bell in New York. To my chagrin, the opening price was $1.83 -- up from a close of $1.67 the night before.

I watched the stock go up and down a few pennies, alarmed to hear Citigroup had made a positive announcement. This had nothing to do with my decision to buy, which was based solely on the fact it was so cheap. However, now I had competition and unhappily the stock moved upwards, moving all the way to $1.89. I hesitated. It's got to come down, I thought, and so I waited and it did. However, not to the level of $1.78 recently seen. I waited a bit more as it went up and down a few pennies, and then, because I'm a bit green, I grabbed it at $1.83, fearing it might move over two dollars.

Naturally, the stock fell and then rose. Damn. I could have gotten it for a bit less. I went back to bed and later, to my horror, I learned it had fallen to $1.64 briefly a few hours later until finally closing at $1.78 -- five cents lower than I'd purchased. Oh, well, at least I didn't buy it at the high mark, and it went up eleven cents from the previous day, a gain of 6.5%.

You see I'm in this for the long haul. Not just to make a profit of a few hundred dollars. I'm hopeful the stock will revert to its high of $27 or so a year ago. Or higher perhaps. It may go down today or tomorrow. I'm in no particular hurry, and though I wouldn't want to lose the $1,843 I invested I'm prudent enough that it won't kill me if I lose it all. That said, I don't believe this will happen, because I have faith in this country and can't believe a huge bank like Citigroup will go under. I'll keep you abreast from time to time, or check the listings yourself. Better yet, buy Citigroup and drive the price up!

Michael Russnow's website is www.ramproductionsinternational.com