“THE MONEY TREE”
by Sherman H. Skolnick 07/02/01
Some generations had favorite sayings. As a warning against foolish spending, an oldster would say to a youngster, “What do you think, money grows on trees?” It was as much words of caution—perhaps even wisdom—as an expression of exasperation.
From time to time, I intend to deal with the fables and fairy tales of finance, under the title, “The Money Tree”. You can figure out which is the latest by the date.
A virtual impossiblity is to try to be objective about one’s own position in the world of money. Who dares stop and realize that there will always be business cycles. And, depending where one is born at what point in such a cycle has a lot to do with one’s “career”. Yes, some graybeards point out that some important businesses were somehow started, against great odds, in “The Great Depression”. But those are rare exceptions.
The “long-haul investment” advice, where does it come from? Maybe from the same folks who formed the Flat Earth Committee. [Hey, I heard there was such a fellow, who died recently, who headed a group that believed the Earth was not round.]
In the 1930s, you could tell what neighbors were once stock and bond brokers. They would be seen, with no coat, walking into the winter wind, in a threadbare version of the last of their good and expensive suits. They were more an object of ridicule than sympathy. After all, the Wall Street Journal, about 1935, came within a hair of bankruptcy.
Skepticism is often the child of adversity. When a chain of brokerage offices sends out, worldwide, a “buy” signal, who really asks questions? Such as  Do the senior partners of your brokerage have a warehouse back there loaded with this stock, ready to unload on the public? And  Why offer it to ME? Don’t you have a cousin or mother-in-law to offer it to?
As head of a research and investigation group for four decades, devoted to the public interest, I together with my colleagues study finance and banks. Why? Because the important judges, such as in the federal court, appointed for life, often own and operate banks. Or, are secretly tied to banking empires. And the Banker-Judges do NOT disqualify themselves when their bank is in their tribunal. Guess who wins in their crooked Court? Through hard work and hard knocks, we have succeeded in sending some important banker-judges if not into jail, at least into oblivion.
Some well-meaning sorts ask me a quick way to do such things, like in ten words or less, quickly, like on the way to catch a bus. The compiling of a million documents, tapes, books, and such, over four decades—a treasury of data—is a start. Unearthing high-level corruption is tedious work. So is the study of banker-judges.
I never seem to be amazed at the companies, once wonders of the world, who appear to be headed for Chapter 11 in the Doomsday Book
===Lucent Technologies, an offshoot of AT&T.
They appear trying to bail themselves out by selling off their “family jewels”, their ostensibly good assets. In the current era, cynics say the Bankruptcy Court should be privitized. Why? They want to buy stock in a sure thing.