Ha, I just noticed I have been blogging for 8 years. I started on Jan 12, 2010 and my first post was about the ineptitude of Tim Geithner at the US Treasury. I had written a couple of articles for sites like American Thinker and Pajamas Media. Those were on the after-effects of the financial crisis. I was against the bailout of the big banks, and against the ensuing wave of regulation that washed ashore. Dodd-Frank remains one of the worst things ever passed in the history of the United States. If you think populism started with Trump, you have to do a little research. Any politician that voted against the bailout, like Rep Peter Roskam, took a lot of heat. Any politician that voted against the regulatory state which was created to “make sure it never happens again” took even more heat.
As it turns out, people like Peter did the right thing.
The reason I started blogging was to educate people on how capital markets really work. No one knows. I remember once I asked a stockbroker if he thought every order he sent to be filled was executed competitively on the floor of an exchange. He did. How wrong he was. Unfortunately, people still don’t understand how markets work. In the 8 years since I started blogging, I’d say there are less understanding and faith in free markets than there ever has been. In fact, I’d wager at least a third if not more of the Democratic Party is okay with socialism if support for Bernie Sanders and other programs are an indication.
When I was at CME, I was a part of their political action organization. You’d be amazed at the lack of understanding Congress has on our market system. Not everyone, but a lot of folks. It’s not party-centric necessarily. Barney Frank didn’t understand free markets, but an old retired representative John LaFalce had a very clear grasp of them.
I don’t know if I have had any effect. Occasionally, I would see things that I wrote about being written about in other publications a few days later. It used to bug me but it was probably just my own confirmation bias. Just like with startups, if you think you are the only one in the world with that idea you are probably wrong. However, I know with some people I have had an effect. When I travel, I meet them. I was in Turkey and met a guy who read my blog and followed me on Twitter. We had a nice time and shared a couple of beers. I went shooting in Texas when I met some people. They had a startup idea that was pretty cool and I hope they executed on it. Blogging has made the world a smaller place.
I certainly have had some opinions on my blog that were wrong. That’s okay. It’s my blog and you cannot be right 100% of the time. One of the things I love to see is some streams on sites like Stocktwits. Many prognosticators often put out their recs for markets ex post facto. They never seem to make a mistake.
My blog is now about whatever I want to blog about. I was stimulated to write this post because Ann Althouse wrote that she had been blogging for 15 years. I don’t know Ann. Never met her. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin and is a law professor there. I feel like I know her a little. I hope you feel like you know me a little now too. I have changed some opinions and others have gotten stronger.
I do my best now to try and not be overtly political on my blog. I have run into problems with discrimination because of it. It’s sometimes been really painful. It’s caused me to search myself to see if I should even stay in Chicago. Often, the discrimination has been blatant and hurt me professionally. Chicago is a very blue town. Not only that, Chicago is really where the heart of the socialist/communist movement started in the US and there are true believers here. Many times the people that discriminate aren’t even conscious that they are engaging in it. But, there have been several times where they say, “I can’t do business because you are a Republican, or conservative, or free market”. Sad.
The fact that there is discrimination in companies like Google didn’t surprise me in the least. I was listening to a podcast by Russ Roberts at EconTalk. In it, Cass Sunstein (no conservative) said that research showed that when three-judge panels were split between two conservatives and one liberal, or two liberals and one conservative, even though they knew they had a majority their opinions tended to be even more tilted to their ideology when deciding cases. Certainly, the intensity has ratcheted up a lot of notches over the last year. I don’t fear for my life but I would if I was a public official.
I do have a lot of liberal friends. Some are socialists. A few of my conservative friends wonder why I would even engage with them. I see both tribes stratifying and I think we would be in a shooting war already if we had clear borders like we did in 1860. My liberal friends help me understand some things I might not see. What I often find is if I get enough information, you can find a free market way to solve the problem. They don’t like it because they like to be in control. Free markets force people into areas of uncertainty-and no one is comfortable with that. Especially when it comes to very hot button emotionally charged issues where facts are truly muddy. I have lost some liberal friends because of my blog. It’s okay.
However, we are driving ourselves steadily into two tribes. That will not end well. Many of the issues that divide us do not have much compromise in them. Where there are points of compromise, neither side can see their way clear to make them.
I used to do a lot of little blogposts every day. Now I wake up in the morning and do just one. I think it’s better that way. Putting constraints on yourself enhances creativity. I see that over and over again. If the world is your oyster and you can do anything you want you wind up not doing anything. I used to check my statcounter but now I hardly check it at all.
I get a lot of my news off of blogs. I read a lot of blogs that I know I will disagree with. I follow a diverse group on Twitter. The news media has been so disrupted by the internet and by their bias it’s not worth watching or reading them anymore.
If you come and read and I compelled you to think about something, great. I am here to help. I am glad you get something out of it. If you have something to add, I always appreciate a comment. If you feel the urge to share it, great. If you feel outraged when you read it-that’s okay. The world is large enough. Hopefully it at least makes you think or consider some other way. One of the things the University of Chicago taught me was that smashing ideas together was and is a great idea. I have seen some Chicago debates among “experts”, and they are not prim and proper. They aren’t insulting either, but they will make you uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable is okay, it makes you think.