“GameStop” & Donald Trump Are the Same — Both Hijacked a Rigged Game

Is America Up to the Task of Reforming Both the GOP and the Options Markets?

Thom Hartmann

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Photo by Alec Favale on Unsplash

GameStop and Donald Trump are the same thing.

In both cases, outsiders saw a decaying, billionaire-run and corrupt insider-only system, figured out how it worked, and used that system’s own corruption against it.

In the case of GameStop, it was the Robinhood app’s relatively small technological innovation, or at least a business innovation, making it easy for average middle-class people to day-trade in the options market with virtually no fees and a friendly interface.

These “average person” outsiders on Reddit discovered that the stock options betting market had been cornered and rigged by a few dozen billionaires and their hedge funds, so they used Robinhood to place massive option bets against the billionaires, swinging the market itself.

Options trading started out as an important part of our economy, particularly for farmers, railroads and food processors. Farmers would sell an option to buy crops they’d just planted in the hopes of predictably getting a decent price for their work when their crops came in in the fall. Such commodity trades let railroads anticipate load and guaranteed food processors the time and price of the raw materials.

That kind of commodity option trading is still done in a few markets, like airlines buying jet fuel before it’s even produced, but these days most of the options market (which has expanded from commodities to stocks) is just rich guys gambling.

The hedge fund billionaires’ corner of the options market playground doesn’t “lubricate the wheels of commerce” or do much of anything else useful in the real world, rarely adding actual value to anything in the economy, all while skimming billions into their own pockets.

The outsiders said, “Screw that!” and marched in and took over their own little corner of the stock options market, hugely upsetting the billionaires’ poker game.

Donald Trump essentially did the same thing with the Republican party.

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Thom Hartmann

America’s #1 progressive talk show host & NY Times bestselling author. Thom’s writings also appear at HartmannReport.com.