Blogs > Liberty and Power > No Justice for Martha

Mar 17, 2004 11:09 pm

No Justice for Martha

I have an internet friend, Kenny Rodgers, who has very a left leaning political viewpoint and when I received an email from Ilana Mercer with a exceptionally good article about Martha Stewart I forwarded it to him with the following note.


What happened to Martha Stewart was totally wrong, and we are never going to get anywhere politically in this country until people stop envying the rich. Do you know how many people were able to put bread on their tables because of her? They canceled her TV show; all those people are out of work. Her stock tanked, all those pension funds lost money. If you read the article below you will see that she really did not do anything wrong, nothing that you or I would not have done under the same circumstances. When injustice happens to someone, whether they are rich or poor, it happens to all of us. All of this harm just to serve the ambition of a government lawyer. That is why I believe that while government may be necessary, it is also by its very nature evil.


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Keith Halderman - 3/18/2004

As Ilana Mewrcer explained in her article Martha Stewart did not committ any crime. She wrote, "the government didn't charge Ms. Stewart with insider trading, although it was not for lack of trying, but, rather, for lack of evidence. While the state's case began with an insider trading investigation, it failed to prove that Ms. Stewart received—or Mr. Bacanovic imparted—insider information. The message she got from him via her assistant was commonplace. It was, simply, 'Peter Bacanovic thinks ImClone is going to start trading downward.'"

Jonathan Dresner - 3/18/2004

And yet, by taking advantage of insider information, she profited from someone else's lack of information, illegally saving herself money at the expense of someone less privileged. That is a crime, not to mention unfair and unjust. Why is it so bad that she was punished for it?

And any pension fund that bought heavily into Martha Stewart Inc., or whatever she was called, was taking a risk (and that's risky, I'm pretty sure) that her reputation would continue to be good. Sometimes risks come true. Bad? Sure. But that's why high risk investments (and any investment which depends on the probity, taste and popularity of a single person has to be high risk by definition) have to be balanced with low risk investments, or at least with other high risk investments with different risk factors.

And if the government were not enforcing fair trading rules, would the market?