Should the Government Try to Stop More GameStops?

The House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing on Thursday about a stock that shook markets and fascinated millions around the world just a few weeks ago: GameStop. According to plans, members of Congress will seek answers on everything from short selling and market manipulation to short squeezes and the “gamification” of  trading. Bloomberg Opinion columnists have been writing about these topics as well, offering a few suggestions in the process:

  • Protect Investors: There are four clear-cut ways that securities regulators, in particular, can contribute to a wiser investing public: Go after market rumormongers aggressively; evaluate the science behind today’s day-trading platforms; regularly caution investors about some of the immutable laws of financial gravity; and how about a warning on day-trading sites before you execute a stock trade that says: “Do you need this money to pay your rent?” — Arthur Levitt Jr., former SEC chairman
  • Don’t Overreact: “Sometimes people choose to act stupidly. The government can’t stop that, and as long as innocent bystanders aren’t at risk, it probably shouldn’t try.” — The Editors, Bloomberg editorial board 
  • Focus on Reddit:  “Interactions on Reddit popularized trades that attracted significant participation by small investors. Some appear to have also encouraged, if not implored, them to act in a certain way … All this points to the risk of inappropriate market manipulation.” — Mohamed A. El-Erian, Bloomberg Opinion columnist and president of Queens’ College, Cambridge.
  • Face Reality: “Perhaps the most remarkable part of the stunning, Reddit-fueled surge in shares of GameStop Corp. and other companies is just how powerless the top U.S. regulatory bodies are to do anything about it.” — Brian Chappatta, Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the bond market
  • Should the SEC Even Care About All of This?: “I do not see a whole lot of deception in this GameStop situation. The SEC’s core concerns, about people lying about stocks and tricking the innocent, don’t seem especially implicated here; everyone is having reasonably informed and consensual fun.” — Matt Levine, Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering finance

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Bloomberg Opinion provides commentary on business, economics, politics, technology and markets.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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