by Andy Rooney
I see the phrase "hedge fund" in the newspaper every day now and I don't really know what a "hedge fund" is.
I don't think I ever saw the phrase 10 years ago, so maybe the financial term "hedge fund" is fairly new. These funds are certainly new to me. I have six dictionaries and five of them don't even have a listing for "hedge fund."
A hedge fund has something to do with money.
I know what a fund is and I know what a hedge is, but neither term seems to have much to do with hedge funds.
I was surprised (and pleased at first) to find "hedge fund" in the sixth dictionary, but then I read the definition.
It says a hedge fund is "a limited partnership fund that invests private capital speculatively to maximize private capital." Does that clear up what a hedge fund is for you? It doesn't help me. I hardly ever "invest private capital speculatively."
I'm suspicious anyway of any definition that includes what it's talking about in the definition of what it's talking about.
There are a lot of definitions I don't get when they're talking about money. For example, I'm not clear what "private capital" is. They never say anything about "public capital." Is private capital better or worse than "public capital"?
Every day, I look at the piles of newspapers that are delivered to my office and I can't believe how many of the stories I don't understand. Am I the only one with this problem? Does everyone but me know what the stories mean?
Just a few of the many headlines:
"U.S. TO HELP INVESTORS BUY BANK ASSETS"
I'll take a dozen of the small ones.
"FED TO PUMP $1.2 TRILLION INTO MARKET"
I'm embarrassed to say that I've never been sure how many million there are in a billion. Forget about a trillion. For all I know, a trillion may be a thousand billion.
"TOXIC ASSET PLAN SENDS STOCKS SOARING"
So does this mean that people will be investing good money after bad?
"HOUSE PASSES BONUS TAX BILL"
"HEDGE FUNDS MAY GET AIG FUNDS"
I certainly hope so.
"STOCKS SOAR, BUT DISMAL SIGNS REMAIN"
Does this mean I'm wiped out?
"DRIVE TO TAX AIG BONUSES SLOWS"
" AIG" are the most frequently used initials in just the past few months, and I must look them up to find out what they stand for.
I've been very fortunate that I have some money in the bank for a rainy day. However, I hope it never rains very hard because I don't have enough for too many heavy rainy days.
Unlike most stories about ordinary events, money stories are usually written by experts who know all about their subject. Every newspaper has money experts. Financial reporters don't necessarily have a lot of cash, but they have a lot of knowledge about having a lot.
If I were an editor, I'd want to know how much money a reporter had, and if he had a lot, I wouldn't let him write stories about it. Anyone who knows too much about a subject is apt to be prejudiced.
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