The warm days are upon us once again. Traders Magazine wishes its readers a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July. Independence Day conjures up images of family barbecues, baseball and other fun summer activities. It also brings to mind the sacred ideals of freedom and liberty.
Free markets are one of the many liberties we enjoy in this country; they are a cornerstone of the prosperity that we too often take for granted. And there is no greater symbol of the American Spirit and capitalism than the Charging Bull that sits in Lower Manhattan.
But today the 3.5-ton bronze bull, which signifies financial optimism, is surrounded by barricades. Steel gates hinder free access to what many would consider the icon of the financial district in New York.
This fettered access sends the wrong message about our markets–that they aren’t free and that we lack confidence in our financial future. This message is clear not only to New Yorkers and tourists, but to investors as well. Ask any investment professional who sees these barricades and you’re sure to get the same reaction: "Why?"
It is understandable that the City wants to protect the Bull from a stray individual or two from Occupy Wall Street, someone who might look to damage the statue. But to date, nothing has happened that even comes close to vandalism. And local representatives last week voted in favor of removing the metal barriers and the police car there. The local community board unanimously approved a resolution calling the situation a "safety hazard."
We need confidence in markets, not fear. And the Bull behind barricades does not instill a positive feeling toward investing and our nation’s prosperity.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg knows something about markets and investing. Before launching his namesake financial information services company, a global powerhouse, he ran equity trading at Salomon Brothers. With his trader instinct, he should realize that cordoning off the Bull hurts investor confidence. In celebration of our nation’s freedom, it’s time to free the Bull.
Mayor Bloomberg, tear down those barricades!