Dear John: Stock market rigging

Dear John: I traded stock index futures and options on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor during the 1987 stock market crash and days after, and I saw some things that could only be very sophisticated government stock market rigging.

I have always wanted to go back and check “time and sales” data to back up my story but never have. I’m also curious if time and sales has been changed, or if others have looked into this. D.G.

Dear D.G.: I don’t know about 1987, but right after the near-collapse of the market in 1989, Robert Heller, who had just left his job as a governor of the Federal Reserve, suggested that the stock market be rigged in times of emergency.

Heller suggested that the Fed buy stock index future contracts to stabilize the market, but also said this shouldn’t become a habit. It was an emergency measure only.

Around that time, President Reagan formed the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets — which became known by the nickname the Plunge Protection Team.

You might have been an eyewitness to history on the floor of the CME: the destruction of free and fair markets and the changing of capitalism forever. Thanks for sharing.

Dear John: Since everybody who has a job has to pay Social Security taxes every month, shouldn’t the government be able to run a computer screen to determine how many people are employed and how many are part-timers?

A couple of Stuyvesant High School sophomores could probably write the program over lunch in return for a burger and a shake.

I know self-employed people have to pay Social Security, but I don’t know if they pay monthly, and a tweak might be appropriate there. There are some other types — primarily government employees, who can be counted — who don’t pay Social Security.

Is there some reason why that wouldn’t give us a fairly precise job count without having to make phony seasonal adjustments? G.G.

Dear G.G.: I wonder the same thing. Why do we need a massive government bureaucracy doing things the old-fashioned way when the new-fashioned way would be cheaper, more efficient and more accurate?

Why does the Labor Department guess at the number of jobs formed by new companies, when those new companies have to make all sorts of filings before they start?

Why do we rely on surveys of households for measuring inflation, unemployment and crime when computer programs and apps can find out what things cost, who’s going to work and who was mugged last week?

Oh yeah, I remember! We need the bureaucracy because people who work at the Labor Department, the Census Bureau and other antiquated government agencies want to keep their jobs. If we were to let technology take over, there would be a lot of government workers — including high-priced ones with friends in high places — out of work.

That’s the only reason I can figure we haven’t turned this problem over to your Stuyvesant High geniuses.

Dear John: Thank you for you efforts to find the truth about the Census Bureau. I suspect there is a lot to be discovered and you will uncover very significant things. Possibly even Watergate-scale.

You may want to contact newly elected Congressman Dan Donovan from Staten Island for assistance. He’s a law­-and-order guy with an impeccable record and may have interest in this sort of issue.

Please keep doing what you’re doing. Can’t wait to find out where those missing computers ended up. T.G.

Dear T.G.: I’m trying.

Those 120 missing computers are probably right back where they belong. But the question is, what were they used for when they were missing right before the last presidential election? They did, as I’ve explained, have data on the unemployment rate and other important economic data on them.

Watergate? That was a dirty trick that happened to catch the public’s attention and embarrass the rest of the media to jump on board.

Census? If this goes where I think it is going, it will prove that politicians have had an enormous taxpayer-funded slush fund to keep their friends happy. And, more important, it will prove that the sloppy and fraudulent gathering of economic data has misled the country for years — maybe decades. It also means that every economist, every business with a plan and every journalist has been misled.

By the way, Donovan and I attended the same high school — Monsignor Farrell on Staten Island. Since he’s now important, I have to assume he paid more attention in class. I’ll give him a call.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Send your questions to Dear John, The New York Post, 1211 Ave. of the Americas, NY, NY 10036, or john.crudele@nypost.com.

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