A Journal for Western Man
"The lure of heady profits of the late 1990s spawned abuses and excesses," said the President. Undoubtably meant to allude to Christian ideals warning against excesses in anything, the remark also shows the President's full reversal of Republican ideals, in which profits were never seen as anything but good for the country no matter what their size.
Showering praise on "workers" and "entrepeneurs" (i.e small businesses), the President had little good to say about today's business leaders running large, successful companies. Saying, on the one hand that "we've learned of some business leaders obstructing justice, misleading clients," or " falsifying records" the President went on to say a few paragraphs later that "too many corporations seem disconnected from the values of our country." Which is it, Mr. President? Just some, or too many? So far, only a handful of companies appear to be guilty of unscupulous behavior.
Fusing words such as "faith" and "Wall Street" as if the business of investment is equivalent to the worship of some deity and not at all connected to productivity and earnings, the President made it clear that "self regulation is important, but it's not enough." He went on to say that "From the antitrust laws of the 19th century to the S&L reforms of recent times, America has tackled financial problems when they appeared. The actions I'm proposing follow in this tradition, and should be welcomed by every honest company in America." More ominous words cannot be uttered given historical anti-trust cases that have left corporate America wondering when it is engaging in Capitalism or when it is actually violating anti-trust laws.
Determined to be the slayer of the corporate beast in this election year, President Bush went on to propose his 10-point manifesto of Corporate Accountability. Though the speech did not make it clear, it appears to include, in part, the following:
* By executive order, a new Corporate Fraud Task Force, headed by the Deputy Attorney General, which will target major accounting fraud and other criminal activity in corporate finance.
* Corporate officers who benefit from false accounting statements should forfeit all money gained by their fraud.
* The SEC should be able to punish corporate leaders who are convicted of abusing their powers by banning them from ever serving again as officers or directors of a publicly-held corporation.
* Give workers quarterly information about their investments. Say goodbye to annual reports.
* Currently, a CEO signs a nominal certificate, and does so merely on behalf of the company. In the future, the signature of the CEO should also be his or her personal certification of the veracity and fairness of the financial disclosures.
SEC has ordered the leaders of nearly a thousand large
public companies to certify that the financial
information they submitted in the last year was fair and
it was accurate.
executive order, Mr. President? Isn't government big
enough as it is? And what gives government the right to
punish a man by taking away his ability to work
(survive) in his chosen field after having served his
sentence? Must CEOs now become accountants as well? Who
defines "fair"? Who determines who benefitted from
fraudulent accounting records? Government? And what
effect will this have on the majority of businesses who
need no such government regulations?
Harry Roolaart is the founder and creator of the harryroolaart.com website. He is also a writer and artist living and working in Charlotte, North Carolina. You may contact him personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This TRA feature has been edited in accordance with TRAs Statement of Policy.
Read Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, at http://www.geocities.com/rational_argumentator/rc.html.