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Tuesday | July 09, 2002

Bush's whimpy speech

In a stunning display of toothless bluster, Bush announced all manners of outrage at corporate America, and then proposed little more than voluntary industry standards to stem the tide of corporate scandals rocking Wall Street and the US economy.

Check out these hard-hitting proposals:

Enhance the ability of the Securities and Exchange Commission to freeze improper payments to corporate executives while a company is under investigation.

Persuade publicly traded companies to prevent corporate officers from receiving loans from their own companies.

Ask stock markets to require that a majority of a company's directors and all members of the company's audit, nominating and compensation committees have no material relationship with the company so that they are truly independent.

Ask? Persuade? What is this, a negotiation? So Bush proposed increasing some criminal penalties. Big deal.

We currently face the biggest economic crisis in decades. Investors are abandoning the market in droves. No one has faith in public companies, their financial filings, or their officers and directors. Capitalism is under assault. Call the big guns. Heck, call THE Big Gun.

So Bush fired his volley, and the effect? One big collective whooshing sound as investors sucked their money from the markets as quickly as they could hit the "SELL" button. To the tune of 178 points in the Dow, and nearly 25 points in the Nasdaq. That's the Dow's biggest one-day decline in five weeks, and we're talking five weeks of nothing but declines. We're at 5-year lows here.

Why the drop? Because Bush and his GOP pals refuse to reform the structure of the system itself. And that's where the real problems are.

Bush is laboring under the impression that these scandals are the result of a few bad apples. Increase a few criminal penalties, ask Wall Street to play fair, and all should be okay, right?

The media might still be too timid. Voters may not understand the complexities of a business scandal. But investors can smell a scam when they see one. And today, they voted with their money.

Posted July 09, 2002 03:21 PM | Comments (1)





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