What Enron & WorldCom Can Teach Us About Goldman & AIG
By Arianna Huffington
Wall Street Bailout
(c) David Horsey
America, it seems, can't wait to get back to business -- risky business -- as usual. No matter how atrocious business has been.
The problem is, this victory dance is being done on top of the same shaky financial system that nearly toppled over, sending us all
plummeting into the economic abyss. And while the market is over 9,100 (with another 10 percent gain predicted by the end of the year)
We've seen this headlong rush to move on before. And it should be making us very afraid.
In 2003, I wrote a book called "Pigs at the Trough"
detailing the corporate greed and malfeasance that brought us the financial scandals at
So when I was asked by my publisher to release an updated and expanded version of "Pigs," I was delighted to do so. It's out in bookstores now.
Of course, when I originally wrote "Pigs," I didn't know that in just six years America would find itself in the midst of a slew of fresh
corporate outrages that would lead to a worldwide economic meltdown. But I can't say that I was surprised. The reason is simple: the system
that allowed the scandals at
Yes, there were window-dressing changes, and Band-Aid legislation. But the guiding philosophy -- that the free market would regulate
itself, and that
So it's been deja vu all over again. With one big difference that makes this current crisis so painful: the scale of it all. In 2003, the corporate crooks were largely playing with shareholders' money. The new batch of pigs is playing with taxpayer money -- trillions of it. And if we don't reform the system, given the exponential worsening of things between 2003 and now, the next financial collapse will surely be more than we can withstand.
What we are experiencing is not so much "Back to the Future" as it is "Forward to the Past."
And how's this for an ironic connection:
It's as if nothing has been learned since the last go-round.
It's just that the numbers have gotten much larger -- and the risks to our well-being much greater.
Two days before
Similarly, in 2002, on the same day WorldCom stunned the world with the magnitude of its accounting fraud, the company's inner circle
began an extravagant, all-expenses-paid vacation in
And the media share a big part of the responsibility.
Back in 2003, just as the likes of
And instead of holding the Horsemen of the Financial Apocalypse who are still in charge accountable, those in the financial media are ready to move on, searching for the next superstar cover boys.
With so many both on
If we are going to truly rebuild our free market capitalist system, we have to break the cycle of shock, followed by outrage, followed by a few high-profile show trials, followed by the punishment of a few culprits, followed by some meaningless reforms... and then we all move on. Until it starts again.
The question is, does the political will to create and implement new rules for
Does our body politic have the strength to save itself?
Available at Amazon.com:
Also at Amazon.com, Arianna Huffington's Books
(c) Paul Tong
Opportunity Cost of the Bank Bailout
The lopsided 'recovery.' Banks that received billions in taxpayer handouts now reporting massive profits and setting aside record amounts for executive bonuses, and the American people continuing to face 9.5 percent unemployment, 10,000 foreclosures a day and vital services being cut.
Smoke Billowing Out of Our Economic Mount Vesuvius
There is currently plenty of alarming smoke pouring out of our economic Vesuvius, but it is being dismissed. Don't worry about economic tremors, we're told, our financial system is back on track, the bailout worked and we'll start our slow but steady climb to recovery. But warning signs are all around us ...
(c) 2009 Arianna Huffington. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.
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