The Widdershins

Manic Monday: Requiem for the American Dream

Posted on: October 24, 2011

It never frickin’ stops.

Somehow, someway any tiny bit of progress/protections for the rapidly growing American underclass seems to be snatched away.  The latest casualty looming on the horizon appears to be Sarbanes-Oxley, or “The Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act”, or SOX.

SOX, which applies to publicly traded companies, passed Congress and was signed into law on July 30, 2002 in the wake of massive scandals of the Enron, WorldCom and Adelphia variant.  Stock prices plummeted and investor confidence was seriously shaken in the aftermath of the aforementioned problems, and SOX sought to rectify the corporate board snags that were subsequently identified.

The act passed Congress almost unanimously, and was signed into law by President George W. Bush.  The SEC them implemented the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB.  Basically, Sarbanes-Oxley insists that corporate auditors be independent, and insists on internal controls financial disclosure, cash flow management and disclosures, and (this is a biggie) competence of the directors.  Sounds reasonable to me.  I have a hard time disputing the notion that the terms of Sarbanes-Oxley would be more helpful than not.

Proponents of the measure called it a godsend, and felt that it offered a measure of protection for the investor,  You will not be surprised to hear that corporations found it detestable, and insist to this day that  SOX stifles American business.  They appear to be miffed that the veracity of their financial statements should be certified, and swear that the country’s competitive edge had been compromised.

So, now comes President Obama and his struggling Jobs Act.  His “Jobs Creation” advisory panel, stuffed with CEOs such as Jeff Immelt of “We Pay No Taxes” General Electric, has floated an idea that the Prez feels that he can put his arms around.  Check this out, from Matt Taibbi:

 Barack Obama is apparently expressing
willingness to junk big chunks of Sarbanes-Oxley in exchange for support for his
jobs program
. Business leaders are balking at creating new jobs unless Obama
makes compliance with S-O voluntary for all firms valued at under $1

Here’s how to translate this move: companies are saying they can’t attract
investment unless they can hide their financials from investors. So the CEOs and
gazillionaires on Obama’s Jobs Council want the politically-vulnerable president
to give them license to cook the books in exchange for support for his jobs
program. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“All you’re going to do is have more fraud. The ultimate losers are going to
be investors,” said Jeff Klink, a former federal prosecutor whose Gateway Center
firm helps clients prevent and detect fraud.

If the financial crisis proved anything, it’s that Wall Street companies in
particular have been serial offenders in the area of dishonest accounting and
book-cooking. Sarbanes-Oxley is obviously no panacea, but removing it in
exchange for a temporary, election-year job boost is exactly the kind of myopic,
absurdly irresponsible shit that got us into this mess in the first place. For
Obama to pull this in the middle of these protests is crazy.

Canada’s Globe and Mail  suggests that the above-referenced plan is really only the beginning:

And Mr. Obama, giving the lie to opponents who complain of his hostility to business, has embraced the council’s document. According to the website, he’s eager to see what “tweaks” and “carve-outs” can be made to Sarbanes-Oxley.

It has come to this, then: In the all-consuming desire to do something, nearly anything, to promote job creation, Mr. Obama seems willing to gut one of the most significant investor protections of our time. If the anti-Sarbanes Oxley proposal succeeds, it is the Americans – and Canadians – who invest in U.S. stocks who will lose.

Sadly, this is another situation where people who have worked hard (and lost their jobs), bought homes (which are underwater), and socked money away in their 401ks are now going to take another hit.  I suppose that you could transfer your stocks into some other financial instrument.  You could also stuff what’s left of your cash into your mattress.

This is an open thread.  May eternal light shine upon your hopes and dreams.

27 Responses to "Manic Monday: Requiem for the American Dream"

Oy gevalt!

That’s all I got.

They won’t be satisfied until we are returned to those “happy days of yesteryear” when we addressed addressed our owners as “mastah”.

It’s interesting too that with all the anti-corporate protesting going on around the world – that Obama is giving serious consideration to strengthening corporations’ abilities to commit fraud. Tone deaf much?

He is as he has always been = the ultimate Wall Street trojan horse.

The GOP has frantically and desperately wanted to get rid of SOX since its passing. Obama is so much more than they could have wished for. Now all of the Internal Controls employees across the country will join the ranks of the unemployed. Another win for the GOP.

You’re right. Although many Repubs votedd for it, I kind of think that the whole Bush-Enron axis was such a hot mess that they felt like they had to at least appear to be doing something.

I hope Mr President will for once not sell us out!!!!

#7: Will it never end? Just when you think they would get over beating a dead horse they turn around and resurrect it once again. Just in case there is a Tea Party fanatic who may have missed it the first time it was trotted out.

Racist much? I think so since Ricky Boy is free falling in the polls and his “niggergate rock” has been exposed.

For this gang it is better to be racist than show any signs of intelligence since the people they appeal to are bible thumping fundies who believe in white supremacy and Christian beliefs.

@DYB Obama is not “tone -deaf” as much as “tone-indifferent”. he knows it wasn’t really voters who put him there but Wall Street and aside for the occasional lip service to maintain the illusion of the democracy, he only works for his owners (I used to call them handlers, but when you buy someone, you own him, right?)

“He who has the gold makes the rules.”

DYB@7: I saw something over at John Smart’s that the birthers are now saying lil Bobby Jindal can’t be considered since *he’s* not American made, born and bred.|head

For lil Bobby I can’t help but have a moment of schadenfreude; he’s being bitten by the very ones he’s catered to. 😆

Dear God/Goddesses please have Obama refrain from *helping* us anymore. The bad thing is that so many people who are still working and have 401k’s usually have a requirement that they *must* put certain amounts into their employer’s stocks or financials laying the groundwork for them to be screwed over once again.

@12> Oh, well, poor Bobby. I guess he got into bed with the wrong people. They’re just not that into him.

@14> Those houses sure are nice!

DYB@15: Oh I love the fact that they are just bitch-slapping him like an ugly red-headed step-child. He has catered to them in every way in his governance of the state, to the detriment of the people of Louisiana and now it’s biting him back. Good!

@16: Must be nice to have about 4 or 5 or 6 homes, but then there comes the dilemma: “Oh my, where do I sleep tonight?”

@7 Perry’s fresh fixation on the birth certificate came after his meeting with the Donald which came after his shininess (and ability to raise funds) began to wear off. Looks to me like there’s a price for The Donald’s support.

It’s gonna get interesting.

Sophie@18: To add a little grease to the fire, Bobby Jindal was one of the first to publicly endorse Perry and represented him on a Meet the Press show.

To paraphrase madamab: “Oh the stupid…it burns.” 😆

Did someone call my name? 😀

Man, I’ve missed you all! How dare my business travel cut into my blogging time? 😯

My current client is a big financial services firm. I am quite sure that upper management would be having multiple orgasms over the repeal of Sarbanes-Oxley. The rest of us, however, will be crying into our near-beer. (We can’t afford the good stuff any more.)

@20: ROFLMAO!!!

MB said: The rest of us, however, will be crying into our near-beer. (We can’t afford the good stuff any more.)

We’re all going to have to learn how to make home-brew.

Most of the people I’ve known who have made this are country folks and they’ll have a crock to make it in, but I bet those are getting hard to find now.

Sophie @22: Oh you don’t know how those of us with a functioning brain have relished that slap in the face to lil Bobby. 😉

@23 – I know several people who make their own beer. I think it’s kind of a popular thing to do these days…

Gotta go but will be back tomorrow night.

@24 – It sure is nice that Bobby is getting his just deserts. That’s what happens when you lie down with dogs, Bobby – you get up with fleas!

Glad to see ya back MB, we MISSED YOU!

Hell, Fredster, making ‘shine is a cottage industry in my part of the world. Beer, not so much…………………

Good to hear from you mad.

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