Tag Archives: the free market

THE SARBANES-OXLEY ACT OF ’02 IS KILLING US IN ’09

Bookmark and Share    In 2002, congress created legislation commonly called the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. It was designed to respond to the accounting scandals of Enron and other business interests of the time.antsoxdummyThe legislation established new and increased regulations for all American owned and operated public company boards.

At the time, the Sarbanes-Oxley sponsored Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002 was considered to contain the most far-reaching reforms of American business practices since the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

Sponsored by Paul Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat Senator and Ohio Republican Congressman Michael Oxley, the bill passed with bipartisan support and was signed into effect by a Republican President, George W. Bush.  So credit and blame lies in the lap of both major parties but now, almost seven years later, the question is does Sarbanes-Oxley deserve more blame than credit.

The political purpose of the bill was achieved.  It helped to restore public confidence in the securities markets.

In the wake of the accounting scandal that brought down energy giant Enron, its stock prices plummeted from more than $90.00 a share to less than 50 cents a share and investors lost billions and Enron eventually went bankrupt. In response to the shocking demise of Enron, congress tried to act in a way that would restore investors confidence by trying to insure that the scandalous practices of Enron would not be repeated.

So congress responded to the problem which took care of the political objective. They did something about it. But what did they really do about it?

Regretfully, all they actually did was make themselves look good. They made themselves look like responsible legislators responding to our needs but looks are deceiving because seven years later, Sarbanes-Oxley is proving to be more of a hindrance than a help.

There is little evidence proving that the government entity created by Sarbanes-Oxley to oversee the accounting practices of businesses has been effective. In fact, after Democrats refused to pass legislation that would have changed their own accounting practices which led to the need to bailout FannieMac and FreddieMac, there is even more evidence which indicates that government should be the last entity to be counted on for effective oversight. It is government oversight which required banks and loaning entities such as FannieMae and FreddieMac to enter into high risk loans that could not be paid off. All of which helped to usher in the banking crisis that led the way to our current financial crunch.

It is all an example of government overreaching and innefficiency and innaccuracy.

Initially compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was projected to cost businesses, that want to go public, about $91 thousand dollars to do so but the actual figure is over $4 million dollars.

This typical government miscalculation has helped to push the start up time for businesses from five years to twelve years and it is adding to the stagnation of a much needed rate of growth for our economy.

At a time when the federal government has spent over $ 1 billion 200 million in the name of economic stimulus, does it really make sense to leave untouched, excessive legislation which is counterproductive to the goals of all that stimulus spending?

When you come down to it, enforcement of Sarbanes-Oxley costs more than it is worth.

That is not to suggest that Sarbanes-Oxley must be scrapped.   It must be amended.

Of the eleven sections in the bill, some have merit. Specifically, those sections which hold business executives and owners more accountable. However, no responsible legislative stimulus action can exist without addressing the many other detrimental sections of the bill which are having a debilitating effect on economic growth.

To allow the so-called Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002 to remain as is, during the economic recovery attempts of 2009, is irresponsible and reckless.

In its current form the bill is destroying new job creation, stifling our entrepreneurial spirit and surrendering entrepreneurial innovation to foreign competitors. None of which adds any value to the hundreds of billions of dollars that are intended to grow our economy.

Without changes to the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, our government is allowing existing legislation to work against all of their current and future economic recovery measures. Without changes to this bill, we are prolonging the economic downturn we are in and putting our economic future on a course that will put us far behind the burgeoning markets and economies of Asia.

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U4PREZ

A mathematician, an accountant and an economist apply for the same job.

The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks “What do two plus two equal?” The mathematician replies “Four.” The interviewer asks “Four, exactly?” The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says “Yes, four, exactly.”

Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and asks the same question “What do two plus two equal?” The accountant says “On average, four – give or take ten percent, but on average, four.”

Then the interviewer calls in the economist and poses the same question “What do two plus two equal?” The economist gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says, “What do you want it to equal”?

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GOVERNMENT TAKEOVERS, THE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE AND CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Bookmark and ShareAs Democrats begin to feel their oats, with control of all three branches of government, there has been a renewed interest inantfairnessdoctrine_front1 what liberals smartly, but improperly, call  the Fairness Doctrine.

The Fairness Doctrine seeks to insure that the media allots equal time to both liberal and conservative viewpoints.

That sounds innocent enough on the surface but a cursory look under the surface reveals a twisted and tangled web of deceit and chicanery.

First of all, the Fairness Doctrine is anything but fair.

Is it fair to tell you what you must listen to or see? Is it fair to dictate what a private company sells outside of illegal trade?

Well the so called Fairness Doctrine does just that. It tells privately owned media outlets what they must air.

So if you are a liberal themed radio network, now you must change your format and become both a liberal and conservative network.

Attempts to reinstitute any type of Fairness Doctrine are attempts to undermine free speech, the free market and freedom of choice.

Liberal cries for a new Fairness Doctrine stem from a fear of conservative talk shows dominating the airwaves and over the years, they have become a thorn in the sides of liberal advocates. So much so that left leaning activists have tried and failed at creating their own liberal talk show ventures.

One such progressive station recently closed on February 5th. It was an AM station located at 1260 on the dial and called Obama 1260.

One of the most recent big liberal ventures was Air America. That went over so well that it went bankrupt in 2006.

Yet it seems that every day there is a new conservative oriented radio or television program cropping up. Be it Glenn Beck on t.v. or Mark Levine on WABC am radio, conservative hosts are increasing in popularity. They are getting more time on the air, more listeners and more money. Rush Limbaugh recently signed on to a decades long contract which made him one of radio’s richest hosts in history.

Why is that? Is it because the liberal oriented media moguls like these guys, or is it because they like the money that these guys bring in for them? Do they give these conservative hosts more time because their ratings are slipping or do they give them more time because when these hosts articulate the conservative cause, ratings go up?

The truth is that there are more people in America yearning for a comprehensive, logical, conservative oriented approach to government. Such an approach is not what they always see from their so-called political leaders. Voters are often disappointed by their political leaders who cave in on any number of political issues or votes. Yet conservative talking heads are able to  remain consistent in their views without having to bend to political compromise. So more often than not, conservative hosts are even more popular than some conservative legislators.

This popularity irks the left. They are frustrated by an articulation of conservative ideas that people listen to and want to listen to without having any desire to hear Al Franken, Randi Rhodes or Rachel “madcow’ Madow on Air America.

It is the free market which leads to the preponderance of conservative viewpoints that exists. It is driven by what is popular. Like any other commodity, radio and television is geared to what the people like. Would Milton Bradley keep on producing Monopoly if it didn’t sell? Would it be right for the government to come in and demand that Milton Bradley continue to make it if no one wanted to buy it?

Unless the government intends to confiscate the airwaves and all other forms of media, they have no constitutional right to control programming that does not violate the bounds of legal decency and ethics.

In the former Soviet Union the Fairness Doctrine had a different name. It was called Pravda. It was an official state sponsored radio and television agency which aired only what was approved or written by the government. It was an effective way to help maintain thinking in line with the way that the communists wanted the people to think.

If a Soviet Premier suddenly had a heart attack while having sex with a mistress, no one would ever know. In fact it could be weeks before the government decided to let anyone know that their leader was dead.

For communist Russians, it worked. But this is America. And in America, whether you call it fair or equal or anything else you might, it is not right. It is government control.

Government control seems to be the trend during this era of “spreading the wealth” but just how much government control do we want and where does the Fairness Doctrine draw the line?

Does the Fairness Doctrine eventually apply to the internet? Perhaps it will someday limit the internet to only a certain amount of conservative and liberal comments . Maybe servers such as aol or platforms such as wordpress can only be online at times of parody between Republican and Democrat commentary.

Will the Fairness Doctrine be strictly enforced in schools where every good word said about President Barack Obama is required to be followed by a good word about the Republican Senate Minority leader?

How far do we go?

I do know one thing for sure and that is that whenever government encroaches into new territory, they keep on going. When government creates a new tax that they promise to keep at a certain rate, they inevitably increase it.

When government regulates something, they rarely, if ever stop there. They regulate it more and more.

The saddest part of this whole discussion stems from the fact that the Fairness Doctrine is no where near being a sincere minded effort. It is a politically driven, partisan attempt to make censorship legal. It is an attempt to censor a free market society by the same people who try to claim that conservatives ban and burn books .

It is just another example of liberal hypocrisy.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow

But to add insult to injury let us look at liberal Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Stabenow recently stated that she has begun the push for the Fairness Doctrine and feels that hearings on the matter are in the works.

That is interesting. Particularly in Stabenow’s case.

You see, you wouldn’t know it but Debbie Stabenow is also Mrs. Tom Athans.

Tom Athans is her husband and he is a radio executive.  A failed one but one who is still struggling to make his mark in liberal radio.

Athans is the co-founder of Democracy Radio and after failing as Vice President of Air America he founded another liberal talk show network called TalkUSA Radio.

For the sake of full disclosure I will add that, last year, Tom Athans was also arrested for hiring a prostitute for $150 bucks but that had nothing to do with Stabenow. However; for the the same sake of full disclosure, will Senator Stabenow disqualify herself from participating in measures that would in essence force demand for her husbands networks on to national airwaves and produce a great deal of personal wealth and benefit for the Athans-Stabenow family if those measures are approved?

Senator Stabenow with Husband Tom Athans

Senator Stabenow with Husband Tom Athans

Does anyone else not see the conflict of interest in Stabenow’s rush to push for the so called Fairness Doctrine?

Stabenow’s push to censor conservative talk shows and to call it a Fairness Doctrine is anything but fair or decent. It is censorship and in her case it is also an obvious conflict of interest.

Just as the infidelity of Stabenow’s husband is none of my business neither is radio or television any of Stabenow’s governmental business.

When I watch the Obama network, otherwise known as NBC or MSNBC, I do not believe that the government needs to intervene and needs to control their programming, I just do what most Americans do. I turn off MSNBC.

The same can be done with Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity or any other host or program that someone does not wish to see.

It just so happens that when it comes to liberal radio, few have been able to make a good case for liberalism. Hence the failure of Stabenow’s husband’s liberal programming career. It is a result of the free market. It is a victim of supply and demand. There is very little demand for a great deal of liberal propaganda so there is a limited supply of it coming from a market that is based on profit.

The funniest aspect to this whole hypocritical legislative initiative is that there are few people who will argue with the fact that most of the media already has a liberal bias. Even Hillary Clinton had a hard time containing her disdain for a liberal media that turned on her in favor of an even more liberal Barack Obama. Yet that is not good enough for greedy liberals like Stabenow.

Liberals like Stabenow want to stifle speech and profit from it too.

 

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A capitalist and a socialist are working on the side of a road when a rich fellow drives by in a Cadillac.

The capitalist says, “Someday, I’ll be driving a Cadillac.”

The socialist replies, “Someday, that guy won’t.”

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