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Taking Stock of Enron's Collapse

January 04, 2002

If your family doctor missed a diagnosis as badly as Robert Scheer did in claiming that "Enron Is a Cancer on the Presidency" (Commentary, Jan. 2), you would file charges of incompetence with the medical licensing board. Scheer's unprincipled attack on President Bush is no more than an expression of his bias against deregulation of anything, in this case of the energy trading market.

Scheer fails to prove how deregulation led to improper accounting and disclosure by Enron that, if proven, would violate other long-standing legal requirements. Neither does he prove how any acceptable scheme of regulation would have prevented the problems of which Enron is accused. To go from an unsubstantiated attack on deregulation to a personal attack on the president is ideologically motivated and irresponsible.

Gerald W. Palmer

Los Angeles

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Give me six years, $60 million and two independent prosecutors with the ridiculous powers given to Ken Starr and I'm sure I could find crimes that would make the Whitewater land deal look ridiculous. Republicans hounded Bill Clinton over $200,000 he supposedly made. The Bush-Enron crimes must be in the millions, if not the billions. Not to mention the thousands of families and stockholders they've ripped off. But Democrats don't wield the absolute power in Congress given to the Republicans in the '90s. What a shame.

Jeff Jones

Santa Clarita

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Scheer's commentary, although timely and proper, was at the same time provocative and accusatory. Not what the country needs at this moment. However, the president could take a cue from his foreign policy and freeze the assets of Enron executives who profited from company bonuses and the sale of Enron stock. This action would no doubt find favor with Enron shareholders who lost their retirement investments through mismanagement and possible fraud by company executives. The government has an obligation to investigate Enron, and Bush should take the lead.

John M. Gillis

Manhattan Beach

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There is no question but that those culpable in the Enron mess should be held accountable for their misdeeds. Tactics such as freezing employee 401(k) retirement accounts while certain Enron officers quickly opted out were unconscionable. We are told that many employees lost hundreds of millions of dollars during their financial lockout, and our sincere sympathies go out to them. However, if these lower-level people at Enron had been allowed to sell when they recognized the ship was sinking, would we be equally sympathetic to the unsuspecting outside investors who could be equally stricken?

John Alrich

Santa Barbara

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