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Accountability: Buck Stops Short of Faith in the Market

July 17, 2002

Re "SEC Chief Insists He Won't Quit," July 15: In Bush's "CEO" presidency, everyone else is held accountable but the CEO (who can blame the lawyers and political opponents when convenient). And the same bureaucrats who oversee massive failures (e.g., Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt) are charged with restoring the public's faith in our most important institutions, while disclaiming any responsibility for destroying them. The consequences are now clear: less transparency and more arrogance shrouded in a veil of wishful thinking.

No wonder foreign investors, the only ones who can finance our return to massive budget deficits, are finally looking elsewhere.

James Scurlock

Santa Monica

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Listening to George Dubya talk about morality and character in business is laughable. Even a perfunctory examination of his dubious business "career" exposes him as a poster boy for turning failed business ventures into massive personal gain. The current corporate climate in America is a direct reflection of the administration in Washington, from the influence of energy companies to the head of the SEC, not to mention the lowering of EPA standards and the imposition of tariffs, to name a few. If you need further proof, check the federal deficit, then thank God we didn't let this clown privatize Social Security.

Kerry Fusaro

Hollywood

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"Why Investigation of Bush's Stock Sale 'Just Didn't Pan Out,' " July 14: One would like to think the SEC did not prosecute Bush for illegality or fraud because there was no evidence that his decision to sell was based on insider information. However, we now learn that the SEC did not prosecute because the market price of the stock did not plummet dramatically after he sold it. Apparently the SEC considered insider trading to be illegal only if the results of the trade met what the SEC believed were the trader's expectations.

How did the SEC know that the modest rather than dramatic price fall did not meet Bush's expectations? It is incredible that regardless of the results of the trade, the SEC did not investigate further to determine whether Bush's decision to sell was based on illegally obtained information.

Sylvan Gollin

Claremont

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So our federal legislators--who have demonstrated their financial acumen and business sense through supervising those wonderfully accurate federal budgets, touting full disclosure of the activities of their pork-barrel divisions, avoiding all conflicts of interest through refusing campaign contributions or giving special treatment to any of their customers, championing the reduction of government expenses in order to reduce government losses and successfully managing the national pension plan--now feel they are capable of passing new laws to cure abuses in similar areas by those in charge of private businesses. But will they ever look in the mirror?

Mel Wolf

Burbank

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To restore faith in the market, Congress must pass accounting and business-practice reform with a minimum of partisan rhetoric. By turning the issue into a political attack on the president, the Democratic Party has spooked an already jittery market to the point of near panic.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country--not their party.

John Norman

Placentia

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I resent Charlotte Allen's blaming the stock market collapse on investors who, in good faith, bought into the American dream (Opinion, July 14). Those of us who started investing on a small scale 30 or more years ago, well before the spectacular 1990s, should not be cast in the same mold as the powerful financial figures who knowingly reported nonexisting profits and hid existing indebtedness in order to enrich themselves at the expense of their own employees and the general public.

Now, what was to have been a well-earned nest egg to see us through retirement has eroded day by day. Then we are told it is our own greed that brought this about. How terribly unfair to blame the victims.

Marion Brundage

Chula Vista

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