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Which is worse: WorldCom or Congress?
TownHall.com ^ | 7/03/02 | Walter Williams

Posted on 07/02/2002 9:50:08 PM PDT by kattracks

President Bush said he was "deeply concerned" about some of the accounting practices in corporate America and called "outrageous" the disclosure that WorldCom, which is $32 billion in debt, had hidden $3.8 billion in expenses.

The president added, "We will fully investigate and hold people accountable for misleading not only shareholders but also employees."

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed fraud charges against the nation's No. 2 long-distance telephone company, as the company slid toward bankruptcy. WorldCom is being called the biggest case of crooked accounting in U.S. history, where it hid nearly $4 billion worth of expenses from investors in order to make its bottom line look good. But is WorldCom really America's biggest case of accounting gimmickery and deception? I don't think so.

Ask the president or any congressman: How much debt does the federal government owe? Nine will get you 10 that they'll tell you that it's $3.5 trillion. If they had just a tad of sophistication or honesty, they might add intragovernmental debt that'd bring the "total debt" to slightly more than $6 trillion. Even that figure represents a level of creative accounting, deception and lies that make the actions of Enron and WorldCom seem like child's play.

Washington's deception about federal debt can be found in a report by Andrew J. Rettenmaier, a senior fellow at the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, titled, "How Big Is the Government's Debt?" Rettenmaier says that, as of 2001, the accumulated federal obligations to all people who've earned Social Security and Medicare benefits are $12.9 trillion for Social Security and $16.9 trillion for Medicare. Combined with the public and intragovernmental debt, the total federal debt burden is an unimaginable $35 trillion. That amounts to roughly $120,000 for every man, woman and child in America.

It will be impossible for the government to pay that kind of debt. Washington will do what all governments do when it cannot make good on its debt. Congress will repudiate agreements with creditors by refusing to pay on agreed-upon terms or choose government's traditional method of repudiation -- inflating the currency.

There's no question that both Enron and WorldCom engaged in deceptive and dishonest practices -- in a word, fraud. Here on Earth, there'll never be the end to deceptive and dishonest practices, notwithstanding supposed protection by the SEC. We're going have to wait until we get to heaven for total honesty. But let's compare what happens when deceptive accounting practices are discovered in private industry versus when they're discovered in government.

Without the SEC, the supposed guarantor against corporate hanky-panky, lifting one finger, the market has exacted high penalties. Enron and WorldCom shares of stock and their reputations are virtually worthless. Heads have rolled.

By contrast, what happens when Congress cooks the books and deceives Americans into believing that government debt is $3.5 trillion or $6 trillion, when it's really $35 trillion? Absolutely nothing.

I bet that if you brought this up to one of our Washington politicians, he'd say: "That Williams guy doesn't know what he's talking about. What we owe to Social Security and Medicare recipients is not debt."

Of course, Enron and WorldCom might get out of their troubles by redefining what debt is as well -- but the economic arena, unlike the political arena, doesn't play that.

Contact Walter Williams | Read his biography

©2002 Creators Syndicate, Inc.



TOPICS: Editorial; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: espionagelist; freetrade; geopolitics; govwatch; nwo; walterwilliams; walterwilliamslist; worldcom

1 posted on 07/02/2002 9:50:08 PM PDT by kattracks
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To: *Walter Williams list
.
2 posted on 07/02/2002 10:13:59 PM PDT by Libertarianize the GOP
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To: madfly; Free the USA
fyi
3 posted on 07/02/2002 10:15:43 PM PDT by Libertarianize the GOP
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To: mhking
fyi
4 posted on 07/02/2002 10:18:53 PM PDT by Libertarianize the GOP
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To: kattracks
Another great article by Walter Williams.

But we should expand the blame game to include corruption in ALL of government, which certainly dwarfs anything in the private section.  Include all of the lying politicians from every level of government, clerks who have stolen public money, policemen who abused their authority and both planted and stole evidence, then sold it; nurses and doctors who have killed instead of healed, and perpetrators of affirmative action everywhere.

Add to the list government firefighters who set forest fires, and Government environmental employees whose policies ensure that the forests are not wasted by harvesting trees.  Let the trees burn instead.  Also, the swarm of public sector criminals who harass anyone who makes a dollar more than they do, or who benefit by prior planning, hard work, and personal initiative.

Oh, and we mustn't forget all the media swine across the country who each day corrupt the news to fit their preconceived notions.

This "blame the companies" game opens up brave a new vista of unintended consequences.

5 posted on 07/02/2002 10:20:04 PM PDT by PaulKersey
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To: kattracks
Kinda like the pot calling the kettle black.
6 posted on 07/02/2002 10:31:48 PM PDT by MissAmericanPie
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To: kattracks
Which is worse: WorldCom or Congress?

Well it can't be the House because Republicans have a majority there and they certainly wouldn't "cook the books" ignoring the little guy for their own political gain ...would they?...

Gee, if we just had a few more RINO's in the Senate that would give us a majority...but wait that's not good enough either. We need 60 Republicans to make it filibuster proof....Wait, of those 60 we can't have even one Rino and there'd be at least 15....I know we need 100 Republican Senators (only 40 can be RINO's), 435 Republican House members and a REAL Republican (if we can find one) for the President...THEN watch the fur fly.

7 posted on 07/02/2002 10:55:15 PM PDT by lewislynn
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To: lewislynn
Now, Now, don't talk about our great rubber stamp congress like that. Don't you know that it doesn't make any difference if the repubs embrace the dem's domestic programs as long as they have an R after their name. You are leaving yourself open for insults du jour. Be nice

FReegards
8 posted on 07/02/2002 11:58:59 PM PDT by poet
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: kattracks
CONGRESS......... a large group of spineless, sycophantic losers. This country is as helpless as these sleezoids are worthless!! I am embarrassed to have these gutless dolts making decisions over all our lives. Where are the real men? Maybe one of these guys will find out he is terminally ill, then maybe a few words of truth will come from his thin cruel, weak lips.

CONGRESS........The Founders would be very mortified!!!!

10 posted on 07/03/2002 3:49:25 AM PDT by ChasingFletch
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To: lewislynn
LOL

11 posted on 07/03/2002 4:09:45 AM PDT by dtel
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To: MissAmericanPie
Washington's deception about federal debt can be found in a report by Andrew J. Rettenmaier, a senior fellow at the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, titled, "How Big Is the Government's Debt?" Rettenmaier says that, as of 2001, the accumulated federal obligations to all people who've earned Social Security and Medicare benefits are $12.9 trillion for Social Security and $16.9 trillion for Medicare. Combined with the public and intragovernmental debt, the total federal debt burden is an unimaginable $35 trillion. That amounts to roughly $120,000 for every man, woman and child in America."

How Big Is the Government's Debt? - by Andrew J. Rettenmaier

12 posted on 07/03/2002 4:15:52 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Uncle Bill
Good read, thanks for the heads up.
13 posted on 07/03/2002 4:58:29 AM PDT by MissAmericanPie
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To: MissAmericanPie
btt
14 posted on 07/03/2002 5:51:39 AM PDT by GailA
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To: Uncle Bill
The truth is finally out. He that has an ear let him hear...
15 posted on 07/03/2002 7:13:36 AM PDT by SteamshipTime
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To: kattracks; Carry_Okie; *"NWO"; *"Free" Trade; *Espionage_list; *Geopolitics; *gov_watch; ...
"By contrast, what happens when Congress cooks the books and deceives Americans into believing that government debt is $3.5 trillion or $6 trillion, when it's really $35 trillion? Absolutely nothing."

Guys, Now THAT bears repitition often and LOUD! When the government prosecutes {persecutes} the average citizen or corporation for actions the government itself is doing, the idea of equal justice under the law is DEAD. Totalitarian tyranny at the whims of man is BORN! Or anarchy of the elite over the masses. Peace and love, George.
16 posted on 07/03/2002 7:21:43 AM PDT by George Frm Br00klyn Park
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To: George Frm Br00klyn Park
I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace, that two are called a law firm, and that three or more are called a congress.

John Adams

17 posted on 07/03/2002 7:37:40 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: kattracks
Which is worse: WorldCom or Congress?

Tough call. Kind of like asking who is worse, bin Laden or Arafat.

My Congressman is Cynthia McKinney, so based largely on that, I'd have to say Congress is worse than World Com. At least with World Come you don't have to buy its stock, and have some choice in the matter.

18 posted on 07/03/2002 7:42:11 AM PDT by Jay W
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To: Libertarianize the GOP
thanks for the ping
19 posted on 07/03/2002 8:23:04 AM PDT by Free the USA
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To: kattracks
Congress
20 posted on 07/03/2002 8:24:20 AM PDT by Freedom'sWorthIt
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To: Uncle Bill
From the Rettenmaier article:

It is often noted that the government debt grew substantially during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. This statement is misleading. The explicit public debt did increase between 1980 and 1988 - from 26.1 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 40.9 percent. However, based on the alternative measure of Social Security's unfunded obligations, over the same period implicit Social Security debt actually fell - because of the reforms adopted in 1983. As a result, the combined Social Security and explicit government debt fell from 232 percent of GDP in 1980 to 157.5 percent of GDP in 1988. Thus the combined government debt was reduced by 32 percent - almost one-third - during Ronald Reagan's term in office.

During the presidency of George H.W. Bush, the combined debt rose from 156.3 percent to 172.08 percent of GDP. By the end of the Clinton presidency, in 2000, the combined debt had fallen to 135.52 percent of GDP.

Interesting.

21 posted on 07/03/2002 11:06:19 AM PDT by Huck
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To: MissAmericanPie
 
STATE OF FREEDOM
Read related story

Are Americans freer today than in 1776?
No, federal government has replaced British empire as oppressor 49.12% (2084)
No, with tax-freedom day in mid-May, we're no more than slaves 14.99% (636)
No, we're less free in most respects 11.57% (491)
In some ways freer, in some ways not 9.80% (416)
No, I'd take 1776 life over 2002 any day 9.12% (387)
Yes, Americans have more and can do more 2.59% (110)
Yes, in all respects 1.86% (79)
Other 0.35% (15)
Yes, government has empowered once-disenfranchised groups 0.33% (14)
Yes, the nation is not a colony 0.26% (11)

TOTAL VOTES: 4243

SOURCE: SLAVES RESPOND


22 posted on 07/03/2002 8:46:22 PM PDT by Uncle Bill
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Support ConWorld, Because Running The Biggest Ponzi Scheme In History Is Hard Work

Click image for Store

23 posted on 07/04/2002 8:59:53 AM PDT by Fixit
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To: Fixit
Uncle Sam's Audit Gap

Government Fails Fiscal-Fitness Test

U.S. Federal Government Accounting Methods

$3,400,000,000,000(Trillion) of Taxpayers' Money Is Missing

The War on Waste - Rumsfeld Says 2.3 Trillion Dollars Missing

1.1 Trillion Dollars Missing At Defense Department

HUD Missing 59 Billion

Billions Lost By Feds

Cooking The Books At The Department Of Education


Bush Pushes Prison For Corporate Scammers

"We've had too many cases of people abusing their responsibilities, and people just need to know that the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] is on it, our government is on it," - George W. Bush

24 posted on 07/06/2002 2:12:47 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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