Cavuto vs. O'Reilly

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thanks for watching us tonight.

Well, my pal Neil Cavuto and I had quite a shoot-out over Enron last night.  We posted it on the Web site.  And Enron is the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.

Even if you've never held a stock in your life, you should pay attention to this Enron story.  it's about corruption, deceit, and treachery at the highest levels of our capitalistic system.

These Enron executives, if guilty-- and I believe they are-- have committed crimes that make the Mafia look like day campers.  Millions of Americans held Enron stock through mutual funds and 401(K)s and expected an honest accounting from the company.

What we got were lies while the Enron fat cats were making millions on side deals and insider trading.

Now, it's the opinion of Mr. Cavuto and others that anyone who buys a stock is responsible for what happens to it.  I disagree.  I say that anyone who buys a stock is entitled to honesty and accurate accounting.

Jaroslav Kramar, who lives in Fountain Valley, California, sides with Neil.  "Cavuto is right.  Don't invest in a company whose businesses you can't explain.  Your argument is liberal, Bill, that the government should protect the investor."

But George Will, anything but a liberal, agrees with me.  "Enron's situation will remind everyone, some conservatives painfully, that a mature capitalistic economy is a government project."

Of course it is.  If the public loses confidence in the accounting practices of corporations, there won't be any stock market.  Simply put, the federal government has an obligation to make sure that corporations are honest in accounting.  If that does not happen, watch out below, our whole economic system would collapse.

So the Justice Department should be aggressively investigating Enron.  But will it?  Attorney General Ashcroft has already recused himself because Enron gave him campaign money.  Mr. Ashcroft is also not very good at telling the American people anything about important investigations like the Marc Rich pardon.

So it's not a lock that Justice will do much here.  Could be another Janet Reno deal, Oh, yes, we're investigating.  Oh, no, I can't tell you anything.

And then, of course, nothing gets done.

Miss Reno made a career out of that, and Mr. Ashcroft noticed, I'm sure.

In the end, it is up to President Bush to right this wrong.  He has to make the Enron investigation a priority and send a message to sleazy corporations.  You lie to your stockholders, you go to jail.  You screw your workers, you go to jail.

That's the only way our capitalistic system can operate.  The feds must come down hard on the crooks.  White collar crime is just as bad as street crime.  Enron executives hurt people and hurt them badly.  It is simply wrong to say those people are responsible for the company's deceit.

We need honesty in this country and we need a Justice Department who cares about that.

And that's the memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day,"

According to a survey taken by the Luntz Research Company, in the nation's eight Ivy league colleges, more than 80 percent of the professors voted for Al Gore in the last election.  This as well as Ivy league tuition is rich, because these schools are always screaming about diversity.  Well, where is the diversity among the faculty? It's ridiculous.

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