Fit to Judge?

So now Congress is angry.

Dick Gephardt's appalled. Tom Daschle's chagrined. Congress, in general, is at wit's end.

It's time for us to do something, they say. WorldCom. Enron. Global Crossing. Enough.

Here's what I say: not so fast. Before you start policing other peoples' books, police your own.

You say you don't like the way WorldCom cooked its books. Well, I don't like the way you cook yours.

You say you don't like the way Enron brass left so little for investors. I don't like the way you leave squat for taxpayers.

You say you don't like the lack of financial discipline at a few companies. I don't like your lack of fiscal discipline with almost all programs.

No, Congress is not fit to judge, much less criticize, much less fix things.

There is a lot wrong with corporate America. But there is a lot more wrong with you trying to make it right.

There has been a terrible failure in corporate accountability. Much as there was a terrible failure in our national security accountability, prior to September 11. We now know that agencies weren't talking to each other then. They're talking to each other now. Just like we now know that simple accounting standards weren't being honored. But we're trying to make damn sure, they're honored now. We now know the SEC should have been more vigilant about abuses. We know it's being more vigilant now.

Mistakes were made. Let's not make bigger mistakes trying to fix them.

Congress loves appointing commissions, just like I love to eat. You'd be crazy to take dietary advice from me. You'd be doubly crazy taking corporate ethics advice from them.

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