Investing Is Risky Business

Would you bail out Enron?

A lot of shareholders got burned. Many folks' retirement savings have been wiped out.

So would you have Uncle Sam bail 'em out? I say no, and here' s why:

Where do we draw the line? What about all those Lucent shareholders who saw fortunes wiped away? Or those at Computer Associates, or JDS Uniphase, or Nortel, or Cisco Systems, or any one of the myriad of dot-com's that dot-bombed? Do we bail them out too?

It's a slippery slope.

We all feel bad for people who got burned in this thing. They will never be made whole. Perhaps a company that takes over some of Enron's businesses can pay them back in part. But we all know, it won't be enough.

If Uncle Sam steps in here, he's got to step in everywhere. There are no guarantees in the investment world. No saints in all boardrooms. Chicanery happens. Some of it we see. Some of it we don't see.

This much I do see. The government can't always save us, nor should it. Because you start saving some, you damn well better start saving all. Then investing itself, business itself, isn't about risk. It's about protection. And in the end, it's about socialism. Someone will be there to cushion the blow.

Capitalism is about making money and losing money. Hopefully, honestly. Sometimes, painfully and dishonestly.

It is government's role to try and look out for the bad guys. It is not the government's role to make whole the good guys who fell prey to them.

Not tough luck. Tough love.

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