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Apr 19, 2005

Comments

Jack Krupansky

I have mixed feelings about Spitzer's efforts, goals, motives, and tactics, but my biggest beef is that the SEC refuses to sense the "blood in the water" and really take on the problem of low standards at publicly traded corporations. They are essentially tackling only the tips of the icebergs and leaving the bulk of the issues in place, ripe for further abuse.

The real problem here is that despite its modest efforts to police the securities industry, the SEC is (and has been since its founding) a mere bandaid and rubberstamp for the securities industry. As its first chairman, old Joe Kennedy (himself an abuser of the "public trust" as a stock market speculator and manipulator) had to literally beg Wall Street to "accept" a little oversight. The SEC should really be renamed "The Securities Industry Protection Agency".

Sure, let's reign in Spitzer since he's tackling "national" issues, but let's also completely reinvent the SEC so that little-guy investors can finally have some renewed faith in the "standards" of publicly-traded companies and the stock market.

-- Jack Krupansky

Jeff

I share your mixed feelings, and agree that the SEC should be reformed. Perhaps the airline industry is an example (I can't believe I'm using them for a model for anything!) with the FAA and the NTSB. The FAA's mission is to promote the airline industry as a whole, while the NTSB is responsible for the safety aspects irrespective of what impact it's decision have on the industry itself. The financial services industry requires a lot of oversight, and it also requires an agency that will safeguard the overall health of the industry. Having one agency that is chartered with both missions appears to not be working quite as well as we would all hope it would.

While we are at reinventing the SEC, let's reinvent Sarbanes-Oxley and make the law effective without killing the very companies it has jurisdiction over.

Michael Orecchio

I agree, that is why I had to write about it the other morning was I was looking more into the subject. He has become quite arrogant.

Check out this blog:

"Crusader of hypocrisy" - New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer

http://mykeo.blogspot.com

JLP

What amazes me is that the main stream media (even Fortune Magazine has yet to criticize him)is giving Spitzer a free ride. I have yet to read anything negative about Spitzer's doings.

JLP

AllThingsFinancial

jeff

good comments, and thanks for the link. Yeah, what happened to the Grasso case?

The MSM is treading pretty carefully here because Spitzer is a populist hero who is perceived to be taking on the corporate interests for the benefit of the average investor. That's a pretty tough image in this day and age to be critical of... but give it time and he will develop a crack that the media will pry open.

Tim Marman

Of course Spitzer has political motives - but that alone does not invalidate his actions. We need to remember to frame the problem correctly - any discussion should focus on the merits of his tactics (which I personally think are somewhat coercive), not the motives behind them. Most of you have, but the op-ed obviously hasn't. This, of course, is a common journalist ploy.

A good book on this subject is "Crimes Against Logic" (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0071446435/thelutherannetwo?creative=327641&camp=14573&link_code=as1). It's a quick read and discusses, among other things, exactly this type of reasoning (the author calls it the "Motive Fallacy").

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