Somehow I assumed that as we flew near Denver, one would be able to look out a window and see a huge plume of forest fire smoke. That did not seem to be the case today, though. Here, it is very dry. Except for a few flowers, the hillsides look baked.
Business travel to downtown Denver is so easy. One can walk or mass transit everywhere, there are places to eat, during daylight hours there's no "weirdness", and there are copy shops and bookstores, my two travel essentials. I was amused by the fact that I remember virtually no Denver landmark from my last trip here, other than the location of the really good bookstore downtown. Other matters beckon first, however.
I'd like to come to Denver with some time to really visit some day, but this trip is another "fly out tomorrow when my meeting is done" day. Perhaps I will get a few moments outdoors late this afternoon, though, and enjoy a somewhat cooler climate than the Dallas I left.
The revelation that Worldcomm materially misstated earnings is devastating news for our economy. I feel as though the "culture war" that the "powers that be" in the House of Representatives proclaimed a few years ago is indeed in session. The problem is that I'm on the other, left side. You know, the side that spends less time trying to regulate other peoples' personal lives and more time regulating the integrity of financial statements. The very same people who are the first to pontificate about moral decline are also the first to play fast and loose with financial reporting. Somehow in our marketplace we've let financial folks forget that consequences attach to things you use to raise money from pensioners and working people. I am so bored of profit over integrity, and so bored of a regulatory climate in which genuine reporting is subordinated to "safe harbors" and "technical interpretations" which mask the true finances of a company. I haven't read much about this latest one, though, but knowing not to treat an expense as a capital investment is far from rocket science. Worldcomm already looked like it had few clothes, but now the mannequin is out of gown. The wires beneath aren't pretty.
As we watch the Dow edge down toward x,000, I hope the Republicans finally realize that an unfettered marketplace without proper regulation for investor protection will defeat the ability for anyone to raise major capital for anything. We'll all be hoist, on another misplaced right wing petard, i.e., the notion that unregulated markets are always good.
We got the Securities and Exchange Commission and the state blue sky laws during the Great Depression for a reason. The speculators had driven the economy into ruin. Now we have the apparatus in place, but it is still reactive and ham-fisted and lobbyist-beset. You can't run an economy when folks treat 3.8 billion dollars of expenses as "capital items" for the purpose showing a profit. I don't know what intent went into it all, so I'm not going to proclaim "fraud" as my internet news service today did. But I do know that we're going to have to move beyond this "cook the books to show a profit to get an executive bonus" mentality, or we are going to have an investment market in ruins. As for the auditors, words do not suffice. The thing literally speaks for itself, and it speaks volumes. But I see they've already got excuses, in a prompt press release. In this world folks don't think you have to "own up" if you can draft a good press release and hire a good attorney. But there comes a reckoning, and I am afraid all Wall Street will feel it.