Sunday, August 23, 2009

Not Change--More of the same

I was an early and vocal supporter of Barrack Obama's Presidential run ( to be exact I had two candidates, one in each Party--Obama on the Dem side and Ron Paul on the Repub side). I have also been a vocal critic of many of George W Bush's policies. One particular practice I find particularly odious is the so-called Signing Statement, whereby the President essentially says that he doesn't plan on adhering to the very law he is in the process of signing.

I found this recent article in the NYTimes disturbing.

President Obama has issued signing statements claiming the authority to bypass dozens of provisions of bills enacted into law since he took office, provoking mounting criticism by lawmakers from both parties.

President George W. Bush, citing expansive theories about his constitutional powers, set off a national debate in 2006 over the propriety of signing statements — instructions to executive officials about how to interpret and put in place new laws — after he used them to assert that he could authorize officials to bypass laws like a torture ban and oversight provisions of the USA Patriot Act.

I believe these Signing Statements were wrong when Bush did them and I believe they are equally wrong now that Obama does them. What has happened to the US Constitution?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

GE -The Emporor Has No Clothes

The alleged magic of jack Welch looks now to be a lot of smoke and mirrors with the news out today that the company settled for $50 million with the SEC over accounting fraud in 2002 and 2003. The stories of quarter end shenanigans to "make a number" at Welch's GE are legendary. Typical of the way things work, now Jack's on the golf course and at big dollar corporate events while others are left to deal with the problems and soiled reputation that remains. This paragraph from the Financial Times report tells it all:

But the settlement reinforces the notion that GE’s focus on “making the numbers” every quarter – and investors’ penchant for rewarding the company for doing so – was a bull market phenomenon that was unsustainable over the long term

In my business world, I still see way too much emphasis on "making numbers" in the short-run rather than focusing on building long-term sustainability -- I hope this GE experience is a lesson to corporate America. It doesn't work in the long-run. The" make the numbers" mentality is another example of the delusional world we find ourselves circa 2009 America. Fast buck, no money down, bailout nation short cuts aren't going to get the job done and are likely to end in disappointment and disgrace.