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  1. #1
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    Default Gov't Accountability

    Here's an article from the Daily Beast.

    I would usually just park this article in my conservative answer thread, but I thought that this deserved it's own thread.

    How Is America Really Doing? Wharton’s Idea for Better Accountability

    Public companies have to disclose where they stand financially via 10K statements—so shouldn’t the United States have do it for their shareholders, too?

    Transparency and clarity in financial markets have been key factors in weeding out bad actors and fraudsters. Back in the 1930s, legal rules were put in place that were quite simple: if you want to raise money as a publicly traded company, you must disclose details about finances, leadership, markets, pension and off-balance-sheet liabilities, litigation exposure, compensation, insider purchases by executives, debt etc. One of the key tools used to make this disclosure is the Securities and Exchange Commission 10K form.

    The system doesn’t work perfectly. Executives might fudge numbers or deceive. But if they do, they face hefty fines, and possibly jail time for the offense.

    Now a collection of thinkers over at the Wharton School of Business website, including some of the brightest legal minds on Wall Street, have proposed on America’s birthday that we need a 10K for the United States. (Full disclosure: David Lawrence, one of the authors, is a friend.) The logic is simple but compelling: We the citizens, as the shareholders, need an honest reckoning from our “executives” (politicians) about the condition that our “firm” (the country) is in.

    As the writers point out, the 10K emerged from the depths of the Great Depression because people lacked confidence in financial markets. We not only had economic problems in the 1930s, we had trust issues. You can say the same about our politics today. It’s not just that problems like the massive public debt are lurking, it’s that our political leaders are not honestly and openly discussing it. Indeed, there is a huge debate about exactly what the debt is.

    But beyond trust, there is the central issue of accountability. Washington has been rightly abuzz about the need for accountability in the private sector. From Enron in 2002 to the Wall Street crisis in 2008, we’ve heard story after story about cooked books, fraudulent transactions, etc. Executives have gone to jail for accounting fraud. But what happens when the books get cooked in Washington? Politicians get reelected and bureaucrats get promoted. I’m not suggesting jail time. But why not require that the federal government adhere to the same accounting standards as the private sector?


    Beyond merely griping about the lack of accountability, the authors go on to offer their summary of a 10K report for 2012. It’s a fair-minded but depressing read. The authors point out that America cannot be confident that its “financial statements are accurate” and that our off-the-books liabilities are astronomical. And the authors accurately point out that too many of us have bought into misleading or less-than-transparent accounting, believing that it can magically make our problems vanish. They note that “ordinary Americans now expect to work approximately one-third of their lives and be supported, at least in part, by government spending for more than one-third of their lives.”

    If there are grounds for optimism, it is the authors’ assessment that, as America Inc., “our most important asset” is “our people.” So maybe it’s time for the shareholders (that would be us, the citizenry) to better assert our rights as owners.

  2. #2
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    i suppose no one is interested

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    I guess not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jontherobot View Post
    i suppose no one is interested
    I think this is largely true on both the micro (this thread) and macro (the American public) level.

    For example, most people don't understand Social Security at all. They have no idea that what they will take it out is many times greater than what they put in, or that the money they put in is long gone. And most of them aren't particularly interested in learning.
    1w2-6w5-3w2 so/sp

    "I took one those personality tests. It came back negative." - Dan Mintz

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    Its just that when you read the other threads finding another about government accountability is a little like watching police assist with the important matter of cats stuck up trees while a violent gang rape is taking place in broad daylight two blocks over.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    I guess not.
    The lack of government accountability is a symptom of corporate corruption, not a cause.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    The lack of government accountability is a symptom of corporate corruption, not a cause.
    Government's the shadow cast by big business.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Government's the shadow cast by big business.
    Most, if not all, Republicans are still operating under the idea that problems with the government are part of a leftist conspiracy to destroy the US. McCarthyism has never really died.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Most, if not all, Republicans are still operating under the idea that all problems with the government are part of a leftist conspiracy to destroy the US. McCarthyism has never really died.
    The UK conservatives are jealous of how simply and popular that message is in the US, they have to employ doublespeak here to get through to people, so they talk about the "big society" instead of the "small state" and appeal to the struggling poor's hatred or anger at the welfare recipients in their neighbourhoods, it works though, no questioning that it does.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    The UK conservatives are jealous of how simply and popular that message is in the US, they have to employ doublespeak here to get through to people, so they talk about the "big society" instead of the "small state" and appeal to the struggling poor's hatred or anger at the welfare recipients in their neighbourhoods, it works though, no questioning that it does.
    That's going to change in the US as the baby boomers die off (thankfully). That's the generation most susceptible to that propaganda. Younger generations are getting tired of the Republican propaganda.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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