Anti-Business Climate in America

April/28/2012 20:34PM
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A while back FBI agents stormed the Gibson Guitar offices and walked out with all their records. Supposedly, Gibson was using wood for their guitars that many guitar manufacturers used. But, it was a wood that was on some obscure banned list. Coincidentally, the CEO was a big donor to the Republican party.

Federal investigators look through the workshop at the Gibson Guitar factory during a raid on the Memphis facility last week.

Solyndra executives  gave tons of money to Obama’s campaign. They were rewarded with a half-billion in loans that will never be repaid. No FBI agents at Solyndra.

Attorneys General across the country try to get publicity by attacking business. Elliot Spitzer became governor of New York by doing just that. A BP employee, a lowly engineer was arrested this week for supposedly erasing e-mails. More to follow.

The Bush administration destroyed  Arthur Anderson in the wake of the Enron scandal. A once-proud accounting firm with thousands of employees, just gone.

“On June 15, 2002, Andersen was convicted of obstruction of justice for shredding documents related to its audit of Enron, resulting in the Enron scandal. Nancy Temple (Andersen Legal Dept.) and David Duncan (Lead Partner for the Enron account) were cited as the responsible managers in this scandal as they had given the order to shred relevant documents. Since the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission does not allow convicted felons to audit public companies, the firm agreed to surrender its CPA licenses and its right to practice before the SEC on August 31, 2002 – effectively putting the firm out of business. It had already started winding down its American operations after the indictment, and many of its accountants joined other firms. The firm sold most of its American operations to KPMG, Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young and Grant Thornton LLP. The damage to Andersen’s reputation also destroyed the viability of the firm’s international practices. Most of them were taken over by the local firms of the other major international accounting firms.

The Andersen indictment also put a spotlight on its faulty audits of other companies, most notably Waste Management, Sunbeam, the Baptist Foundation of Arizona and WorldCom. The subsequent bankruptcy of WorldCom, which quickly surpassed Enron as the then biggest bankruptcy in history (the record is now held by Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual) led to a domino effect of accounting and like corporate scandals that continue to tarnish American business practices.

On May 31, 2005, in the case Arthur Andersen LLP v. United States, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously reversed Andersen’s conviction due to what it saw as serious flaws in the jury instructions.[6] In the court’s view, the instructions were far too vague to allow a jury to find obstruction of justice had really occurred. The court found that the instructions were worded in such a way that Andersen could have been convicted without any proof that the firm knew it had broken the law or that there had been a link to any official proceeding that prohibited the destruction of documents. The opinion, written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, was also highly skeptical of the government’s concept of “corrupt persuasion”—persuading someone to engage in an act with an improper purpose even without knowing an act is unlawful”

The EPA has lost suits against oil companies over their fracking procedures.

The Transportation Secretary went after Toyota for rapid acceleration only to find there was no issue. Toyota lost millions over a farce.

This from a Washington Post article in 2010, long after the initial recall of thousands of Toyota and Lexus cars.

THE RESULTS are not definitive, but a preliminary report on sudden acceleration from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has some good news for Toyota Motor Corp. Of the 58 data recorders analyzed by the agency and the company, 35 showed that the brake pedal was not depressed at the time of the crash. Partial braking was involved in 14 other cases. Drivers were hitting the gas pedal instead of the brake. In short, electronics was not the issue. Human error was.

The government forced banks that had never been involved in the housing mortgage fiasco to take money from the government. Then, smeared banks like Northern Trust for holding a golf tournament while taking money they were forced to take.

Recently, an attorney general in a state smeared a small company without providing evidence that there was any wrongdoing. The company stock, which I own, dropped 50%. Their customers are questioning whether they should be doing business with the company. But, that attorney general made a lot of news, got a lot of air time, and will probably run for higher office in that state.

We now live in a country where businesses have no rights. Where they are guilty without a trial. Where jobs are lost, stockholders are damaged, and reputations smeared without a blink. Where politicians with big egos and bigger ambitions run roughshod over business. Where the lapdog media provides the incentive for this behavior. After all the dust settles there are no repercussions for the politicians, and the apologies are late and lame.

Is this really America?

Sure businesses and their leaders do bad things. But, there needs to be less fervor for those who are being accused and haven’t done wrong. Rumor and innuendo are not indictments and proof of guilt. But, they do just as much damage. When those things happen, there is no recourse for the damaged business to get reparation. Just, an “I’m sorry, we thought you were bad”.

Most of us see a story and we are quick to rush to judgment. Seems like we are becoming a part of the problem. Maybe we need to reassess our own need to judge unfairly.

After all, without successful businesses we have no jobs and will all be dependent on government for our well being. Think about that.

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