Walter E. Williams

In 2002, when the Enron and WorldCom scandal broke, the Congress held hearings and some chief executives were jailed. Who did what was the big story in the major news media almost every night. Congress rushed to enact the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, also known as the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002. The act placed unnecessary, onerous and costly accounting standards on American businesses. The Enron and WorldCom debacle is a drop in the bucket compared to the financial mess that Congress has created through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in the name of "affordable" housing. Have you heard Congress calling for hearings? They haven't called for hearings because many of them, both Democrats and Republicans, receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars, were in cahoots with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If Americans are going to be on the hook to bail out these government-sponsored enterprises, at the minimum congressional hearings ought to be held to find out who did what and when.

Corporations employ accounting practices promulgated by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) that established Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and government agencies have accounting practices that don't come close to, and never did, the honesty of private accounting practices. Accounting fraud and deception are the dominant features of government agencies. If a private business kept and cooked the books, like government agencies do, the top executives would go to jail. Shouldn't the accounting standards businesses have to meet be applied to Washington? My answer is yes and if a congressman says no, I'd like for him to tell us why.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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