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Subject:  Enron and Social Security Date:  1/26/2005  10:28 AM
Author:  joelxwil Number:  44190 of 88520

I just finished reading Mclean and Elkin: "The Smartest Guys in the Room", which is the story of Enron.

The surprising thing about Enron is not that they went belly up, but that they stayed in business so long. Most of their ventures, particularly dumb stuff like Enron Broad Band, lost money. But through accounting fraud they were able to show a paper profit and then push the liability out further. Their bankers, like Merrill Lynch, knew what they were doing, but Enron generated huge fees, and so they went along with it. Arthur Anderson had a huge consulting presence which was extremely lucrative, and so they helped out the accounting fraud.

Anyway, that thing about pushing the liability out further in time reminds me of Social Security. Just as it was inevitable that Enron go bankrupt, it is inevitable that the huge unfunded liability of Social Security bring it down sooner or later. And the people, like the stockholders of Enron (but nobody in his right mind who could sell the stock would have held the stock when to the end - or even close to the end), will end up with the huge cost to be paid.

Anyway, it is a great book, but very detailed and over 400 pages long.
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