Saturday, February 5


Digby has a suggestion:

Since we are talking about exposing millions of retirees to the stock market, shouldn't the president be willing to apply the same rules to himself and certify his proposal with the standard Oxley-Sarbanes disclaimer: "Yes, I understand what's in this document, and certify that it is accurate."

An excellent point. But I would go even further. Here's the statement that must by law accompany each report of my own company's earnings and financial projections (the name is changed to protect the innocent -- me):

"Forward-Looking Statements. This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the context of the statement and generally arise when ------ is discussing its beliefs, estimates or expectations. These statements are not historical facts or guarantees of future performance but instead represent only ------'s belief at the time the statements were made regarding future events, which are subject to significant risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside of ------'s control. Actual results and outcomes may differ materially from what is expressed or forecast in such forward-looking statements. With respect to forward-looking statements relating to the business, operations, assets, liabilities, financial condition or results of operations of ------, the risks and uncertainties to which these statements are subject include the following: general economic conditions and interest rates; the cyclical and seasonal nature of our businesses; adverse weather conditions; changes in property taxes and energy costs; changes in federal income tax laws and federal mortgage financing programs; governmental regulations; changes in governmental and public policy; changes in economic conditions specific to any one or more of our markets and businesses; (long list of other factors deleted by me lest they identify my particular company). These and other risks and uncertainties are described in greater detail in ------'s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2004 and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2004 (including under the captions "Forward- Looking Statements" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations"), which are on file with the SEC and may be obtained free of charge through the website maintained by the SEC at . All forward-looking statements made are made as of the date hereof, and the risk that actual results will differ materially from expectations will increase with the passage of time. ------ undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statement to reflect future events or changes in ------'s expectations."

Now if the Bush administration was held to the same standard in its financial projections as any of the top 1000 publicly held companies (to which Sarbanes-Oxley applies), that's the kind of disclaimer that would have to accompany their financial projections for Social Security "private accounts." Should the government be less accountable to the truth than any single corporation?

If the public was made aware of just how many factors can and will impact such projections, it would be manifestly clear just how "pie in the sky" are BushCo's vaunted estimates for profitability.


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