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In praise of Enron

By Jack J. Woehr
web posted January 14, 2002

Commentators this week are wringing their hands and registering their indignation over the Enron collapse. As one who has always felt that the normal daily business of Enron amounted to a blending of the World's Biggest Ponzi Scheme with a Perpetual Motion Machine, I am torn between gratitude and delight. I feel we should restrain the indignation and count the benefits which accrue to the public from the biggest bankruptcy in American history. Let's start counting:

  1. The Enron scandal has brightened up a dismal winter political landscape. Where previously surveying the horizon we saw nothing but war and a failing economy, the tedium has now been relieved by the decloaking of Enron chief Kenneth Lay, along with the 45 per cent of the United States House of Representatives who took his money, the 70 per cent of the US Senate who took his money, and by President Bush and by both political parties, who all also took Lay's money.
  2. We Americans, optimists that we are, idealizers and perfecters of human nature, need these periodic and pungent reminders that neither the morality of the board room nor the morality of the congressional caucus is very far removed from the morality of the crack-addled street corner prostitute. We have not imbibed the antibodies of a world-weary cynicism at the motherland's breast, so we require the inoculations provided by the occasional big blowup like the Enron thingy.
  3. The employees of the failed concern will learn to look at things philosophically. Their experience with their pension fund will have finally burned into their breasts the immutable axiom that "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." We recommend that if they still have keys to the office, they run back and and steal some office supplies.

Yes, the Enron debacle is a gift which keeps on giving. The scandal is likely to be evergreen and continue to produce vicarious enjoyment for years. Its repercussions are nearly endless. Just consider its effect upon the 2004 presidential election. Previously the Democrats were left wander a desert as parched as that which lay before the Gates of Mordor. Now they now have a hope of making something stick to the Bush administration, provided that they can find a candidate of their own without cookie crumbs all over his paws. With this caveat in mind, let me be the first (and possibly the last) to predict the name of the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee: Jimmy Carter.

When Jack Woehr of Fairmount, Colorado, ran for the United States House of Representatives in 1994, he received no money from Enron. Nor much from anyone else, if the truth be told.

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