By Ned Hickson
Given the state of today's economy, it's hard to know who to trust when it comes to investing your money. You could trust ME of course, but that would mean giving your money to someone whose greatest return on an investment came when I accidentally got a 75-cent candy bar out of a vending machine using only two quarters.
The truth is, I know absolutely nothing about the financial marketplace. This is why I currently do not own any stocks, bonds, treasury bills, money market accounts or, for that matter, any actual money. However, it's because of this -- and what the White House calls my "unique financial perspective" -- that I was asked to join the Presidential Advisory Board on Corporate Fraud, where our motto is: For every dirty business we wipe out, someone takes a bath.
It's our job to sift through literally thousands of highly complex financial reports sent in by America's corporations, and then analyze each one for signs of fraudulent activity. You may be wondering how someone like myself -- with the financial IQ of a Rhesus monkey -- could possibly hope to find ANY sign of shenanigans somewhere in the complicated maze of bookkeeping ledgers, profit statements, and Hooters receipts. It's actually very easy. That's because we've been painstakingly trained on how to study a document and quickly spot signs of fraudulent activity -- such as finding a yellow sticky note with the words fraudulent activity written on it.
Using this technique (based on the Evalyn Wood speed-reading method) we've been able to scrutinize the financial dealings of over 600 hundred major corporations in just under 36 hours (including lunch breaks, naps and a tour of Washington D.C.) And I'm proud to say I believe our efforts have had a major impact on ending corporate fraud because, so far, we haven't found a single incident.
By itself, this may not be enough to restore your confidence in the financial marketplace. But remember this: Right now, the President's latest economic stimulus package will soon be making its way through Congress on the "fast track" (a special system designed to speed up the review process by avoiding any contact with the president whatsoever.) This new plan is the result of high-level meetings with economic advisors, corporate analysts and CEOs from around the country.
In fact, the President is so sure of his plan that he said, in a direct statement to Congress, that he would personally be handling his package as often as possible, and that he wouldn't stop handling it until the bill was passed. "For obvious reasons, we hope the bill passes quickly," said a White House spokesman.
So what does all of this mean to the average American? Investment opportunity, of course. Many of you are probably asking yourselves: So, what should I invest my money in?
Being that I am now a member of an important government board that investigates corporate fraud, providing you with that type of information could get me in really big trouble. However, I CAN tell you about an investment opportunity that will guarantee a one-quarter yield. The only catch is, you really have to like candy bars.
You can write to Ned Hickson at:
The Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439.