The Wall Street Fix
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photo of downtown manhattanjoin the discussion: What have we learned from the Wall Street scandals of recent years? What can, and should, be done to restore the public's trust?

Dear FRONTLINE,

It is shocking to see that these people and corporations got only a slap on the wrist. I would suggest that the large institutional investors immediately divest themsleves of all the stock of these firms for a period of at least five years and then evaluate their performance to see if they are ethical in their dealings. This will hit these corporations in the pocket book which may drive home the point that their behavior has a price for them also.

Bill Liebhardt
Davis, California

Dear FRONTLINE,

I was an extremely dedicated hard working employee for over 30 years. My family and I made sacrifices every month in order to invest in a secure future the 401 K promise. We believed that the 401K trustees, the SEC, and corporate boards were entitees we could trust to protect our interests. They instead co operated with greedy corprate officers to steal millions of our hard earned dollars.

They did not use a gun or wear a ski mask but they stole more and devastated more lives than most of the thieves in our prisons.

The merger of Qwest and USWest should never have been approved. We employees/investors first lost our jobs, then our life savings. At age 60 instead of nearing the secure retirement I

carefully planned; I just took a $9.00 per hour part time job and had to sell my house.

My generation of responsible hard working middle class citizens helped build this country. We have now lost trust in our government and business institutions.

I wish someone would listen to ideas on how to restore trust.

Lois Gurdin

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you for that very informative documentary.It is in my opinion that the New York attorney general is as guilty as the others.He should have not entered a plea. How much did he make?

And will he be living on a 2100 acre ranch too?With the procedes from his farce of representaion? All of the people profiled on here tonight, including Spitzer should go to prison.

FOR LIFE!!

Dino Visciglio
cerritos, ca

Dear FRONTLINE,

I couldn't have tuned into a more timely and vital show. I've just composed a new philosophy course prospectus for "Business Ethics," to be co-taught with an Accounting Professor at our University. As a long-time philosophy professor I have always shied away from applying philosophy directly to business, until the summer of 2002 when glaring infringements of business ethics stared us all in the face. Academics can no longer stand on the sidelines, because our job is to teach undergraduates, many of whom are in one of the most popular undergraduate majors since the 1980's,--business. Thank you for this informative show and great aid in helping me to understand the complexities of what went wrong and how it can and cannot be fixed in our market-based American economy. I look forward to doing my part in my own teaching profession of philosophy

Mary Lenzi

Dear FRONTLINE,

I LOVE your programming. You try to the best of your ability to uncover the truth. It is obvious that Wall Street didn't get what they deserve. Educating the public is empowering the public. Thank you for bringing the truth of the stories to us!

Ari Ansari

Dear FRONTLINE,

As an investor in Citigroup, I would have liked to have heard one word in support of its position that each and every investor would have been happy to have collected any and all profits from these stock trades; now they are all lining up behind a few "financial ambulence chasing" lawyers to sue my company and ask a jury of fellow "little investors" to take billions of dollars from Citigroup, bankrupt the company and give them their money back.

As a small shareholder, I sure didn't do anything dishonest, yet I fear that, in the end, my financial interests will be trampled upon. Just another perspective.

New York N.Y.

Harvey J Osgood
New York, N.Y.

Dear FRONTLINE,

Although I am appalled at the behavior of the Ebberses and Grubmans of the world, I feel that an important piece of this puzzle is missing. I don't think it suprises anyone to find out that analysts at a company that directly benefits from an increase in a stock price would be touting it. But, what about analysts at other firms? Why would analysts at other firms also remain bullish? How could a Jack Grubman wield such influence over analysts at rival firms? It seems to me that the lack of proper legal accounting is a more dangerous problem than the super-banks and cheerleader analysts.

David Zeddies
Evanston, IL

Dear FRONTLINE,

I appreciate your excellent research although you have just scratched the surface in my opinion.I feel that the relationships between the superbanks and the Federal Reserve need to be put under a microscope.

I find it more than outrageous that Alan Greenspan is so involved in bankers interests.Perhaps criminal!The whole group including Robert Rubinthe U.S. treasurer during this!I also request that the next term in which George Bush has appointed Greenspan beginning next year be withdrawn and immediately be placed on leave.I also expect a FULL audit of the Gold owned by the United States and the books reviewed independently.

Mini Miner
Indpls, In

Dear FRONTLINE,

Oh please! No one forced these people to buy overpriced securities. Let the buyer beware. It's the buyer's responsiblity to investigate the soundness of deals, whether that be cars, groceries, or stocks. The last thing we need is more regulation in the securities business. It's already overregulated. In fact, if I had a business, the last thing I would do is take it public. The money public companies are able to raise in financial markets does not justify the amount of nonsense publicly held companies have to wade through. What we do need, however, is for people to stand up and take responsiblity for their actions. No one held a gun to your head and forced you to call your broker and put in an order for Worldcom. You got duped, and it's all your fault. So get over it.

Nathan McCain
Indianapolis, IN

Dear FRONTLINE,

I have to say I don't feel any justice in the settlement reached by the SEC in the World Com swindle without jail sentences for thoses high stakes swindlers. It's a shame, and I'm left without a shred of faith that this kind of hood winking of hard working people by hardly working people will be repeated. From my small investor point of view, Wallstreet is still littered with potholes and some emerging sinkholes. I'm afraid to trust a system that cannot warranty some good faith. Until you effectively separate investment banking from research analysts and hand out some punishment to the criminals you'll never get my trust again.

Sandy Williams
Houston, TX

Dear FRONTLINE,

Excellent program. Congratulations to PBS for its production and airing. While some of the issues in the program had already been published in newspapers and business magazines, the clarity of the presentation, the way all the pieces of the puzzle are put together, and it's broad distribution through TV are commendable.

The program helps to show that Wall Street, at some point in time, has made investing in the stock market much akin to investing in a pyramid scheme, where profits can only be expected from an ever increasing number of individuals sucessfully lured to partipate in the pyramid. It seams that stocks of companies are no longer the means in which corporations obtain financing for productive activities, but rather just the instrument that allows investment bankers, analysts and stock brokers to become rich quick. The fancy offices, the marble buildings, the attractive investment brochures, and the very smart analysts on TV recommending are nothing but tricks with smoke and mirrors, to attract the fools.

It's also illusory to believe that government can control the problem. What is a $1 billion fine, in comparison to all the profits the investment bankers made through their malfeasances? It is certainly nothing, in comparison to the losses suffered by the investors who trusted their advice.

Ft. Lauderdale FL

Dear FRONTLINE,

What we have learned about the recent scandals is that they are just repetitions of those in the past. And as always, no one goes to jail. The guilty keep their ill gotten booty. The victims are ignored, uncompensated, and even blamed.

Can this be stopped? Can faith be restored? Of course, but it takes a government willing to step in with laws, strict enforcement, and severe punishments for the guilty. We don't have a government like that in this country. So the scandals will just go on and on.

Tom Cannon
Cincinnati, Ohio

Dear FRONTLINE,

As a young entrepreneur, I remember looking back and having the feeling that I was missing out on the Wall Street propaganda campaign. I am happy and sorry now. I am happy to learn that in my future years America is not worth investing in because all the profit will land in the hands of the corrupt and I feel sorry for people like my honest father, who has sweated and toiled for twenty years, only to lose so much to an evil system that punishes real wrong doers with a slap on the hand. If our government and those with the most responsibility to have integrity falter: and fail to learn from history, then why should our society do business?

Pablo Pena
Katy, TX

Dear FRONTLINE,

Being in the financial services industry, I have followed the Citigroup, Worldcom & Salomon Smith Barney story with great interest. I wholeheartedly supported Attorney General Spitzer's efforts to bring these criminals to justice. However, I am greatly saddened at the results. Sandy Weil should be doing jail time. Instead the immoral and unethical Citigroup Board of Directors give him an $18 million of stock options as a bonus. Bernard Ebbers and Jack Grubman should both be drawn and quartered. Instead, Bernie sulks around his 2100 acre estate, while Jack swigs pina coladas somewhere warm, still laughing at the slap on the wrist he received for deceiving millions of investors who will never see the return of their losses. These thieves and all who cooperated with them in this monumental fraud, should be stripped of all their ill-gotten wealth and banished from the corridors of Corporate America forever.

The American investor bears the brunt of the criminal dealings of these men and is the only party who has suffered from this travesty of justice. Wall Street will forever be known now as Wall Cheat!

As another viewer stated, where is the Congressional outcry? Why wasn't Sandy Weil led before a Congressional committee and grilled on these criminal dealings? Instead, Spitzer cut a deal to ensure that he will still have plenty of Wall Street dollars to help fund his run at the Govenor's office in New York State.

Rob Heath
Monument, CO

Dear FRONTLINE,

Very good repoting, but very disappointed that the crooks got off so easily. I have lost my confidents in those who I depend on for protection against the big finacial "Goliaths".

I am also disappointed that N.Y Attorney General Eliot Spitzer would allow those crooks to get no prison term for contributing to the down fall of our economy as a whole.

Victoria Conroy
Ellenton, Florida

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published may 8, 2003

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