THE PLANK SEPTEMBER 26, 2008
Anyone who dug my post from last night should check out the op-ed in this morning's Wall Street Journal from former SEC Chair Arthur Levitt and former SEC Chief Accountant Lynn Turner. They do a much better job than I could of explaining the importance of mark-to-market accounting in reviving investor trust: "It's like your personal balance sheet," they write. "If you say everything you own is worth twice as much as it is in today's market, then you are misleading those who are relying on the data you give them, and you will ultimately destroy their trust and willingness to do business with you." Levitt and Turner aren't newcomers to the issue. They've been calling for honest, stringent accounting since before the Enron debacle. It's not hard to find people who got things wrong over the last decade. But these guys are two of the few who got it right. If we want to know where to go from here, Washington leaders would be wise to listen to them.