The Enron Scandal: Why it Matters

Enron? What’s an Enron? That is a question that many Guilford students undoubtedly ask, whenever they hear mention of the company’s bankruptcy on the news. Unfortunately, the Enron bankruptcy is an issue that is very important to all of us, here at Guilford, especially in terms of finding a job after we graduate. Enron has gone down in the dust, and it may very well drag the rest of us down with it.

Enron was a Houston-based oil company. It was formerly “the seventh biggest corporation” in the United States, according to the New York Times. It employed thousands, and it made most of its money off of stocks. What nobody suspected was that Enron was executing one of the biggest fraud scandals in the history of the United States.

When a company is heading toward bankruptcy, it is required to inform the public of this, so that people may sell the stocks to avoid losing money. However, in a desperate move of deception and greed, the CEOs at Enron decided to withhold that information, basically cheating the millions of people who had bought their stock.

When the company went bankrupt, conveniently enough, the CEOs had decided to sell all their shares before the big crash, making a killing. Millions of people lost millions of dollars. The lower employees at Enron felt the sting the worst. Required by the CEOs to invest all their social security in Enron stock, thousands of employees watched in horror and despair as their entire life savings went into the pockets of the rich CEOs. The New York Times estimated that the scandal “cost employees and other shareholders tens of billions of dollars as the company tumbled into bankruptcy protection.”

I know what you’re thinking. Yeah, sure this is a sad enough story, but how does it relate to me, as a student at Guilford College? It relates to us in the sense that Enron may have screwed us all, in a big way.

Being the gigantic corporation that it was, Enron owned many smaller corporations that also went under, along with it. This is resulting in millions of American’s losing their jobs at these corporations, thus having less money to spend. This is devastating for our already flailing economy. Millions of unemployed Americans are going to be looking for jobs, creating a strong possibility of much less employment being available for college graduates now, and in the near future.

Plus, millions of Americans losing so much money on Wall Street is not too good for the economy either. When people have less money, they spend less, creating less income for businesses in general, which causes them to lay off thousands of future workers, like you and me.

This is something we all need to worry about. Because of the actions of these greedy businessmen, many of us may possibly not have a secure job when graduate. Yet businessmen like these Enron CEOs constantly pull off jobs like these, and they usually get no more punishment then a mere fine.

This leniency has got to stop. Americans need to take a stand against white-collar crime. While these CEOs may not be shooting or killing anybody, they are causing harm on a much wider and more massive scale. As a result of their greed, millions of Americans are living in poverty, ironically creating the type of social environment where much street crime occurs.

This problem needs to be cut off at the source. These CEOs need to be thrown in jail, so that people like them will think twice before trying to do anything like this ever again. It’s time for us working Americans to stand up for our rights, and see that these people get the just punishments that they so rightly deserve.