A Market Bad Enough to Make You Swear

Criticized for lacking a plan to put the U.S. economy back on track, the Bush Administration has turned to tough talk and big gestures — like the much-derided President's Economic Forum last week in Texas — to restore confidence. No surprise then that skeptics saw more big-shtick than big-stick in last week's Securities and Exchange Commission deadline for CEOs and CFOs to swear to the accuracy of their accounts.

The 695 U.S. companies that filed statements last week, and the big U.S.-listed European firms like British Petroleum and Unilever that file later this month, after all, have...

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