Mr. Chairman, I want to again congratulate you on the overwhelming passage of the accounting and investor protection reform legislation yesterday, your leadership in that effort was nothing short of stellar. I also want to thank you for holding this hearing this morning, and of course want to welcome Chairman Greenspan before the committee and thank him for joining us today.
Chairman Greenspan, I look forward to your testimony on the issue of the state of our nationís economy. In a speech in Alabama yesterday, President Bush outlined that with low interest rates, relatively low inflation and increasing productivity that "our economy is fundamentally strong."
That may well be true, but we have this unprecedented decline of equity markets and at the beginning of an economic recovery. My question is "why?"
Are we facing the risk of slipping into a deflationary spiral that parallels what we witnessed during the Japanese crisis of the 90ís? Or is this all attributable to the fact that corporate scandals, like weíve witnessed at Enron and WorldCom, have led to a crisis of confidence in corporate management and corporate financial statements that have called many to question not only the integrity of our equities markets, but the fundamental underpinnings of our economic well-being.
Hopefully, last nightís reform package passed here in the Senate will be embraced not only in conference by the House membership, but also by President Bush, who to date has been reluctant to state his support for this bill over the far weaker legislation passed by the House.
Like the rest of my colleagues, I look forward to your perspectives about what, if any, impact you believe the legislative proposal passed by the Senate yesterday will have towards helping to soothe the fragile psyche of investors.
Finally, Chairman Greenspan, I look forward to a discussion about some of the elements the legislation did not deal with, in particular, the issue of expensing stock options. And whether you believe more companies will follow suit in light of Coco-Colaís announcement yesterday that they would begin expensing employee stock options.
As always, Chairman Greenspan, itís a pleasure to have you serve in front of this committee, I look forward to your testimony and to perspectives on Americaís future economic prospects. Thank you, M. Chairman.