That is the headline in an article in “The Atlantic”:
The above headline might seem like a joke. It isn’t. Senior staffers at the Securities and Exchange Commission were surfing Internet pornography when they should have been policing the financial system. A deeply disturbing SEC memo to Senator Chuck Grassley R-IA exposing this problem was reported Thursday night by ABC News. Here are some highlights via the Associated Press:
_A senior attorney at the SECs Washington headquarters spent up to eight hours a day looking at and downloading pornography. When he ran out of hard drive space, he burned the files to CDs or DVDs, which he kept in boxes around his office. He agreed to resign, an earlier watchdog report said.
_An accountant was blocked more than 16,000 times in a month from visiting websites classified as “Sex” or “Pornography.” Yet, he still managed to amass a collection of “very graphic” material on his hard drive by using Google images to bypass the SECs internal filter, according to an earlier report from the inspector general. The accountant refused to testify in his defense and received a 14-day suspension.
_Seventeen of the employees were “at a senior level,” earning salaries of up to $222,418.
_The number of cases jumped from two in 2007 to 16 in 2008.
The cracks in the financial system emerged in mid-2007 and spread into full-blown panic by the fall of 2008.On one hand, two cases in 2007 means that either it wasnt that widespread of a problem or it hadnt yet been detected. On the other hand, the fact that this behavior seems to have been so prevalent among senior level employees is particularly troubling. Theyre the ones who should have been closely watching the financial industry and leading the way to help prevent the system from collapsing.
While it is unlikely that porn actually CAUSED the financial crisis–unless maybe everyone in banks, the investment houses, the real estate industry, and other financial players were also spending all their time on porn and so were no longer paying attention to anything else–this is still mind-boggling. Is porn so addictive that it can eat away at the brain? How could any rational person be so foolish as to view and even download pornography on company computers? How could any person with any integrity at all spend 8 hours a day–that is to say, ALL DAY AT WORK–viewing pornography? While earning over $200 K a year? That salary coming from taxpayers? Pornography evidently is not only morally degrading–sexually but also in this case the equivalent of theft–but it makes a person stupid