Steve Forbes' Snake Oil Made Me Sick

I got an Email from Steve Forbes on September 20 titled “Getting Rich is Your Best Revenge!” I found it much more distasteful than the ones I get from Nigerian and other non-U.S. royalty. The last I’d heard from Steve Forbes was when I saw him as a presidential candidate on TV proposing a Flat Tax as a solution for foreign relations, public education, housing, and weight loss. Why was he sending me this personal Email now to help me, in particular, get rich? And against whom did I allegedly want revenge?

Then I remembered that I’d visited the website of Forbes Magazine and entered my Email address so that I could read the articles. The article I’d especially wanted to read was called “Home Wrecker” and detailed the abuses of a predatory lending company called Household International. You can read it at
http://www.acorn.org/campaigns/pc.php?p=1158 without telling anyone your Email address.

This article explained why the country’s biggest high-cost home loan company was in serious trouble due to lawsuits from borrowers, lawsuits from shareholders, and investigations by state agencies. Household was portrayed, quite accurately, as the king of the predatory lenders, potentially liable for much greater penalties than the $215 million shelled out last week by Citigroup to settle FTC charges of engaging in a practice that Household has routinely engaged in.

If Forbes produces that kind of honest reporting on major corporations, then an Email from Mr. Forbes explaining how to get rich should be taken seriously, right? So I thought, for about 3 seconds.

Turns out the Email was addressed “Dear Investor,” and wanted me (the alleged investor) to get my revenge on whoever was creating all the corporate scandals, and to do so by getting rich, and to do that by making Forbes richer.

“Dear Investor,” the letter began, “Make no mistake about it-the financial world is facing a serious CREDIBILITY CRISIS-thanks to debacles at Enron, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom and elsewhere. The fact is, investors NO LONGER BELIEVE accounting firms, stock analysts, or CEOs.

“It’s no wonder. JUST TURN ON your TV or FLIP through the financial pages any day of the week and you’re likely to be hit between the eyes with another new accounting/earnings/analyst scandal…as millions of honest investors like YOU lose their shirts! As one of our readers, I want to make sure that YOU DON’T GET BURNED AGAIN! That’s why I’m going to send you a FREE copy of the Forbes Interactive Wealth Manager CD.

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