In one of the classic episodes of "The Honeymooners," Ralph Kramden is placed in charge of recruiting for the Racoon Lodge and his goal was to have reeled in 50 new members.
When the chairman asks for an update and how many more he needs to reach his target, Ralph responded matter-of-factly, "Fifty."
Suddenly, his neighbor and fellow Racoon, Ed Norton, proclaimed, "But I think we owe Brother Ralph a debt of gratitude."
When the chair pointed out that he didn't enlist any new Racoons, Norton countered with the fact that last year they "lost three of the old members."
Borrowing on the microcosmic experience of the Bensonhurst Chapter of the Racoons, in that redemption depends on how you view an event, the massive corporate scandals of the several years ago were either the worst thing or the best thing to impact corporate America.
Former Enron chairman Kenneth Lay and former chief executive Jeffrey Skilling are currently on trial in Houston for allegedly participating in a conspiracy to defraud the collapsed energy trader and mislead thousands of investors of what was actually going on under the hood.
Skilling is charged with 31 counts of conspiracy, fraud and insider trading, while Lay is charged with seven counts of conspiracy and fraud.
The well-documented collapse of what was once the seventh largest company in the U.S. and its subsequent multi-billion-dollar bankruptcy reorganization, has become emblematic in the country's perception -- whether real or imagined -- of pervasive corporate greed and wrongdoing.
While the Enron debacle resulted in roughly $50 billion in investor losses and sent thousands to the unemployment line, the scandal there, and shortly thereafter at WorldCom, sparked tighter regulation and an avalanche of indictments and prosecutions over fraud over the past several years.
The Enron/WorldCom disasters resulted in the congressional passage of Sarbanes-Oxley and the creation of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.
That subsequently sparked a renewed interest in the accounting profession as a career, and has created new opportunities in terms of compliance work and transformed it into skyrocketing practice niche.
The scandals have prompted myriad other companies to implement stricter governance guidelines, including many non-SEC issuers who have adopted portions of SOX for no other purpose than to have best practices.
Also, according to statistics, there were 26 percent more companies with a majority of independent directors on their boards last year than in 2001, the year Enron announced that it was filing for bankruptcy.
But one could certainly argue that from the ruins of Enron and WorldCom, there emerged a small silver lining, if nothing more than it forced corporate America to become a more diligent watchdog.
Unfortunately for thousands of employees and investors it came a bit too late.
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