It is always fascinating to watch the invisible hand of God work its market magic:

Hewlett-Packard stunned Wall Street by alleging a massive accounting scandal at its British software unit Autonomy that will cost the company the majority of $8.8 billion in charges.

It was the latest in a string of reversals that have renewed questions about the basic competence of the storied company's board and senior managers. ... The charge follows a nearly $11 billion writedown last quarter for the company's EDS services division.

Yup, nothing allocates resources more efficiently than the private sector. That's why the top executives and board members at HP who were responsible for executing this deal have all been so extraordinarily well compensated. Former HP CEO Leo Apotheker, who initiated the acquisition, earned $30.4 million last year. Current CEO Meg Whitman, who closed the deal, and who approved the deal as a board member, earned $16.5 million last year for just a few months work. Chairman of the board Ray Lane, who hired and quickly fired Apotheker, and who has presided over a string of disastrous acquisitions, earned $10.6 million last year in exchange for his shrewd business insight.

All hail the job creators!

"Most of the board was here and voted for this deal, and we feel terribly about that," says Whitman. Well, as long as they're sorry. I guess that's okay then. And besides, it's not like they didn't do their due diligence:

"The board relied on audited financials, audited by Deloitte. Not Brand X accounting firm, but Deloitte," [Whitman] said, adding that KPMG was hired to audit Deloitte.

That's right, they hired a name brand auditor to audit their name brand auditor. Whitman and the rest of the HP management team did everything right! That's why I betcha California voters are kicking themselves right about now for not electing Whitman governor and taking her up on her promise to run state government "more like a business":