Subject: The Enronization Of Public Policy
Date: Wed, 04 Jun 2003 12:49:24 -0700
From: arianna@ariannaonline, now at the huffingtonpost.com
The Enronization Of Public Policy
By Arianna Huffington
Has there ever been a clearer, more irrefutable example of our political
leaders' lack of a moral compass than the clandestine, eleventh-hour
elimination of a promised child tax credit for almost 12 million of
America's poorest children?
It's a move that is so cold-hearted and so profoundly dishonorable
could only have been made by people who have lost all moral direction.
A magnetic compass should always point north; a moral compass should
always point out what is moral -- and immoral. Heaping billions on the
rich while ensuring that one out of six American kids doesn't get a
penny is dead wrong.
But that's exactly what Congressional Republicans did -- and what
President Bush signed off on.
This is not a right/left issue. It's a right/wrong issue. But the
self-appointed morality czars have been deafeningly silent on this bit of
economic indecency. I guess Bill Bennett was too busy shaking the hands of
every one-armed bandit in Vegas to notice.
Adding to the obscenity is the fact that while the Congressional
men were hacking up the $3.5 billion child tax credit in the name of
keeping the total tax cut under $350 billion, they let stand billions in
corporate tax dodges and accounting cons, including the use of offshore
The White House labeled this particular piece of supply-side porn
and Growth Act. I guess the Leave No Corporate Loophole Behind Act didn't
focus group as well.
The last few years have shown us what happens when an entire subculture
loses its moral compass: Enron, Tyco, Adelphia, WorldCom, et al. And it's
becoming increasingly clear that the current administration has embraced
the unethical ethos of the corporate oligarchy from which so many of its
members came -- and which all of them continue to serve. The same
inability to distinguish right from wrong that characterized the corporate
scandals is now dominating public policy.
It's the Enronization of Washington.
Want more proof? How about the unprecedented aircraft-leasing deal
currently being put together by the Pentagon and Boeing -- a plan that
uses the same kind of accounting sleight-of-hand popularized by the gang
at Enron. Here's how it works: instead of the Pentagon buying the 100 new
jets it wants to use as aerial refueling tankers directly from Boeing, at
an upfront cost of $138 million per plane, a special-purpose entity
created on Wall Street will purchase the planes and lease them to the Air
That way the Pentagon gets to acquire the planes without having to dip
into the Air Force's limited procurement budget, and Boeing gets to reap
billions in new military contracts without having to show the debt
associated with the shady deal on its balance sheet. It's an off-the-books
win-win deal for them both -- but a losing proposition for taxpayers,
who'll end up forking over an additional $8 billion to cover the interest
payments on the leases.
The sleazy new deal is being put together by the good bankers at
-- the same outfit that helped Enron defraud shareholders out of, what do
Then there is the news that, in an effort to ensure the passage of
cherished tax-cut plan, the Bush administration buried a highly damaging
study -- commissioned by its own Treasury department -- that found that it
would take either the permanent elimination of all future federal
discretionary spending or an immediate and permanent tax hike of 66
percent to cover the upcoming retirement and healthcare needs of aging
baby boomers. You think that bombshell might have put a little damper on
Bush's tax cut orgy?
This is exactly the kind of skullduggery corrupt corporations used
conceal potentially disastrous news from investors -- like Adelphia hiding
its $3.1 billion loans to the Rigas family in tiny footnotes in an
Like many disgraced companies, the White House has proven adept at
fast and loose with the numbers in order to mislead its "shareholders" --
the American people. Take the administration's shifty use of "averages"to
make it seem like the new tax cut benefits everyone -- claiming that "91
million taxpayers will receive, on average, a tax cut of $1,226," when, in
fact, the majority of households will receive a tax cut of $100 or less.
Or the way it used sure-to-be-repealed "sunset clauses" to make it seem as
if the president was reasonably settling for a $350 billion tax cut, when
the actual price tag on the new bill will be close to $1 trillion.
It's the kind of economic book cooking that would do ol' Kenny Boy Lay
It's time to expand the Right's definition of immorality beyond sex,
drugs, and rock and roll to include lying, cheating, and callous
indifference to those in need.
CEOs lying to investors to pad their own pockets is bad enough. Political
leaders lying to the American people to pad the pockets of their big buck
contributors is immoral -- and intolerable.
Arianna Huffington is the author of "Pigs at the Trough: How
Corporate Greed and Political Corruption are Undermining
America." For information on the book, visit
Note added 2007 : To see the current writings of Arianna, and her blogger's sharings, visit the Huff Post : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
Note added 20070425 : The Drumbeat of Impeachment is Resonating Across America.
We invite you to read, A Cornucopia of Death, Arianna's article of April 12th, 2005, a fabulous Pope commentary.
We invite you to read Arianna's article of April 6, 2005, Bushes in the Hood.
We invite you to read another article by Arianna, regarding the book, Disney War and more, dated 16 February, 2005.
We invite you to read Arianna's Article entitled, Rummy TV, dated 23 February, 2005.
We invite you to read Arianna's article entitled, A
Tale of Two Leadership Styles, dated 2 March, 2005.
"And so that's exactly what he (Andy Stearn) does, shaking things up with his reform-or-else threat to break up the AFL-CIO;
with a campaign to bring Wal-Mart to its knees; and with his pledge to "pay back" politicians, "no matter who they are
or what party they come from . who looked us in the eye and said they were for us--but then went out and betrayed us."
We invite you to read an older article of Arianna's, dated March 12th,
2003 : Tax
Havens: Are You With Us Or Against Us?
How many more hearses will we see, US, British,
and Iraqi, in the name of corporate weaponry ?
Yeshua ben Joseph is reported to have said, "The power of life and death are in the tongue."
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