Ignoring the Real Corporate Abuse

The problem with cleaning up corporate America is that those doing the cleaning keep getting filthy ... with corporate America's money.

Even with our Congress critters crying for corporate blood over the corrupt practices of Enron, WorldCom, and all the rest -- after their speeches, they slip out the side door to raise campaign money from the very corporate powers they now say they're reforming. In July, for example, Democratic house leader Dick Gephardt, who publicly is outraged by corporate America's greed, privately charged $5,000 per ticket to corporate lobbyists for a fundraising reception in his honor. Likewise, a half-dozen republican Senators, who are part of George W. Bush's born-again moralistic crusade against corporate evildoers, played courtesans to corporate lobbyists who paid $15,000 each to spend private time with the senators at a posh resort.

What we have here is business as usual -- and hypocrisy on steroids. Both parties rationalize their corporate money-grubbing by claiming that they're only milking the "White Hat" corporations, not the bad guys. "There are just a few bad apples who have created a problem," said a corporate-minded Democrat.

But only a year ago, Enron, WorldCom, and all the other present-day evildoers were considered White Hats too, even though they weren't, and members of Congress were eager to take their money then, and in turn, happy to pass bills making it easier for these very CEOs to blindside workers and investors.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... It's not the color of the CEO's hat that's at issue -- it's corporate power itself that's out of whack, encouraging CEOs to be self-serving, abusive, and corrupt. Practically every corporation coming to these fundraisers is guilty of contaminating our air and water, mugging workers, dodging their fair share of taxes, stiffing farmers and small business, lying to consumers, buying special favors from politicians, and generally running roughshod over all of us. Power corrupts -- and absolute power corrupts absolutely -- and it's this overbearing corporate power that has to be addressed.

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