News & Politics

Unveiling the Corporate Greed Market

Corporations today don't operate in a "free market" – they operate in a greed market, aided and abetted by the political puppets they put in office.
The official line of the Powers That Be is that corporations simply do what their customers want. It's nothing but "supply and demand" action they tell us, the glorious free market in excelsius deo .

Nice theory, but reality is another story. For example, thanks to insider tapes from Enron that George Bush's justice department was recently forced to release, we can hear the free-market thoughts of one Enron trader talking to another about all the money they "stole from those poor grandmothers in California" by manipulating the energy market in 2001: "Yeah, Grandma Millie, man. But she's the one who couldn't figure out how to [blankety-blank] vote on the butterfly ballot. Yeah, now she wants her [blankety-blank] money back for all the power you've charged right up – jammed right up her [blankety-blank] for [blankety-blank] 250 dollars a megawatt hour."

Enron executives used market-manipulation techniques that they colorfully dubbed "sidewinder," "Russian roulette," "ping pong," and "donkey punch."

Charming, huh? Other Enroners brag on the tapes about cheating still more "poor grandmothers," about shutting down an Enron-controlled power plant to drive up electricity prices, and about how "awesome" it will be if Enron's honcho, Kenny-boy Lay, is chosen by his pal Bush to be the new energy secretary.

Alas for Kenny Boy, Enron was crashing and he was too politically hot to get the energy job, but George still helped him out. For the first several months of his administration, he deliberately forestalled demands to impose price controls to stop Enron's gouging of West Coast consumers. In that time, the corporation essentially stole billions of dollars from its unsuspecting customers – and Kenny Boy himself was able to bail out with a $100 million golden parachute.

Corporations today don't operate in a "free market" – they operate in a greed market, aided and abetted by the political puppets they put in office.

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Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of "Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush," from Viking Press. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.