FITE Newsletter #32
Is “The System” working? That’s the question posed each time there is a national scandal. Now that we’ve seen a select few financial heads pictured in handcuffs and put on trial, we are supposed to conclude that the system “works”. This is an old method. We can recall at least as far back as Watergate when a presidential resignation and some convictions “proved” that our system was healthy.
Hardly. The corporate-political crime in this country has been shown to be widespread. In other words, “Kenny Boy” Lay is being prosecuted because the totality of Enron’s collapse set off too many alarm bells to ignore. We have learned of Enron’s stealing mega-millions through price rigging in California’s deregulated market only because of their going belly-up.
Without this collapse it would have been debatable as to what caused the skyrocketing energy costs in California. Less dramatic thievery continues by a substantial collection of thieves- not just “a few bad apples”, as Paul Krugman has noted- who have also bilked tax payers, in some evaporating the life savings of hard working taxpayers. But as their losses did not lead to total, public collapse, we ‘know nothing.’ More on this can be found on our web site.
Enron’s fall has fortunately helped expose some of the chicanery of powerful Tom Delay, House Majority Leader. Delay’s securing large contributions from Lay/Enron for “the redistricting effort in Texas” violates Texas law. We can safely predict that if Delay pays any sort of penalty, the usual bards will be announcing that the system has “worked.”
Instead, the actions of Enron and Delay remind us of the dominance of the tight-knit political-corporate elite that has wrested so much from public control and the public’s treasury. Paul Krugman targeted this axis, noting that:
The larger picture is this: Mr. DeLay and his fellow hard-liners, whose values are far from the American mainstream, have forged an immensely effective alliance with corporate interests. And they may be just one election away from achieving a long-term lock on power.
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