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ETHICS IN GOVERNMENT
Bush Appointees Exposed as
DREADFUL NEWS, folks. Most of the newly appointed members of the Bush administration arent lawyers or career politicians or even Hollywood celebrities. Theyre corporate types!
Fort Worth Star-Telegram political columnist Molly Ivins, whose columns are syndicated in 113 other newspapers, laments that "corporations have just taken over the government."
The Los Angeles Times carried one of Ms. Ivins columns on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2001, under the heading, "Bush assembles best Cabinet that money can lobby."
In the piece, Ms. Ivins identifies the corporate connections of 13 top Bush appointees. Her source is a Jim Hightower newsletter.
For those who may not be aware, Jim Hightower is a Texas radio talk show host who bills himself as Americas Number One Populist. Described by the New Party, a recently formed populist political organization, as "a witty and aggressive spokesman against corporate greed and corrupt politics," Mr. Hightower often says, "Politics isnt about left versus right, its about top versus bottom." Hows that for a classic definition of class warfare?
(Here at Perspicacity & Paradigms, by contrast, we speak out against greed and corruption wherever it exists, not just the greed and corruption of our pet political targets.)
The New Party, with which Mr. Hightower is affiliated, is dedicated to breaking "the stranglehold that corporate money and corporate media have over our political process."
Now, the underlying assumption held in common by the New Party, Mr. Hightower and Ms. Ivins seems to be that corporations are innately evil and that corporate types are the scum of the earth.
Are Corporations Evil by Nature?
Without a doubt, there is a good deal of abuse of power on the part of many large businesses. True, the larger they get and the more power they wield, the greater the potential, and the tendency, to abuse that power. Some large multinationals even consider themselves above (and beyond the reach of) the laws of any political state. Such abuses are wrong and need to be checked.
But the mentality that business is evil by nature and that businessmen and business women are the natural enemy of anyone who "works for a living" is nothing short of absurd, not to mention a bigoted stereotyping of the most outrageous sort. Its on a par with suggesting that all whites are racist or that any African-American who attains success in the mainstream economy is a traitor to his own people.
Big labor, like big business, is subject to abuse. So are political parties. So are bureaucracies. So are churches. So are charities. It is not the type of organization but the character of the organizations leaders that determines whether its policies and actions are guided fundamentally by greed and powerlust or by sound moral principles.
One of Ms. Ivins' concerns is that because of the corporate backgrounds of the Bush team, they may be more subject to lobbying pressure and presumably bribery from industries with which they have historical connections. That, again, is a matter of character, not connection. And come on, now, weve seen plenty of influence peddling from the jeans-and-crew-neck crew of the last administration. Suggesting that having a business background makes one more easily subject to graft just doesnt wash.
That having been said, we as Americans certainly have a right to demand from our leaders, including those in the Bush administration who bring to the table a great deal of valuable industry experience and administrative know-how, that they use their abilities, their experience, their connections and their influence to shape policies that will be for the benefit of our nation at large. We have a right to expect them to take a leadership role in guiding the nations business, financial and industrial institutions away from short-sighted and purely self-serving motives and along paths that will strengthen our economy and help provide a better life for all. Many businesses already take this approach. Those that do not need to be gently nudged or, failing that, firmly turned around and set straight.
We also have a right to hold those in government responsible for making decisions based on merit, and on the common good, not based on favors to special interests or dollars donated to a campaign.
But that is not to say that we should ask President Bushs corporate-type appointees to systematically go about punishing the industries from which they spring simply because those industries are ... well ... industries.
Healthy Businesses Are Good for America
A healthy business and industrial sector is vital for our nations economic well being, an obvious reality that the anti-business radicals dont so much tend to forget as choose to ignore. It is simply not axiomatic, as some would have us believe, that what is good for business is bad for people.
Perspicacity & Paradigms will fight corporate abuse of power as vigorously as any other abuse of power. But we will never generalize or prejudge, and we will invariably be critical of those who do.
Oh, one other thing. Those corporate types on the Bush team are capable, experienced managers and administrators. They know how to run a business, and it would certainly be nice to see this nations government run in a business-like manner, for a change. Expect to see less waste, much greater efficiency, a well-managed budget, and things actually getting done.
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Copyright Ã‚Â© 2001 by Rand Green Communications