January 24, 2002

Enron is certainly not alone when it comes to investing in Washington. Indeed, government and corporations are conveniently conjoined by a largess money belt, fed by conveyors of dollars mined from taxpayers, investors and consumers.

But Washington Democrats want to over-regulate business, then they whine because Republicans (who want no regulations) get more campaign contributions from corporations. Truth is, corporations cover both sides of the aisle with money, and throw their big bucks where the power is, regardless of which party has it. And that, coupled with lobbyists, is what buys selective democracy.

The Enron debacle is merely the latest glory hole cleaned out by pocket-pickers before affected folks realized they were almost penniless and couldn't do anything about it, similar to the Savings and Loan collapse of the 80's.

Even though Enron won't cost the taxpayers $60 billion in bailouts like the S&L scandal did, spreading cash to open doors, changing the rules, selective de-regulation and lack of oversight were the root causes for both. The result, of course, was "irrational exuberance," corporate greed, bad management, cooking the books, full executive wallets, empty investor accounts, thousands of jobless people and fleeced retirement funds.

Worse, Enron's conscienceless manipulation of the energy business deeply impacted the economy, particularly California's energy crisis, and that is patently wrong. Hopefully, Enron isn't the first domino in the row, but it seems to have tipped a struggling K-Mart into bankruptcy, and that's a little scary, particularly when corporations are so tightly bound with politics.

Reactionary politics and campaign finance are not the answer to anything unless they are removed from the equation entirely and replaced by nonpartisan common sense. Until voters make it happen, government and corporations will continue to cast the ugly shadow of a giant monolith over this troubled republic.

Daniel B. Jeffs, founder
The Direct Democracy Center