Guest Column: A republic, if you think you can keep it – Bush on corporate fraud

July 1, 1993

Guest Column: A republic, if you think you can keep it – Bush on corporate fraud

By Tim Huwe

“You can see the speck in your friend’s eye, but fail to see the log in your own eye.”—Matthew 7:3

I was netsurfing while watching Ted David and Martha MacCallum on CNBC, at the same time I had talk radio in the background. That would qualify as multi-tasking, I guess. The financial discussion shifted from earnings projections and analyst assessments to President Bush discussing corporate fraud. If I were thinking quickly, I would have run tape, but I didn’t. I took some quick notes, and I didn’t intend any misquotes I may have made.

I agree corporate crooks should be punished severely. I have no problem with hefty fines and long sentences for people of the ilk of Kenneth Lay. Only with harsh punishment to people who defraud the public will others get the hint that maybe, just maybe, we oughtn’t follow in his deceptive footsteps.

From Bush’s speech, I heard the following. “You will be exposed, and you will be punished.” “We are beginning a new era of corporate integrity.” “The American economy depends on fairness and honesty.” Many more similar quotes were in the speech.

My question is this: When will the same standards of corporate integrity be required of the federal government? Some doubters will say, “It can’t happen. They’ve always approached finances in a sloppy fashion.” I’m not buying it. Politicians will begin being financially honest when we, their employers, demand it.

Few people really care about politics more than a couple of minutes a month. Politicians thrive on that. To lift a line from my favorite kid’s movie A Bug’s Life, “Those puny ants outnumber us 100 to one, and if they ever figure that out, there goes our way of life.”

Next time a congressman is on the radio pandering for your vote, ask him the following. “Do you support punishing congressmen who lie about budgets in the same way corporate thieves are to be punished?” Tell me how long the silence is. Sadly, I don’t expect Martha MacCallum to ask the question, so I guess we must.

I missed the original Jay Nellis (Rockford School Board) quote about special education funding being similar to “stuffing it down a rat hole.” Props go to Denise Dorcey for standing up for her child, and for getting a letter to the editor printed. When we speak out, we can sometimes be heard. When we are heard, sometimes we create change. Without her letter to the editor, it would have also been “swept under the rug.”

We all have talents and special concerns. Use your talents to endorse actions to benefit those concerns. Then you are politically effective. Regardless of your issue, take the time to network with people in agreement.

Build coalitions. This is your country. Bureaucrats, big business, and legislators don’t own it unless we surrender ownership to them. An active citizenry can do much more than just vote. A lazy populace can cede the rights we currently have. If we would follow and exceed Ms. Dorcey’s lead, we could return our country to one that the world respects. Or, we can reach for the remote control, open some Cheetos, and let the elected officials have their way with us. We outnumber them 100 to 1.

Does anybody want to do some serious multi-tasking?

Tim Huwe is the secretary of the Rockford Libertarians.

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