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Deregulation - 2002 - Page 4
at the hip with the legalized bribery and influence-peddling that passes for government these days. - NYT
Investigate Enron Ties to GovernmentStar Tribune – by Dan Brown - January 13, 2002
Enron executives have disclosed that they met with the Bush administration just one day before the administration determined not to assist California in its Enron-created energy crisis, by not imposing price caps and allowing Enron to further gouge Californian energy consumers, potentially bankrupting California energy providers and endangering the stability of the government of California.
The White House has disclosed that Enron executives met with at least two Cabinet-level Bush administration officials prior to the Enron collapse and discussed the precarious Enron financial situation. These Bush administration officials have a fiduciary duty to oversee U.S. pension accounts, yet those officials determined to "do nothing."
The White House has further disclosed that President Bush learned of Enron's impending collapse "last fall," in the words of White House spokesman Ari Fleischer -- yet Bush, who now says through spokesmen that he wants to make sure that this "doesn't happen again" to the pension accounts of innocent victims, did nothing to see that it didn't happen the first time.
We already know that more than 29 Bush administration officials are former Enron executives or shareholders. We know that Ken Lay and Enron bankrolled Bush's gubernatorial and presidential campaigns. We know too that Enron was the second largest contributor to John Ashcroft's Senate campaign as well; more than $61,000 came from Enron and Lay.
Further, we now know that Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, to whom the investigation has fallen upon Attorney General Ashcroft's recusal, also has ties to Enron, which makes it impossible for Thompson to lead an investigation of this magnitude. Thompson worked for the law firm of King and Spalding from 1977 to 1982, served as a U.S. Attorney under the Reagan administration, and returned to King and Spalding as a partner in 1986. He stayed at the firm until his appointment as deputy attorney general in 2001.
King and Spalding has represented subsidiaries of Enron, including Enron Global LNG, Enron Global Markets and Enron Energy Services. As a former law partner, Larry Thompson profited from the firm's work for Enron. Even if he did not work directly on Enron matters -- information that is not publicly available -- Thompson cannot avoid the "appearance of impropriety," which is fatal for such an important investigation.
The Enron story is more important than whether Afghan prisoners were drugged on the way to Cuba. It's more important than Donald Rumsfeld's failure to secure the capture of Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan -- or whether Yasser Arafat has control over Hamas.
The Enron story is about the spectacular failure of the deregulation nightmare unleashed on us by President Ronald Reagan and resurrected by George W. Bush. Enron was a product of deregulated Texas under then-Gov. Bush.
The Enron story is about control of the government of the United States by the highest bidder. Ken Lay and Enron built Bush.
With unlimited access, Lay and Enron engineered the exit of an unfavorable Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chair and appointment of a sympathetic "watchdog" over his own industry. With unlimited access, Lay and Enron kept the U.S. government from doing what it was supposed to do to assist California in its energy crisis, caused, ironically, by Enron. With unlimited access, Lay and Enron kept the government of the United States from protecting the pension accounts of tens of thousands of Enron employees, while highly paid executives made off with billions of dollars.
Bush is often said to run the government like a "business."
Unfortunately, to see the model upon which that business is based, we need only look as far as Enron. Enron sacrificed the best interests of all the energy consumers in California to corporate greed. It leveraged deregulation to thrive as an unneeded middleman in the energy trade. It tossed out tens of thousands of employees, broke, while its executives made billions of dollars.
And it kept its puppet government of Bush apprised every step of the way.
Every time Bush had to decide whether to act in the best interests of the nation or the best interests of Enron, Bush chose Enron. Every time Bush faced a decision to act on or report information given to him by Enron that affected the public trust he has undertaken, Bush chose to keep quiet.
Bush and his administration have been complicit in every action that Enron has taken to thrive at the expense of the United States of America.
It's time to appoint a special prosecutor and hold Bush accountable.
It's what the shareholders would want.
Washington Disowns EnronThe New York Times – by R. Oppel Jr., D. Van Natta Jr. – January 13, 2002
With the Justice Department and Congress ratcheting up investigations into the Enron Corporation, President Bush is seeking to play down his relationship with Enron's embattled chairman, Kenneth L. Lay. But their ties are broad and deep and go back many years, and the relationship has been beneficial to both.
In the Oval Office on Thursday, Mr. Bush said that Mr. Lay "was a supporter of Ann Richards in my run in 1994" for governor of Texas and that he first got to know Mr. Lay after that race.
But Mr. Lay appears to have been a bigger supporter of Mr. Bush in that race, as he and his wife, Linda, contributed $37,500 to the Bush gubernatorial campaign — three times the amount, according to a database maintained by The Dallas Morning News, that they donated to Ms. Richards. Mr. Lay has also told interviewers that prior to that election he had become "very close" to Mr. Bush.
Since the two men met over a decade ago, Mr. Lay and his company have been the most generous campaign donors in Mr. Bush's political career. At the same time, Mr. Bush was a strong advocate of many of the issues most important to Enron, like deregulating electricity markets and curbing large civil jury awards.
In all, Enron and Mr. Lay have given more than $550,000 to Mr. Bush's various campaigns. And for the Bush-Cheney inaugural, Enron, Mr. Lay, and the former Enron chief executive, Jeffrey Skilling, each donated $100,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Last year, Mr. Lay met with Vice President Dick Cheney, who was heading a task force on energy policy. The task force's recommendations conformed with much of what the company had sought in its meeting with Mr. Cheney — but they were also positions embraced by others in industry and government.
With the collapse of Enron amid an accounting scandal, Democrats are seeking to make Mr. Bush's friendship with Mr. Lay into a political liability. The White House, in turn, in seeking to distance the administration from both Mr. Lay and Enron, has said that officials spurned Mr. Lay's personal entreaties for assistance as Enron faltered late last year.
Backers of Mr. Bush note there has never been a showing that Mr. Bush altered any policy solely to satisfy Mr. Lay. And at times, Mr. Bush has taken positions adverse to Enron, like backing away from curbing carbon dioxide emissions, an idea backed by Enron, which sought to generate new business through trading emissions credits.
On Thursday, after the disclosure that the Justice Department had created a task force to pursue a criminal investigation of Enron, Mr. Bush told reporters he "first got to know" Mr. Lay after being elected governor in 1994. In that race, Enron, Mr. Lay and other Enron executives were significant contributors to Mr. Bush, donating a total of $146,500 to Mr. Bush, according to Texans for Public Justice, a group that tracks campaign contributions.
At the time, Mr. Lay was already serving on an advisory body, the Governor's Business Council, that was created by Ms. Richards. Mr. Bush said on Thursday that after he defeated Ms. Richards he kept Mr. Lay on the advisory panel. "I decided to leave him in place, just for the sake of continuity."
Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, said yesterday, "President Bush's explanation of his relationship to Enron is at best a half truth. He was in bed with Enron before he ever held a political office."
Scott McClellan, a White House spokesman, challenged that characterization last night. "The White House has clearly noted that Mr. Lay has been a supporter," Mr. McClellan said. "But Mr. Lay was a supporter of Ann Richards during the 1994 race, and public campaign records clearly reflect his support."
In an interview last year with The New York Times and the PBS program "Frontline," Mr. Lay characterized his relationship with the Bush family as "very close," adding that the race between Mr. Bush and Ms. Richards placed him in "a little difficult situation."
"I'd worked very closely with Ann Richards also, the four years she was governor," he said in the interview. "But I was very close to George W. and had a lot of respect for him, had watched him over the years, particularly with reference to dealing with his father when his father was in the White House and some of the things he did to work for his father, and so did support him."
By the late 1980's, Mr. Lay, an economist by training, had become a major force in Houston business and social circles as chief executive of Enron, then primarily a natural gas pipeline operator. He also became a significant fund-raiser for Mr. Bush's father and was working to bring the Bush presidential library to Houston.
In that time, Mr. Lay has said, he got to know the younger Mr. Bush. "That's when I probably spent a little more quality time with George W.," he told The Morning News. Later, Mr. Lay was picked to head the host committee for the 1992 Republican convention in Houston.
But while both Mr. Lay and Enron have historically given far more money to Republicans, they have sought links with prominent Democrats, too. One was President Bill Clinton, who has golfed with Mr. Lay. Another was Ms. Richards, who appointed Mr. Lay to her business advisory panel.
"We knew at the time that he had a close relationship with Bush," said John Fainter, who served as Ms. Richards's chief of staff in 1993 and 1994. Mr. Lay was a good pick for the panel, he said, because of his involvement in the Houston civic and business community.
But Mr. Fainter, who runs the electric utility industry's lobbying group in Texas, added: "To say he inherited Ken Lay from Ann Richards, I don't agree with that. As active as he was in his father's presidential campaign, he would have known him."
Ms. Richards did not return a telephone call yesterday, but in a written statement she confirmed that Mr. Lay donated to her 1994 campaign and said that he did "a very good job" while serving as chairman of the Governor's Business Council.
As governor, Mr. Bush was an advocate of the issue most important to Mr. Lay and Enron, deregulating the utility business. Mr. Bush also appointed Patrick H. Wood III to be chairman of the Texas Public Utility Commission, an appointment that Mr. Lay had recommended. Mr. Wood is now chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, where he oversaw and supported the imposition last year of electricity price restraints in California opposed by Enron and other unregulated power companies.
Mr. Lay and Mr. Bush appeared to develop a warm relationship during Mr. Bush's tenure as governor. In April 1997, on Mr. Lay's 55th birthday, Mr. Bush sent him a joking note: "One of the sad things about old friends is that they seem to be getting older — just like you! 55 years old. Wow! That is really old."
Mr. Bush also has done favors for Mr. Lay, such as later that year when, at Mr. Lay's request, he called Tom Ridge, then the governor of Pennsylvania and now the director of Homeland Security, to vouch for Enron, which was trying to break in to that state's electricity markets.
But to one Enron official, Mr. Lay swaggered less after Mr. Bush's presidential victory than some other senior Enron executives who liked to brag about the company's ties to the new administration.
"Ken Lay didn't advertise his connections," the official said, "but some of the Enron officials around him did because they didn't have those connections."
Clinton-Gore and EnronPittsburgh Tribune-Review – Dateline DC - January 13, 2002
(12/9/01) - WASHINGTON - "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall." This week, this old nursery rhyme has taken control of this column. From Washington to Pittsburgh by way of New York City and Los Angeles with important detours to China, Japan, India, Mozambique, Croatia, England, Germany and elsewhere in the world, we have been watching and reading about the great fall of Enron.
What a fall and from what a great wall! The Enron Corporation's 50-story building had always cast a shadow on Houston's South Street, and it glittered in the sunlight as Enron began to fall and stockholders scrambled to dump their shares. And Enron's shares were dumped - the value of company shares fell $22 billion (yes, that's a "B"!) in the past six weeks!
"All the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put Humpty together again." As in the nursery rhyme, so in fact.
Enron, the Texas-based international energy giant now seeking escape from bankruptcy, faces huge problems with even attempting to put its mirror-like combine back together again. And, despite the "King's men" having help with the heavy lifting from the White House, Congress, the courts and hundreds of faceless bankers and bean counters, this Dumpty just won't fit together anymore.
Even the new name of Dumpty reflects on a stricken giant. Shares valued at $90 each this August are selling for 10 to 26 cents. These once wonder-shares have been degraded to "junk" as thousands of investors rapidly dumped 173.6 million shares. Dumpty Enron, facing losses worldwide that add up to more than $5 billion, now is a monster under stress - and it is a monster that is both shameless and insatiable.
Dumpty is sniffing around its key creditors (J.P Morgan, Chase and Citigroup) for what is called "debtor-in-possession" loans of more than $1 billion. This shows the truth behind the adage that if you owe a bank enough (Enron owes some $3 billion), you own the bank.
The geniuses of the 21st-century marketplace will now learn a sobering and exceedingly painful truth. The kindly, gentle and truly awful socialist pediatrician, Dr. Benjamin Spock, was effectively responsible for Dumpty Enron's collapse and for much else that is wrong with our Republic today.
Because of the genial old doctor, generations of decent American babies developed into troll-like kids ready to stamp and scream until they got what they wanted. Undisciplined, and having forfeited love for abhorrence, they became gargoyle-like adults, liberally laced with Prozac, whose creed was, "If you get away with it, it's cool. Getting caught is bad, so be more careful next time." Dumpty Enron got caught! The so-called "popular press," in its usual searches for the clay feet with which they invest every well-known person, will now try to link Enron's present woes to the White House. Too bad, guys, you should have started investigating Enron's ties (ties not links) in 1993 and onward to the sales team of Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Ron Brown.
Congress is to initiate hearings as to what went wrong with Enron. It's a safe bet to assume that a major part of the investigation will center on Enron's 5,000 Houston employees who may be jobless within a few days. Jobless and learning that their pension plan was based on company stock that has lost 99 percent of its value. As they live on their unemployment and Social Security pittances, these unfortunate thousands can think about how their employer and its accountants, Arthur Anderson (paid at $1 million a week), inflated profits on paper and scaled down the company's debts. To get away with that kind of "little illegality," a close-mouthed loyal staff is vital. Already prosecutors from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Internal Revenue Service, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and Houston are finding voluble and knowledgeable witnesses eager to cooperate. Subpoenas for individuals and records are now being served.
Yet with so many politicians from both political parties being the recipients of Enron's political donations in both hard and soft money, objective justice may not be easy. Moreover, Enron was generous to the last cent of other people money! Its corporate leaders funded business schools and scholarships, and gave and gave to the United Way! Even Houston's giant sports arena, home to the Astros baseball team, carries the name "Enron Field," a little vanity that cost a mere $100 million for a 30-year deal.
Enron had the best brains that money could buy, but gave the word "ethics" a whole new meaning. The cowboys of Dumpty Enron talked up a storm about ethics; but only a few at the top realized that "ethics" was an acronym for "Enron thinks how income can (be) stolen."
That's a stretch; but look at their 1994 sales team - Clinton, Gore and the late Ron Brown - a trio unlimited and uncontrolled in their cunning and greed.
In what seems to be eons ago, before Gov. Bill Clinton became president, the late, much loved and little lamented Ron Brown was Clinton's good friend and a power broker in the National Democratic Party. Ron Brown had a friend, a congressman from Houston, the late Mickey Leland, who died in 1989. Until his passing, Leland was a shining light in the Congressional Black Caucus and a dedicated socialist, who was one of the Institute for Policy Studies' delights.
From 1984, when Enron was conceived, Brown and Leland were there snapping up unconsidered trifles of money for use in their campaigns against the free market. Mickey was able to ease a lot of Enron's early problems through the Houston City Council by playing his "equal opportunity card." He had also become an African expert who initially took the Enron message to that continent, a chore that was taken on by Ron Brown, Clinton's secretary of commerce, before the latter met his untimely death in a highly controversial plane crash in Croatia. (Untimely, because had Secretary Brown lived, he would have faced multiple criminal indictments that could have precipitated an even earlier fall for Bill Clinton and his gang.)
Now we get to that old puzzle about chickens and eggs, and what came first! Ron Brown, Al Gore and Bill Clinton introduced Enron to market managers in Russia, China, Indonesia and India. In India, Enron quickly became involved in one of that country's most massive corruption investigations, contracts were canceled and Enron was out.
On the other hand, Enron introduced the Clinton team to Lippo Industries and thence to China's People's Liberation Army (a wonderful source of political cash), to John Huang, another good provider and to nameless, numberless Arabs who never arrived with empty pockets. If we look at a list of those attending coffee klatches at the White House, we can learn why a storm of doubtful deals enabled Enron to quickly control one-quarter of the world's electricity and natural gas. But, that wasn't enough. The ever-so-greedy Dumpty moved in to water deals in Massachusetts and Europe, paper mills in Canada, gas pipe lines throughout the world, fiber optics, television, mutual funds and information gathering. In turn, that led to risk analysis, a name that those clever Texans quickly changed to "reward realization!"
The rewards were good! Enron, with sales assistance from Tony Lake, then Clinton's national security adviser, persuaded the impoverished, war-torn country of Mozambique to sign a $770 million electric power contract. Mozambique signed because Tony's salesmanship was persuasive. If the Mozambicans didn't sign, he indicated that their congressionally approved $44 million U.S. aid payment would never be made.
And there was the Croatian caper. In the days when Franjo Tudjman was Croatia's dictator and pretending to be both a reformed communist and best friend of America in the Balkans, poor Franjo had a problem. He and some of his very best friends were wanted as war criminals by the Hague's International Court of Justice. Enron wanted a power contract with Croatia. Enron offered a deal to Tudjman. Sign up with us and we will use our gang in Washington to make sure you and your friends don't go to jail.
Tudjman signed. Enron made a heap of money. Nobody went to jail. Everyone was happy - until Tudjman died of cancer. Then the lid was off, his Croatian Democratic Union was defeated and the new boys in power in Zagreb could not believe how much of their budget went to pay the electricity bills from Enron. Somebody - probably another Dr. Spock child eager to tell on his peers - prattled! Under quiet pressure from the Croats, another deal was made and a couple of guys were charged as war criminals. Electricity costs went down (but not to the consumers) and as a part of the deal nobody talked, except about the wonderful vacations that they were enjoying in the Caribbean.
This could be called a "cautionary tale." There are two cautions. The first: Beware of the Spock babies now that they are nearing retirement and losing whatever sense they had. The second: Investigators all, beware, as you look into the depths and shallows of Enron you may, if you are truly unlucky, find the truth. And, if you do, these truths won't make you free, just well informed.
Since Sept. 11 and the anthrax outrage, some government departments have expanded and dispersed around the Washington region. One department, identified by the usual alphabet soup of letters and much concerned with gathering and processing intelligence and information from all over the world, now finds itself in a building where, a few floors below its official quarters, there is a restaurant and bar.
The deputy director of this government enterprise is a gentleman with a liver like the soles of an old boot. He sits in the bar from 10 a.m. until noon. Then he leaves for lunch; but he resumes his bar watch at 2.30 p.m. and leaves with his car pool at 5 p.m.
Our poster boy does not waste his day. Throughout his vigils, colleagues from other agencies visit him with their reports and requests. Information is exchanged and even one or two job applicants have been interviewed. And, of course, every day and every hour, his flatterers and flunkies, who make sure that his check is paid, surround the deputy director.
With cold weather forecast, the prospects of stories from warm, comfortable quarters, while appealing, are canceled out by a hereditary need for cups of strong tea!
"Dateline D.C." is written by a Washington, D.C.-based British journalist and political observer.
Joined at the HipThe New York Times – by Bob Herbert – January 12, 2002
You'll have to look long and extremely hard to come up with an example of corporate treachery in the United States that's as horrible as the Enron debacle. This is a scandal with a very broad reach and it has some of the wise guys in the Bush administration and other top Republicans trembling in their penny loafers.
Enron was a bonanza for — whom else? — the folks at the top of the pyramid. They ferociously exploited their gilt-edged political connections and harvested breathtaking amounts of cash for themselves, even as the company was collapsing into the biggest bankruptcy mess in U.S. history. Left behind were thousands of ordinary working men and women, people with families and obligations, who lost jobs, life savings, pensions, the works. And more carnage is to come.
The fallout is nationwide. A week before Christmas, Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, spoke about the gloom that had settled over workers in his state who watched their retirement funds vanish. "Because of what happened at Enron," he said, "there are Oregon families going to grief counseling rather than holiday parties this year."
No one knows yet the extent of the illegality — if any — that went on at Enron. The Justice Department announced yesterday that it was launching a criminal investigation. But there is no doubt that many of the company's top officials swam, as a matter of course, in an ethical sewer. They were pals with, and lavishly greased the palms of, powerful people who were willing to guide government policy toward Enron's ends, and who could help the company escape close scrutiny of its more sinister activities.
The Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog agency in Washington, examined the political contributions of 29 top Enron executives and directors named in a shareholder lawsuit filed against the company last month. Twenty-four of the 29 made contributions from 1999 to 2001 — totaling nearly $800,000 — to George W. Bush, members of Congress, the two national political parties (with the bulk of the contributions going to the Republicans) and a variety of officials who are now responsible for investigating possible securities fraud by Enron.
Of the five who did not make contributions, two were foreign nationals prohibited by law from contributing to candidates or parties.
"The folks at the top of the company gave lavishly," said Charles Lewis, the center's executive director. "It just shows that this is a company inordinately dependent on government favors."
And how did these generous Enron officials behave as the apocalypse approached?
The shareholders' suit, as the center noted in its study, "alleges that the 29 executives and directors dumped $1.1 billion worth of stock while knowing the company was in danger of collapse."
Defendants in the lawsuit have disputed the charges against them. But there is no disputing that as Enron toppled and fell, insiders unloaded hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of stock while rank-and-file Enron employees were locked into rules that left many of them helpless as the stock's value plunged from more than $90 a share to less than $1.
It has long been known that Enron and its chairman, Kenneth Lay, were close to President Bush. In Mr. Lewis's book, "The Buying of the President 2000," Enron was already listed as Mr. Bush's No. 1 career patron.
This week the office of Vice President Dick Cheney reluctantly disclosed that Enron executives met with Mr. Cheney or his aides at least six times as the Bush administration — with Mr. Cheney in charge — was putting together its national energy policy.
It will be interesting to find out, as this scandal continues to unfold, how aggressively the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other appropriate agencies investigate a company that has been as generous and as wired and as powerfully influential as Enron.
There's already talk that Harvey Pitt, the chairman of the S.E.C., may have to recuse himself because as a lawyer in private practice he did work for Arthur Andersen, the company that audited Enron's books with its eyes closed.
Enron is a case study in the dangers that will inevitably arise when unrestrained corporate greed is joined at the hip with the legalized bribery and influence-peddling that passes for government these days.
Winter Games at EnronSan Francisco Chronicle – by Jon Carroll – January 12, 2002
The justice department recently announced the formation of a "task force" to investigate the blizzard of crimes allegedly committed by Enron, the giant energy trading company with strong ties to both Dick Cheney and George W. Bush.
I am putting up $100 right here, payable to Doctors Without Borders; I am betting that not a single Enron executive will spend a day in jail. Not one, not ever.
Let us remember that Enron executives were part of Dick Cheney's super- secret cabal that formulated the administration's energy policy in the first days of the Bush administration. Transcripts of those meeting have never been released, despite congressional demands for same.
Environmental groups did not attend these meetings. Their presence would have confused the issue.
At the time of the meetings, by their own admission, the Enron executives had been cooking the books for more than three years. Enron acknowledged that it had overstated its profits from 1997 on by $586 million. Since investors depend on profit statements when deciding what to invest in, Enron was in essence raising capital by defrauding investors.
Poor guys rob banks; rich guys "overstate their profits."
Then, in the crucial third quarter of 2001, when Enron finally admitted a $618 million loss and a $1.2 billion loss in shareholder equity, the company prevented its own employees from selling Enron stock invested in 401(k)s. The stock plunged from $83 per share to less than $1 per.
Before that, though, Enron executives managed to unload hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stock. Plus they got bonuses. Not for them the risks and rewards of the free market. They were loyal to a higher standard: Take the money and run.
The last bit strikes even cynical observers as a bit over the top. They screwed their own employees. The last big case investigated by the Justice Department, the Archer Daniels Midland price-fixing scandal, at least did not have that element.
Meantime, and here is the beauty part, the national energy policy formulated by Cheney and his rapacious chums continues. Cheney and Bush are also loyal to a higher standard: What's good for the oil companies is good for the USA.
The administration has shown no interest in reducing consumption. It has stopped funding research into high-mileage cars and put its money instead on fuel cell technology, which is a lovely idea that will probably become practical when all the current oil executives have safely retired.
The astonishing thing is that, despite all the gravitas that has accrued around the president since Sept. 11, he still hasn't grasped one of the key lessons of the war in Afghanistan or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: The Middle East is an unstable place.
Our friends in Saudi Arabia are running an ugly dictatorship that is becoming increasingly unstable. It is probable that someday, sooner rather than later, the big pipe will dry up, and our petroleum-based lifestyle will be changed for us.
That won't be fun. If we prepared for it, we could cushion the blow, but that's not in the plans now.
The Bush administration also has a tax plan remarkably similar to the one implemented by Ronald Reagan, the old trickle-down, tax-cuts-for-rich-people, deficit-financing two-step. It didn't work then, and it won't work now.
Here's the reality: Big businesses do not use the extra money from tax cuts to "create jobs." They use the money to create bonuses, executive pension plans, grand new office towers. Unemployment rises, the government can't pay for its own welfare plans, and the politicians respond by alleging that the solution for America is for everyone to get a job.
And this time, a lot of tax money will go to the fight on terrorism, leaving even less for everything else. Cut taxes while waging war: only in America.
Exciting events include worker fleecing and book cooking.