homegrown economic ‘terrorists’
by PAT MURPHY
the principal objective in Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda terrorism
he would inflict economic havoc on the United States.
his devastating best with airborne attacks on New York and Washington
nine and a half months ago. Preliminary costs already are in the
hundreds of billions of dollars — rebuilding New York City’s World
Trade Center; compensating victims’ families; lost business in the
travel and lodging industry; stepped up homeland security safeguards;
investigations, detentions and prosecutions; combined military
operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere overseas.
also are homegrown economic "terrorists" in our midst who’re
wreaking their own havoc — red-blooded, all-American, flag-waving,
God-fearing, free enterprise-loving business CEOs who’ve rigged books
of major corporations to fraudulently enrich themselves while robbing
millions of American families who trusted them of their security and
crash of just one firm, WorldCom, second only to AT&T in the
long-distance field, had a devastating impact on employee pension funds
in the states of New York and California.
investment in WorldCom was more than $300 million. California was in for
more than $500 million. That’s nearly one billion dollars invested in
just one company from two state pension funds.
news will get worse as other pensions funds report their losses.
WorldCom’s crash the collapses of other major corporations (Tyco,
Global Crossing, Enron, auditing giant Arthur Andersen, etc.), newly
announced accounting irregularities at staid and generally respected
Xerox, and an assortment of frauds, such as the $240 million fleecing of
13,000 investors in the Baptist Foundation of Arizona (another Arthur
investors, to tens of thousands of employees thrown out of work and
their families and to pension funds are staggering— and together
create a case study of economic havoc.
worst long range effect is immeasurable — lost confidence in Wall
Street, cynicism about investment analysts, shaken faith in America’s
business executive class, lost trust in auditing firms, and distrust of
government’s oversight and enforcement organizations.
and through, men and women of raw avarice placed their personal greed
for wealth above codes of honesty and loyalty to clients and employees
and the nation.
economic chaos continues, in Washington, where President Bush and
Democrats and Republicans in Congress in the space of a year have wiped
out a robust budget surplus that could’ve covered the cost of the war
on terrorism, plunged the nation back into deficit spending and been
forced to raise the debt limit just to pay bills.
political class seems to yawn at rampant marketplace fraud, theft,
deceit and criminal conspiracies that make newspaper business pages read
like police blotters, and dismiss higher government debt and plundering
of the surplus.
hundreds of them with an eye for cheap photo ops demonstrated mock
outrage by gathering on Washington’s Capitol steps, trivializing a
federal court’s adverse ruling with a mass recitation of the Pledge of
Allegiance "under God."
They should be demonstrating for the scalps of corrupt CEOs pillaging
the futures of tens of millions of Americans with callous, cruel,
criminal conspiracies that surely resemble Osama bin Laden’s evil aims
for economic sabotage.