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An Interesting Juxtaposition
09/21/2002

Scott Molloy, a professor of "labor studies," at my alma mater, the University of Rhode Island, writes a typical socialist screed in today's Providence Journal. I'm with him in his distaste for corporate corruption, but I think it indicates that the case he builds in this respect is merely a distraction when he offers the following:

In the last few years, local and national tax cuts have bought the average citizen a night at a restaurant but the wealthy citizen a whole lot more. The United States is slowly abandoning the progressive tax system in favor of making the middle class pick up the tab for those at the top who used to pay some semblance of their fair share. As the national debt takes off again, wouldn't state and federal administrations like to have those rebate checks back?

But not to worry. Bush and Cheney, et al., presenting themselves as corporate crime busters, will serve as the proverbial foxes guarding the national chicken coop. They have all committed the very things they promise to prevent.

First, I have to wonder where Mr. Molloy eats dinner. Saying that my wife and I are "average citizens" financially would be generous, and we got the full $600 rebate. But even the $300 version if only one of us worked would cover quite a meal! Second, I'm not going to go digging for the statistics for the distribution of the tax burden, but I tremble to ask what Mr. Molloy would consider a "fair share" for the rich and where he would draw the line for "those at the top." Third, I find it discouraging that a university professor can't do better for his op-ed in the state's "paper of record" than to rip off the controversial Democrat anti-Bush TV ad of a few months ago with that "foxes guarding the national chicken coop" cliché.

But that does lead to an interesting juxtaposition. At the beginning of his column, Mr. Molloy writes:

Criminal conduct by business became a way of life. Government regulatory agencies threw in the towel. Wrongdoing was punished by fines (often less than the actual rip-off), and companies never had to admit guilt in these gentleman's agreements. [emphasis added]

Compare that with this opening sentence of a political article in today's New York Times: "The Democratic National Committee has agreed to pay civil fines and turn over to the Treasury a total of $243,000 to settle accusations that it took more than $1 million in illegal foreign contributions in 1995 and 1996, according to Federal Election Commission records released today."

The Times article goes on to enumerate many fines that have been issued against those associated with the Democratic party for illegal fund raising. Mr. Molloy might not mind those contributions that came from China because that, after all, is a communist country. But this interesting tidbit, from nearly the end of the article, should raise some questions:

But the money used to make the contribution [to a national committee fund-raiser in New York] was provided by Sheik Mohammed Oboud Al-Amoudi, a Saudi citizen, who wired $150,000 to [a U.S. company called Global Resource Management]. The company used this money for the donation "even though its officers had been informed that foreign national contributions are illegal," the election commission found.

So, one might ask Mr. Molloy, how would returning the checks given to "the average citizen" to politicians who have no problem defrauding the American people themselves curb the behavior of those evil corporations?

Posted by Justin Katz @ 10:39 AM EST