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  • January 30, 2002

    What’s This About “Accountability.”

    George W. Bush could not bring himself to mention the name "Enron" inhis State of the Union address. But no one doubted that, when thepresident spoke of the need for greater corporate accountability Tuesdaynight, he was refering to the economic and political scandals that havearisen in the aftermath of the collapse of Houston-based Enron Corp.

    Credit Bush with a few calming lines in response to mounting concernsregarding the behavior not just of Enron executives but of members ofhis own administration with close ties to the bankrupt energyconglomerate. It was good to hear the most corporate president inAmerican history tell Congress that, "Through stricter accountingstandards and tougher disclosure requirements, corporate America must bemade more accountable to employees and shareholders and held to thehighest standards of conduct."

    But, as Bill Clinton illustrated year after year, State of the Uniontalk comes cheap.

    John Nichols

  • January 22, 2002

    A Bipartisan Scandal

    Members of Congress return to Washington this week. After afall in which their tenure was characterized by unprecedentedinaction, politicians who occupy positions of public trust willattempt once more to act as public servants. Unfortunately, the track record on which Congress returnscannot inspire confidence. Consider the dramatic failure of federal officials to doanything that might merit their $12,500-a-month salaries during thelast months of 2001. A war was launched after four hours ofcongressional debate, civil liberties were undermined with just onedissenting vote in the Senate, and billions in corporate welfarepayouts were approved while laid-off workers were denied basicprotections.

    John Nichols

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