End of the American dream?

The US president is going to rate the leaders of American business. The White House is obviously tired of scandals connected with American corporations. On Tuesday, George W. Bush will address businessmen and deliver an unusually strict speech.

RIA Novosti informs that it is more likely that the president will call for the restoration of trust in the behavior of corporations and stress the necessity of close observation of the law; large-scale businessmen who break the laws should be adequately punished. According to Newsweek, George W. Bush may approve of bringing criminal cases against leaders of corporations caught in the presentation of wrong or falsified information to the government. This was initiated by SEC representatives.

To all appearances, the speech of the US president is nothing more than a response to criticism from democrats in Congress and the press. Until recently, the White House only reproached businessmen caught in murky deals, nothing more. This was the case during the Enron bankruptcy scandal: the US president preferred say that his mother-in-law lost $8,000 in shares of the bankrupt energy giant. And this was said when the financial losses of Enron staff even reached hundreds of millions of dollars. This happened because the leadership practically forced the personnel to invest in shares of the corporation. It is not ruled out that president Bush’s speech will be a turning point in the history of American business. Until now, the USA insisted that interference of the state in private business should be restricted. Moreover, Washington even intended to spread this economic model over the whole of the world. However, now, the role of the state in America may considerably increase. It seems that, when it comes to billion dollar profits, self-regulation mechanisms are breaking down. In any case, the leadership of the corporations involved in scandals (Enron, WorldCom, Xerox, etc) were not ashamed to overestimate their profits and understate losses to mislead stockholders and investors. Now, the US government is likely to pay more attention to the activity of American businessmen. At the same time, the situation is rather peculiar, as George W. Bush made his fortune in a way that can hardly be called ethic. At the beginning of the 1990s, the incumbent president, being chairman of Harken Energy Corporation board of directors, sold his shares to the sum of $850,000 right before the corporation announced a sudden reduction of its shares. At that, George W. Bush failed to inform the SEC of the sale within 34 weeks. The attorney who helped him in the case is now US ambassador to Saudi Arabia. The president and his aides say that nothing illegal was discovered in the deal. However, the case is very likely to be the talk of the day in the US media. Democrats of the Congress and the Senate will do their best to stir up the scandal for a very long period.

At the same time, it is not right to say now that the US administration has enough problems in the economic sphere. It is no doubt that the White House has focused its main attention on the anti-terrorism war. The introduction of an increased steel tariff is the only great measure that had a considerable international response, a rather negative one for the USA, by the way. The reduction of taxes can be also rated among such measures; however, this turned out to be profitable for rich Americans only. Recently, information was published that waiters’ tips will be taxed as well. Do you think that waiters and Wall Street businessmen differ greatly? Therefore, it is unlikely that the achievements of the White House will be enough for republicans to win the elections to Congress in November. It is time for the USA to pay closer attention to the situation of the economy, otherwise it will be too late.

Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/07/08/43825.html

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