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Funny Money
June 29, 2002
By Bridget Gibson

It seems that every day the money situation gets a little murkier. Money rolls in but pours out. At least that's the way it feels for the average person. Actually, mine seems to trickle in and pour out. In Washington, D.C., they worry about leaks. If I were their weather forecaster, I believe that I would tell them that there are some mighty big clouds in the sky.

This week MCI WorldCom decided to come clean about their dirty laundry. It was a whale of an "error," a $3.8 billion error. Now how do you suppose they could have misplaced so much money? I get excited when I find a dollar washing out with my dirty laundry. Imagine if I found $3.8 billion!

In their disclosure, they said that this "mis-accounting" occurred in the past five quarters. Well, quarters are something that I understand, so I checked my calendar and came up with a date for the beginning of their inability to keep track of their dollars: Since the current quarter will end in five days, the accounting for it has yet to be done - so we canšt count "this" quarter. Checking the quarterly calendar for the past five quarters takes us back to January 1, 2001.

Bad girl that I am, I have to start thinking about the changes that occurred in January of 2001. I come up with a very big change for that month. That was the month and the year that George W. Bush took his oath of office. The oath that said he would uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.

(Well, George has taken a few oaths in his life. He took an oath when he was at Yale to the uber-secret fraternity Skull and Bones. I wonder if that was a lifetime oath or only a college thing? I have also wondered how seriously he took the oath of the Presidency, but that is another question.)

Let's go back to MCI WorldCom and January of 2001. During the election cycle of 2000, MCI WorldCom was a very active contributor. It was so active that it made a list. No, not a shopping list (although it may have had a wish list of regulations that it wanted from its stable of politicians). The list that I refer to is available for the viewing at the CorpWatch Website - a list of the top twenty corporations with consumer brands that contributed to the Republican Party for the 2000 elections. MCI WorldCom was number 7 on this list. On June 19, 2002, when George Bush raised $30 million in soft money for the GOP, MCI WorldCom gave $100,000 and was listed on the program as a vice chairman of the event.

Something is inherently wrong with this scenario. Enron was George Bush's number one contributor. It is now bankrupt. Its top executives have lined their past and future nests and face little scrutiny for their misdeeds. Arthur Andersen was George Bush's number two contributor and is now defunct. Only one corporate executive has been charged with criminal proceedings and the rest will probably have few fears of a changed future. Now we have MCI WorldCom, the number 7 contributor following in their steps.

What about the real losers of all of this money? What about the workers whose pensions and livelihoods were looted? What about the stockholders whose portfolios now hold worthless paper and those whose 401Ks and retirements are now in jeopardy? You no longer hear the Republicans spouting off about "privatizing" Social Security, do you? Well, it's still in their box of tricks.

What does this administration care about? Remember what Poppy Bush said about the recession his administration (1991) caused: "It won't affect my grandchildren." And when young George was campaigning for President in 2000, remember that he said "I'm gonna pick up where my daddy left off."

How can we have a government that seems unconcerned when 1,700,000 people have lost their jobs since January 2001? This does not pass the smell test for me. It appears that George brought a pile to put in the living room of the White House, and it wasn't just money.

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