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Corporate Looting of the Peace Dividend

November 22, 2002

Re "Hope: Last Refuge of the Helpless," Commentary, Nov. 17: At one moment in history we were enthralled by the catch phrase "peace dividend." Now John Balzar reminds us that centrist politics have turned that dream into baby steps in a wandering circle. While the public, voting or not voting, watched in a stupor, a determined movement has taken control. It bought a Congress that will install a plan. George W. Bush, leading a van of corporate looters, took office and they immediately debauched themselves and laid out for all to see where deregulation leads us.

They reduced taxes on the rich, laid out a plan to raid Social Security and now are taking secure Civil Service jobs with pensions and privatizing them with people with 401(k)s that can be looted. Each voter and nonvoter, to them, is just a microeconomic digit. Add them together and a large pool of money appears. If you can just break the lockbox -- or any other impediment to creative management -- fortunes can be made. The grand sweep of it all is breathtaking. We need a new catch phrase. How about "macroeconomic looting"? It doesn't roll off the tongue like "peace dividend."

David L. Eastman

Costa Mesa

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