July 11, 2002 1:45 p.m.
John McCain: Hypocrite
The unfettered truth.
John McCain fancies himself a reformer, a trustbuster, a progressive. But the truth is he's a hypocrite.
Putting aside his dealings with convicted felon Charles Keating (as the mainstream media does), he's now all over radio and television, and in the print media, demanding corporate accountability. In fact, on a radio program this morning, McCain decried "unfettered capitalism."
Now, anyone who has tried to start a small business, or has been in business for all of three minutes, knows that American capitalism is far too "fettered." You can't start a business in most places without securing and paying for a license. Most businesses are required to pay employees a minimum wage. All businesses are required to make payroll deductions for a host of programs, including Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workmen's compensation.
And then there are the other "fetters": affirmative action; unpaid family leave; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act; the Fair Labor Standards Act; local, state and federal taxes; and on and on and on. Indeed, I can think of few transactions that occur between individuals in this country that aren't in some way taxed or regulated.
In truth, McCain has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of "fettered capitalism." All kinds of corporations have found their way to his door with campaign cash in hand. And some of these corporations are the very corporations McCain is railing against.
For example, from 1997-2001, McCain received $31,000 from Global Crossing, which makes him the Senate's top recipient of contributions from that now bankrupt company.
From 1989-2002, McCain received $23,900 from WorldCom, making him the Senate's third top recipient of contributions from that soon-to-be bankrupt company.
From 1989-2001, McCain received $23,250 from Arthur Andersen, making him the Senate's tenth top recipient of contributions from that soon-to-be defunct company.
And from 1989-2001, McCain received $9,500 from Enron, making him the twelfth top recipient of contributions from that bankrupt company.
Of course, I don't believe the mere receipt of campaign contributions is corrupting. In fact, it's evidence of representative government at work. The public has every right to try to influence the direction of their government. But McCain believes this activity to be corrupt, yet he took the money anyway.
If American capitalism is truly "unfettered," and if business contributions are intended to influence their recipients, there would be no reason for businesses to try to influence politicians like McCain through campaign contributions.
What would be nice would be less bluster and more "unfettered" honesty from Arizona's senior senator.