It is curious the Bush Administration would be faulted, or credited for that matter, for the sluggish economy based upon the president's income- and estate-tax cuts that passed in 2001, because most of those cuts will not take place until 2005 and 2006. Bush's tax cuts are not currently in play, therefore are not significantly impacting the economy, one way or the other.

But the looming question is, what kind of strategy is it to promise future tax cuts while at the same time proposing war with Iraq, which some economists claim will easily double our current national deficit?

Many economists argue that wartime stimulates economies due to increased production. But how does this impact positively if the spending so dramatically exceeds revenues? The math just doesn't support the argument. Economists also suggest that investment rises during wartime for the same reason. These are dark times for Wall Street due to the alarming corporate corruption. Many American investors believe the few offenders recently exposed represent a small fraction of the overall corporate culprits engaging in similar deceitful activities. Therefore, we are loath to risk much, if any, of our earnings in such a market.

Recently, President Bush asked for the resignation of former Alcoa CEO Paul O'Neill as treasury secretary, replacing him with CFX railroad-company CEO John Snow to both boost his new growth plan, which is expected to be unveiled in early 2003, and to restore confidence in the marketplace and encourage investment. However, I don't believe confidence can be restored until the administration openly and aggressively pursues the vigorous prosecution of the Enron personnel responsible for the loss of thousands of workers' retirement funds, and the severe financial hits that many investors, whether directly or indirectly, took in their portfolios because they invested in Enron. As long as these criminals go unpunished, there is no reason to have an ounce of confidence in the marketplace. So far, there have been no consequences for the thieves that comprised upper management at Enron, most especially Ken Lay, whose involvement with this administration, especially with Bush and Cheney, is no secret. Add to the fray two of the nation's largest banks, Citibank and J.P. Morgan & Chase Co., whose involvement in concealing the finances of Enron will be the subjects of a congressional hearing this week, spearheaded by Senator Carl Levin (a Michigan Democrat). Levin heads the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations until the Republicans take over the Senate in January. The Wall Street Journal reported on December 9, "Privately, J.P. Morgan officials expressed surprise that the arrangement drew congressional scrutiny, arguing that banks often help corporations exploit tax loopholes." The fact is that these financial atrocities can continue to occur without fear of criminal retribution. For those of us who earn our money, the risks are too great to invest in potentially corrupt corporate America to any meaningful degree. Never mind that many Americans choose to boycott the market on principle alone.

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