Howard Dean on Corporations
Former VT Governor; Former Democratic Candidate for President
AD AUDIO: Energy companies gouging consumers. Accounting firms cooking the books. They get away with it because they have too much power in Washington. Hard work and the free market made America great. But that doesn’t excuse business from its responsibility. It’s time to hold corporations accountable. To protect workers’ pensions and investors who depend on honest accounting. And it’s time Washington worked for people.
ANALYSIS: Dean has proposed stricter disclosure requirements for corporations and closing tax loopholes. The use the headline “Enron Auditor Admits Crime” reflects Dean’s constant attacks on Enron as a symbol of corporate greed. But opponents have hammered him for offering tax incentives to lure corporate business to Vermont while he was governor-a program that benefited Enron, although Dean has said it was not tailored to the now-bankrupt energy company.
A: I do. I don’t know there’s a lot I could do to improve it, except to say this: that in corporate America today, Bush has turned a blind eye to morality. We have lost our moral compass in this country because what business is doing to ordinary people in America. Bush has run this country for the benefit of corporations. Regulation of those finance companies that you’re talking about is exactly the right track.
Our founders feared that economic power would one day seize political power. Frankly, that fear has been realized with the Bush administration. The largest corporations and wealthiest individuals benefit from tax cuts that are bankrupting the states. They reward the largest political contributors at the expense of today’s middle class, whose property taxes are skyrocketing.
Meanwhile, the oil companies write our energy policy, big pharmaceutical companies draft Medicare reform; and Halliburton is awarded no-bid contracts in Iraq. It is a government of, by, and for the special interests. The only way the American people are included in the process is that we are left to pay the hills.
DEAN: While what Gephardt did was legal, it was really inappropriate. And it’s a symptom of a larger problem with corporate America. There’s an incredible insensitivity at the highest levels of corporate governance in terms of the plight of the middle class. Middle-class people are really struggling in this country. Corporate America has lost touch with the average Americans’ concern in this country. And until they get that touch back, we’re going to have this big divide and need for supervision of issues like salary and pension reform.
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George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)