With Iraqi regime gone, Bush should aim at corporate crooksAll of us have seen the images of liberated Iraqis looting government buildings in Baghdad. Now that those images are fading in our memories, Americans should take an equal interest in another form of looting back here at home -the shameless looting of corporations and U.S. tax coffers by unscrupulous and unpatriotic chief executive officers of companies.

According to reporting by esteemed journalist Bill Moyers, America loses roughly $70 billion a year - nearly the cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom - from corporate tax cheats who use overseas tax shelters to avoid paying their fair share.

"In the sands of Iraq, our soldiers risk their lives for our country. At the same time, big corporations are abandoning our country and setting up phony tax shelters in the sands of Bermuda," states the Bermuda Project, a campaign against corporate tax dodges co-founded by columnist Arianna Huffington.

President Bush, the business school graduate, should jump on board with the Bermuda Project and stop this looting of tax coffers.

We know that politics plays a large part in any discussion of corporate America - on both sides of the aisle. Both political parties reap large donations from corporate lobbyists. Of course, Democrats also receive hefty donations from labor unions, whose own fund-raising practices are deserving of scrutiny. However, the president and his party could dispel their image of coddlers of corporate fat cats by taking a hard line against overseas tax shelters.

The corporate world remains a scandal-ridden embarrassment to this country. Americans should keep the pressure on companies to clean up their act or lose us as customers.

President Bush should reassert the case for prosecution of corporate crooks. We need a president and a Congress that are as tough on corporate tax cheats and corporate wrongdoers as they are on foreign dictators.

Editor's note: David Carkhuff is editor of the Blue Mountain Eagle in John Day and a frequent contributor to this column.

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