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Monday, Jan 28, 2002

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"Enron is not a political scandal in the sense of gotcha-gotcha-now-resign. But it has exposed the administration's sleazy corporatism and underlined its relative indifference to the market principles that form the Republican Party's more attractive side. The folks at the White House tolerate the free-trade efforts of the trade czar, Bob Zoellick, but they don't really like him. They hired a free marketeer to run the office overseeing regulation, but they won't necessarily back him up. Their agriculture secretary says the right things on market-distorting farm subsidies, but they don't have the stomach to fight Congress on this issue. They won't even stand up for school vouchers, despite Bush's emphasis on education. What the White House team really cares about is cutting taxes, which has less to do with market principle than with rewarding backers."