Columnist Shows Why He Won a Pulitzer

Not since anchorman Howard Beale’s iconic rant in the classic 1976 film ‘Network’ has a syndicated columnist gone off the rails as eloquently as the Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein in his August 13 column: ‘Blame for financial mess starts with the corporate lobby.’

Drafted in the form of a letter to business leaders who claim to be constricted over the chaos on Wall Street and the gridlock in Washington, Pearlstein offers his take on culpability for the increasingly dire state of the U.S. economy:

“Want to know who is to blame, Mr. Big Shot Chief Executive?” asks the normally reserved Pearlstein. “Just look in the mirror because the culprit is staring you in the face.”

In a column notable for its length as well as its content, Pearlstein pulls no punches as he blames corporations for facilitating the creation of “…monsters that are rampaging through the political and economic countryside, wreaking havoc and sucking the lifeblood out of the global economy.”

Taking particular aim at business lobbyists, Pearlstein describes their current mission as “…a jihad against all regulation, all taxes and all government, waged by right-wing zealots…  For them, this isn’t just a tactic to brush back government. It’s a holy war to destroy it — and one that is now out of your control.”

Pearlstein also notes how corporations used millions of shareholders’ dollars to launch phony front organizations with innocent-sounding names such as Americans for a Sound Economy, and the shadowy network of Republican financing vehicles. “And thanks to your clever lawyers and a Supreme Court majority that is intent on removing all checks to corporate power, it’s perfectly legal,” says Pearlstein, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2008 for columns explaining the global financial crisis.

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