“Companies Should Be More Honest,” Says Nation That Walks Away<br>Quickly If Inadvertently Given Too Much Change by Cashier

New York, N.Y. ( – From Enron to Global Crossing, Andersen to AIG, allegations that U.S. corporations have been cheating, lying, and even breaking the law have caused a firestorm of indignation across America, where most inhabitants regularly exceed posted speed limits, have “permanently borrowed” something from the office, and will say pretty much anything to get out of jury duty.

Would you lie for $1,000?

“It takes a lot of gall for these companies to talk about values and integrity, but all the while fudge their books and hide the truth,” said Philadelphia data processor Marty Lewis, who has yet to tell his bank that an extra $48.19 showed up on his last checking account statement.

“It’s like somehow they think the law doesn’t apply to them,” added Lewis, who really only tried that stuff in college, and then it was just at parties, and it’s not like he ever bought it himself.

“I want my children to grow up believing that honesty and hard work is what gets you ahead, but it’s impossible when they see corporate role models like Computer Associates and Tyco abusing the system,” said Atlanta supermarket manager Byron Miller, who has been receiving The Playboy Channel for free ever since that storm last December.

The opprobrium has spread quickly, from Middle America to the nation’s capital, where many are clamoring for justice. “Corporations have a responsibility to their employees, their shareholders, and to average Americans to behave appropriately,” said U.S. Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio, who is now on trial for tax falsification, racketeering, and accepting favors for political influence. “The worst thing is, they probably will get away with no more than a slap on the wrist.”

“Well, at least now corporations should get the message that if they try to hide things or do sloppy work, eventually they’re going to get caught,” added historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

However, some believe corporations are not entirely at fault. Businesses today are increasingly pressured to forego long-term investments and focus on short-term, get-rich-quick strategies, noted New Jersey restaurant supply salesman Arnold Dishauer, who spends $15 a week on lottery tickets, plus chips in another $5 a week for the office PowerBall pool. “I don’t know where it comes from, but it’s like they’ve forgotten that slow and steady wins the race,” he said.

But 24-year-old Berkeley, Calif., resident Ben Burnsing – an unmarried graduate student who failed to talk his way out of a speeding ticket this morning by claiming his “wife” was giving birth to their son at the hospital, but whose day turned out all right when he aced his chemistry final after getting the test answers from a guy who had the same class last semester – summed up the wrath of a nation: “I shudder to think what would happen to this country if we all behaved like our corporations.”

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