The allure of money can cast an aura of respectability on actions that otherwise couldn't pass the smell test. Money somehow makes good people strive mightily to justify the unjustifiable.

This year, we've had ample opportunity to observe this phenomenon play out in the headlines and on TV. The Harken Energy and Halliburton companies—while being led by two of America's most patriotic citizens—set up subsidiaries in a Caribbean tax haven, for instance. Both President Bush and Vice President Cheney deny the moves were intended to help their companies dodge taxes that otherwise would have been


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