Corporations are NOT people. PERIOD!

Contrary to the now infamous Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court, corporations are simply not people and should not be provided the civil rights protections meant to cover individuals in the first ten amendments to our constitution.

The most simple argument is as follows.  THEY CAN’T VOTE.  Nor should they be able to vote.  Corporations are legal and economic entities sanctioned by the government to provide protection, via separation, between people and the corporate entity itself.  In other words, corporations exist specifically to be an entity that is separate from the human individuals that own and control it.  This separation allows for certain liability protections for these individuals.  It also provides a mechanism for separating the economic interests of the “entity” from those of the people who control it.

Let’s put it in less technical terms.  By forming a corporation you can separate your income and costs from those of the corporation.  The corporation can make a ton of money, and even though you own the corporation itself, you don’t pay taxes on this money.  You only pay personal income taxes on the money the corporation pays you as income.  The corporation pays it’s own taxes, based on a completely different set of tax laws.  To put it simply, you are not the corporation.  The corporation stands on its own.  That is its purpose!

Our democracy is based on the simple principle of “one man, one vote”.  Young school children can understand this simple concept.  It is just Common Sense (Thomas Paine reference intentional).  Each person gets one equal vote in the selection of our government.  Rich people don’t get extra votes because they are rich.  That would not makes sense.  And corporations don’t get any vote at all, they are not people.

If a corporation wants to spend money on an elections, it is free to pay any individuals as much money as it wants, and encourage them to donate or spend that money on the elections subject to the campaign finance laws written for individuals.  The corporation would have to report this money as compensation, and the individual might owe income tax.  In addition, the individual would now control the assets and might choose the spend the money in another way.  But all of this makes sense.  It’s legal and it is the way it should work.  No individual’s civil rights have been affected in any way.

However, the Citizen’s United ruling has allowed corporations to be protected under the individual’s right to free speech, and free speech equals money.  The net effect has been that corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money on elections and are not subject to campaign financing laws covering amounts and disclosures.  So let’s review.  Even though corporations can not vote, they are free to influence elections through spending in manner that far exceeds what is legal for individuals citizens, who can vote.

Does that sound right to you?

Editors Note:  Certain existing situations in today’s society seem completely our of touch with reality or common sense.  From time to time this blog will argue such points in the category “Un-Common Sense”.

 

Republican Myth #2 The Myth of “Job Creators”

Just because you say something over and over again, does not make it true.  Political pundits have been “spinning” common terms to suit their political bias for many years.  In the Bush (43)/Karl Rove era, the practice reached new heights.  Reluctantly, I have to admit that the Republicans have been very effective over the past decade.  Again “reluctantly” I must admit to a certain amount of admiration for how disciplined party members have been at sticking to the prescribed “talking points” and repeating them over and over.

(One example:  Over 60% of voters that re-elected Bush in 2004 still believed that Saddam Hussein had direct ties to Al Queda and the 911 attacks, even though it had been widely disproved by then.  Certainly carefully worded and often repeated talking points contributed to this misconception.)

This election year has produced a number of new Republican created idioms in an attempt to “spin” common terms to their political advantage.  Today’s beef is the use of the term Job Creators to replace “the wealthy”.  Using the term Job Creators when unemployment rates are still high during the worst recession since the Great Depression is most likely a smart move.  The year 2012 will prove if it is also effective.  Unfortunately, it’s just misdirection!

The truly wealthy are not the true job creators in this economy.  The entrepreneurs are!  That is to say, it is the small business owners just starting to grow that create the new jobs.  Once they get wealthy, they make their money by using their money to make more.  In the past, there was a strong argument that using their money, or “investing” it, actually did create jobs.  However, over the past 15 year’s more money has been “created” on Wall Street via speculation and creative derivative products which have not produced true goods or services, and thus NOT JOBS!  In other words, “investing” can create jobs, but “gambling” does not.

Employment/Labor costs are typically the highest cost in operating a business.  The large corporations have trimmed down to very lean levels and out-sourced a lot of labor.  They are efficient, and corporate profits are at historic highs and have been for the last few years of “recovery”.  Yet, unemployment remains stubbornly high.  Think about it.  If CEO’s can produce a dividend and rising stock prices, they get bigger bonuses.  They are not interesting in “creating jobs”.  Employees cost money!

The “Bush Tax Cuts” went predominantly to the wealthy.  If you don’t believe this fact, you don’t understand the difference between INCOME and WEALTH and why the capital gains rate is so critical to this entire argument.  (Future postings will expand on this topic.)  However, if you exclude government jobs, the number of jobs in the U.S. economy remained essentially flat during the entire Bush presidency.  Where are the jobs?  How can you call the wealthy job creators?

We tried that approach in earnest with the 2001 tax cuts.  It didn’t work.  No matter how many times you say it, you can’t replace the word wealthy, with the words “Job Creators”.  It’s a myth!