Class Warfare Blog

July 6, 2012

Corporations As People . . . Not

I have written before about the Supreme Court’s misusing the concept of a corporation as a person. Basically that concept is a fiction created for business purposes, not political purposes. And, everybody business person knows it is a fiction. Nobody believes that corporations are really people in disguise (except maybe Mitt Romney—actually to be fair I believe Candidate Romney was trying to say corporations were made “of” people when he said “Corporations are people, my friends.”).

The idea is that, as a “person,” if a corporation got fatally in over its head, it could disincorporate, that is “die.” Prior to the invention of corporations, a business person who experienced difficulties had all of his personal assets at risk. Dead people and dead corporations have limited risks. So, this looks to have been a good thing.

  “To first declare that “money is a form of speech” and then that “corporations have
the First Amendment right of American citizens” are both horrific statements.”

But to first declare that “money is a form of speech” and then that “corporations have the First Amendment right of American citizens” are both horrific statements. I can’t even describe these as mistakes because no one could be so stupid as to make these as mistakes, they must be deliberate machinations.

Who could benefit from such bizarre opinions? Hmmm. . . ? (I hope you are not waiting for the Church Lady to chime in with “Satan!” and if you have read my last half dozen posts you understand that it is the monied interests who stand to benefit greatly: more corporate welfare, fewer regulations, more conservative Supreme Court Justices to imagine it is all legal, etc.)

“The Supreme Court has just made corporations more powerful than voters.
So much for ‘We are all created equal.’”

 If . . . if a corporation were a person:

“Where does it live?”—I have representatives. I cannot vote for people outside of my political boundaries. Where do corporations live?

“Where do its opinions come from?—As a “real” person, I do not hire people to create my opinions, they are entirely my own. I admit I can be influenced by the opinions of others, as well as by facts, etc. which I believe is “a good thing.” Who is the opinion maker of a corporation? Officially . . . I have a right to know. Do the lowest level workers in a corporation get a say? What about their human resources department, do they have a say in cultural issues? I can imagine all of the lawyers in a partnership (and a S Corporation) sitting around a table discussing how to spend their political money, but what about General Electric or General Motors? What rules are followed by corporations to come up with their opinions? What does corporate law say about this?

“Where does its money come from?”—Are these corporations receiving corporate welfare of any kind? Subsidies? Sweetheart contracts? Tax breaks? If so, political contributions to politicians who have decision or oversight positions are clearly influence peddling and are illegal. I have a right to know if my money (governmental funds) are flowing to these corporations and flowing right back out to influence governmental decisions.

If . . . if money were a form of political speech:

“What does it say?”—Money, by itself says nothing. Anything you could say with money, you can say without it (this blog is free, for example). Money simply lets you say what you want to say to more people simultaneously. Money is not speech; it is power. Power is the ability to act. The more power you have, the more actions you can undertake. A large amount of money allows one to do a great many things that the “less powerful” cannot do. Consequently, money is a form of power, not a form of speech.

And, as such, the Supreme Court has just made corporations more powerful than voters. So much for “We are all created equal.”



  1. The right to speech that Supreme Court decision has given to corporations is not free speech, it’s premium speech. And to be fair, this right to unlimited contributions was given not just to corporations, but to wealthy individuals, and even to foreign organizations and governments. I doubt that it would be so difficult for China or Saudi Arabia to dump a few billions in one of these superPACs.


    Comment by List of X — July 9, 2012 @ 10:41 pm | Reply

    • Regarding the foreign influence, I suspect it would be oh, so easy for a foreign government to bribe a legitimate corporation to do its bidding.


      Comment by stephenpruis — July 10, 2012 @ 9:37 am | Reply

      • They don’t need to bribe an American corporation, it is completely legal for them to donate through an American subsidiary of a foreign company. From what I understand, Credit Suisse and UBS have already donated thousands to Romney.


        Comment by List of X — July 10, 2012 @ 9:59 pm | Reply

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