Corporations are not people!

Corporations are not people. They don't breathe. They don't have a pulse. And it seems kind of silly to defend their freedom of speech given the simple fact that CORPORATIONS CAN'T TALK!

Corporations are business entities that are owned by people and they are beholden only to their shareholders. Can someone please explain to me the logic behind treating corporations as if they were people? How is this a good idea? 

Don't get me wrong. The people who own/run/work for corporations are most definitely people. They should be—and are—able to vote, contribute to candidates and say whatever the hell they want. And I have no problem with the directors of a corporation telling the people who work for them that they feel a particular issue or candidate is in the best interest of the company (as long as this lobbying doesn't reach the level of harassment). Then it's up to the employees to decide if the company's interests mesh with their own interests, and how to prioritize those interests against the interests of society at large. As is, this gives corporations the potential of having many voices in the political process. But these voices should be limited to living, breathing people. The corporation itself should stay out of it. 

A corporation's responsibility is to create profit for its shareholders. Corporations have no responsibility toward society at large. If it could, a corporation would enslave us all, steal our natural resources and force us to buy its products. It might not be the moral thing to do, but it would be great for profitability! And here's a little secret... corporations don't have morals! This shouldn't be a big surprise, given that, again, they aren't really people. They don't follow a code of ethics unless required to do so by government regulations. Even then many of them have trouble behaving themselves. Now I'm not saying that perception isn't somewhat important to corporations, so sure they try to make it look like they care, but looks can be deceiving. Legally they can only look after the interests of their shareholders. They don't really care about anything else.

Given this reality, corporations should not be allowed to fund political campaigns. They should not be allowed to fund political parties.They should not be allowed to fund political action committees. They should not be allowed to fund any political advertisements, directly or indirectly, beyond their internal employee newsletters and press releases. Its bad enough that they can pay lobbyists to talk directly to politicians. They shouldn't be allowed to pay those candidates as well.

If the owners of a corporation want to support a political issue or candidate, then they can spend their own money doing so. They have a voice in the process just like everybody else. It is unfair to us if they get a second puppet voice through their corporation (a puppet voice with very deep pockets). If they want more corporate money going toward their issue, and they think they have a leg to stand on, then they can pay higher wages to their employees and encourage them to contribute as well... as individuals. Then everyone wins!

The recent Supreme Court decision is unconscionable. It throws out centuries of precedent and brings corporations even closer to personhood, moving our country even further in the wrong direction. This is the stuff dystopian societies are made of.

Comments

Top contributor overall:

Top contributor overall:

Lawyers and Law Firms. 83% of their contributions to Democrats.

Top Republican Industry:

Health Professionals. 63% of their contributions to Democrats. (That's right ... even the top contributor to Republicans gives more to Democrats,)

Top Democrat Industries:

Lawyers and Law Firms again.

OK .. now you see why the Democrats are upset. Glad I could help out here.

 

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Rubbish. We all know republican'ts are the worst about this

They have no conscience the way they talk and Act carving up the little people to further enrich the richest 1% as if they are needed for anything. Every one of the top richest 1% could die tomorrow and the world would still keep turning. Their biggest trick is having fooled everyone into believing they actually produce something when in fact all they do is consume en masse, their profligate lifestyles shoved down the throats of the poor and the working poor, all the middle class folks who worked all their lives only to have it stolen by those mega thieves, all those of us who they continually denegrate and work to take ever more and more away from. They'd outright kill us if it'd make them richer and they do. They disregard laws on worker safety and product safety every day. They lobby to have LESS safe work places and LESS safe food and water and air for us to eat, drink and breathe.

Republicans sure do have the money to brainwash but anyone who reads or listens to or watches the real news (not that Fox shit) knows. Anyone who simply pays attention to the world around them knows. Republicans don't even want police to protect us, they think it's every person's own responsibility while they cheat and lie and steal and kill us with their poison products and practices and hide behind their gated communities with their own private police force guarding them. People who have to live like that are not people, they are monsters and they know that we know it and that is why they have to hide. Let them come out and show their face. Notice how many when their names are made public don't keep their unearned bonuses. All we have to do is shine the light on these blood thirsty vampire bastards.

The ruling was the correct

The ruling was the correct ruling. TGIX. Your statement is just wrong. If anyone is brainwashing it is you and the far left democrats. There are still good democrats but the loney bin is in charge right now.

The ruling was the correct

The ruling was the correct ruling.

Please explain yourself. Why was this the "correct ruling"? I have still not heard a reason why it is good for our society to treat corporations as if they were people. Can you offer one? 

I don't want to get into a Republicans v. Democrats debate here, so lets concentrate on the issue at hand. In the context of this discussion, I don't really care much about which corporations are or are not donating to which parties, or good/bad corporations are. In fact, I'll do you one better. I contend that even if all corporations were benevolent organizations, run by groups of happy flower people who only wanted to make the world a better place, it would still be wrong to treat corporations like people. Briefly, here are two reasons why...

1) It creates two classes of people with uneven representation in government. You have your average citizens and you have your owners. First and foremost, citizens influence government with their votes. The luckier ones, who happen to be higher up the economic ladder and have some disposable income, can also make personal contributions to campaigns, giving them even more influence. Owners, on the other hand, get all the benefits afforded citizens PLUS they get the ability to direct a corporation to act on their behalf. As it is, owners are far more likely to have substantial disposable income which they can personally contribute, allowing them to buy more political influence as an individual than your average citizen. But the resources at the disposal of a corporation may be orders of magnitude beyond those of the average citizen. And all of those resources can be directed at increasing the personal gain of the owners. This gives owners far more potential influence on the political process than average citizens and is decidedly undemocratic.

2) On top of the extra influence corporate personhood gives to citizens who own corporations, it can also give a great deal of influence to people who aren't citizens at all! Many "American companies" are owned in part by foreigners. Treating these corporations like people opens a loophole for foreign interests to influence our political process. This little fact is often overlooked by those who favor corporate personhood.

SQ

Your argument is compelling. The last little bit about foreigners owning corporations with voting rights ought to frighten the socks right off of everyone be they blue, red, green, purple or whatever political persuasion.

But the fact is the court has ruled and now we all have to suffer as a result. Hell, what am I saying, they're already treated less like legal entities and more like actual people. I mean they get welfare don't they?

Why should I explain when

Why should I explain when TGIX just said republicans were evil? That was the basis of his whole argument. But alright since you are not TGIX here we go.

The law is not exclusive to corporations it also include unions and everyone else. The good thing about this law now is it will have to be disclosed. 28 states have a law letting corporations run ads. The amount of the ads are about the same as unions. But still they cannot give to candidates. which is good. So now we know exactly where the ad is coming from. Not only that corporations are not really going to run ads themselves because they do not want to piss anyone off. They do not want to alienate any costumers. It is just bad business. As for nonprofits such as the Sierra Club or the National Rifle Association, their "investors" knew what they were signing up for, and never should have been muzzled.

 

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Please show me where it says only people have the freedom of speech? It says people have the right to assemble and petition the government but it does say only people have the right to freedom of speech. It gives corporations the right to freedom of speech because the press is a corporation.

 

If there is another argument you would like to debate go ahead. 

In the great words of my favorite Villian. Alllllll to easy.

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My Take

I don't know how many times I have to say it...Republicans and Democrats are equally sleazy.

Corporations may not be people by they're run by humans beings who have a responsibility to act ethically and abide by the same laws that people do: they cannot steal, murder, rape, defraud, etc.

 

 

rkinne you are 100 percent

rkinne you are 100 percent correct.

Did that just happen?

Sure looks to me like someone just did a most abrupt 180º turnaround. That's great if it's true. It's always good when people see things as they actually are. However, am I the only one who sees this as perhaps less than genuine? Usually if someone suddenly flips their position around that way they will offer at least some sort of explanation. They don't merely spit out a one sentence statement saying no more than the person they were contradicting is right. How odd.

Who is the someone?

Who is the someone?

@MV I realize that the law

@MV

I realize that the law also applies to unions. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about unions, but it's not appropriate to get into that debate here. That being said, I do think there is quite a large difference between the implications of union contributions and corporate contributions to political campaigns. All that aside, I would be fine with banning unions from making political contributions if it meant we could also ban corporations. Unions aren't people either, for what its worth.

As for your constitutional interpretation... "The press" is not necessarily a corporation. Freedom of the press means that we have the freedom to communicate and express ourselves through published media. I don't have to be incorporated to do so. And Freedom of speech implies you are referring to an entity which has the ability to speak. Again, corporations can't talk.

When we say we're giving corporations the freedom of speech, what we're really saying is that we will allow the owners of corporations to use their corporation as a puppet proxy through which they themselves will speak. This allows the owners to exert unmerited influence within the political arena, while maintaining a high degree of anonymity and insulating themselves from any responsibility for their actions. If the owners have something to say, they should say it themselves. That speech is directly and unambiguously protected under the constitution. 

@rkinne01

I don't know how many times I have to say it...Republicans and Democrats are equally sleazy.

Again, this issue has nothing to do with Republicans vs. Democrats. Believe it or not, there are plenty of Republicans who oppose corporate personhood and I'm sure you could find some Democrats who support it. I myself am not affiliated with either party and would really like to discuss the issue on its merits, rather than turning it into some polarized us-vs-them debate.

Corporations may not be people by they're run by humans beings who have a responsibility to act ethically and abide by the same laws that people do: they cannot steal, murder, rape, defraud, etc.

Yes, corporations are run by humans who are bound to abide by the laws and regulations set forth by our government. However, even if we assume that all corporations actually follow these laws to the letter (which history shows is not the case), corporations have absolutely no responsibility to act ethically. We may want them to—and some may choose to—but the officers and directors of a corporation have exactly one responsibility: create profit for the shareholders. That's it. 

Most corporations act altruistically only to the extent they must, in order to create a positive impression among the masses, thus increasing the bottom line. Only a precious few corporations take a long view of their position in society and seek to make the world in which they operate a better place. Because a person's association with a particular corporation is not necessarily permanent, it is common for corporate officers to be far too willing to grab gains today without much concern for tomorrow's consequences. 

It is true that humans, as individuals, also act out of self interest, but unlike the corporation you work for, you cannot leave yourself. You will always be you, living in the society in which you live. This makes people far more likely to be altruistic as individuals than as corporate officers. There's also the issue of anonymity and dilution of responsibility in a crowd. Basically, while individuals may be smart and caring, groups are dumb and insensitive. It's easier to be heartless in a corporation because of the number of people involved. The actions of individual corporate officers are given a large degree of anonymity. And because every corporate action relies on the actions of many people within the corporation, none of those people feel individually responsible for the outcome when bad things happen. This is just basic human psychology and there are many case studies to back it up. 

All of this is typically made worse by corporate culture. It has been found that many of the most successful corporate officers have personality traits which border on psychopathy. People who are able to manipulate those around them, bend the rules and attack their competitors—without conscience or remorse—often do quite well in business. Expecting people who got to the top by being cutthroat, to turn around and act ethically once they get there, is plain delusional. 

MY reply

@strange quark: You're right its not a Republican vs Republican issue, its both. The republicans and democrats have both proven they don't give a flying crap about the American people, they're all a bunch of rich businessmen who seek office to help make laws to enrich themselves further.  If our politicians from either major party cared then there would be regulations that would force companies to act responsibly or face ligitation from the government and/or the public. We all know Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court and owned by the corporations, they'll never bite the hand that feeds them.

Its the lack of ethics that (largely) got us into this recession mess. It's a shame that the American consumers are too fat and lazy to even try to do anything about it, they'll still spend money blindly without considering who the money is going to.  People will continue to bitch about the disgusting business practices of Wal-Mart but will still gladly shop there every Sunday.  Mr Lazypants will gripe about being overcharged by Comcast but will still keep the service every month instead of looking for a better alternative.

If businesses won't conduct themselves in a fair and ethical way then its up to consumers to stick it to them. If you're not happy with Direct TV bills, then switch to DishNetwork, ATT, or Comcast.  If you think that KFC is mistreating the chickens in a slaughter house then its time to find a new place to get your fried chicken (KFC's chicken has been awful for awhile but thats another peeve for another time).

And before someone asks...  Yes I do have a few companies I won't invest or spend money upon.  We ditched Comcast and signed up DishNetwork, we get much better service with a smaller bill.  There is a gas station chain in town that treats its employees badly, I also avoid spending my money there, I'll give my money to a more respectful business.  

The longevity and tax-free will make the ruling be reversed.

People have a limited life span. Corporations and unions do not. They therefore have the ability to conjur up powerful political backing for legislation that favors them over people. Virtually every one of us has very direct connections to corporations and/or unions, often without us ever considering the fact but it's true. So the theory on one side is that we all benefit, it's OK if corporations and unions benefit. Wrong. That is horribly mistaken point of view. We do NOT benefit nearly so much as we lose when a corporation gets special rights that we do not have. They victimizes us. The only ones who benefit are the very rich who are either officers in the corporation or others who hold large amounts of it's stock. It's not at all like building a sympathetic Frankenstein monster only to tease it and form into a mob to chase it with firey torches and big sticks. Instead it's like creating a new form of life that eats people and then setting it lose out on the public. This is dangerous.

The only way I see the damage the court did being repaired is if there were a concentrated effort to take all laws that do not necessarily benefit individual people and Enforce them on corporations since they can not have it both ways, only the good and not the bad. There will be enormous tax responsibilities that until now the corporations have been able to escape. And that is one Huge downside to the entire mess; there can be no such thing as a tax-free corporation then, not when the ramifications of the new law are properly applied. Individuals can NOT be tax-free simply because they help others. You can get deductions but there are limits to those. Instead, since we individuals can not be tax-free, neither then can corporations. That sure would suck. Enforce that and the court will be forced to do an about-face so fast the justices' heads will spin in 3D and Hi Def! LOL! I'm going to Love seeing it when it happens. Mark my word too, it is only a matter of time.

Strange they cannot donate to

Strange they cannot donate to campaigns they did not change that law. The only thing corporations can do is make commercials. No one is going to make a political commercial because they do not want to alienate any customers, K Mart got rid of 2 spokesmen because of there political views and it hurt the company.

 

I still agree with the law that says corporations may not give to campaigns. If a corporation does make a commercial they have to put there name on it.

The law I want to see is full disclosure a candidate should have to disclose every penny given to them.

 

When we say we're giving corporations the freedom of speech, what we're really saying is that we will allow the owners of corporations to use their corporation as a puppet proxy through which they themselves will speak.

The owners are not going to use there corporations as any puppet proxy for fear of losing business.

 

I hear no complaints from the left about George Soros.

I Agree with Neers

"The law I want to see is full disclosure a candidate should have to disclose every penny given to them."

I'd like to see that too but wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it.

We can only hope. But don't

We can only hope. But don't hold your breath.