If Corporations Are People…

In its Citizens United decision, the US Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people – with all of the rights of individuals. The “justices” didn’t mention the responsibilities that go along with those rights. Like the responsibility to care for your neighbors.

But, just for a moment, let’s assume that those five old men in black robes who voted in the majority were right. If corporations really were like people, one-sixth, including their CEOs, would be unable to afford health insurance. One-sixth would not have enough food to eat. They would not be able to afford lobbyists. Few would have pension plans and large investment accounts. Most would not be able to retire when they became elderly. And most would not have enough money to contribute to political candidates.

If corporations were like people, they would not be able to negotiate a plea after committing illegal acts, then pay a small fine and deny any admission of guilt. They would go to prison.

If corporations were like people, they would receive no tax-free subsidies to acquire space and land. They would have to pay property taxes on their buildings. Other states and cities would not offer them millions in incentives to relocate. All but a tiny percent would have to pay their fair share of sales taxes and income taxes.

And what if the members of Congress were like the people they’re supposed to represent?

Instead of being paid $174,000 per year, representatives would be paid an average salary of $50,502. Half would make less than $27,000 and 16 percent would live in poverty. Some would be hungry and homeless. They would have no staff to do their work for them. They would actually have to read the bills before they vote.  And they wouldn’t begin fundraising and campaigning for the next election the day after they’re elected.

We’ve come a long way from the representative government our Founders envisioned. A lo-o-o-o-o-ng way!