Beyond Babedom

We're (way) over 40. Deal with it.

In Order to Form a More Perfect Market

The Supreme Court just decided that corporations are people, too; that every corporation is entitled to the same First Amendment rights as any American citizen. In this case, it was about freedom of speech. Now, I think we all agree that companies can say whatever they want (with the caveat that anything in their advertising has to be true. . . or no one else can prove it isn’t). But if the Supreme Court was right to overturn at least two precedents (and a law, for that matter) to let companies spend billions on the political candidate of their choice, we really should think about what other rights and responsibilities corporations should have.

After all, if  spending money equates speech, and the Supremes say companies are entitled to free speech  – to spend as much as they want on a political campaign (knowing, of course, that no politician will be swayed to change their votes by the threat of  Exxon supporting their opponent), we’ve got to look at their rights and responsibilities a little more closely, no?

For example, what about the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?  If a company has the right to be happy – and being happy means keeping women out of the board room – then who are we to question that decision? In fact, forget the board room; let them continue to pay us $ .75 for every dollar they pay a man. After all, they have the right to be happy, just like you and me.

And, just like you and me, they should have some responsibilities along with those rights. So, when a big company takes over a smaller one and kills it, shouldn’t they be charged with murder? That small company has the right to live! And mergers? If GE wants to divorce NBC, there needs to be a divorce settlement. After all, who’s going to take care of the NBC employees (read: children)? Oh, and taxes! Yes, they pay corporate taxes, but the government (that means us) should be able to delve into their financials. Anyone want to join the Corporate IRS?

Of course, there is also the problem of companies that have a significant foreign component. Yes; read foreign as potential terrorist. What would happen if Switzerland decided to pump billions into a Hershey, PA election? Could they make the official language in Hershey Swiss? Is there a Swiss language?

However, there could be a major upside to the Supreme Court determining that corporations are just like you and me. Congress could reenact the draft and all the financial “whizzes” who got us into this mess could go to Iraq.

And practice their free speech.

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This entry was posted on Friday, January 22nd, 2010 at 1:12 PM and is filed under Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. Marianne says:

    Now the SEIU suddenly has $150 million, from which they’ve already committeed at least $85 million specific to Democratic candidates. That money got squeezed out of the locals under duress, in obvious violation of the spirit and letter of federal law. The union knows how to protect itself and its interests, and the lockstep nature of their support for Democrats should awaken voters to the threat their policies comprise.

    Let’s hear your outrage….

  2. Susan says:

    Boy, a whole $85 million! That should be about 1/100th of what Exxon will spend. And Xe. And Citibank. And Morgan Stanley. So if you want to talk about the spirit and letter of the law, let’s talk about how often stockholders are given any voice in how the company they own spends money on campaigns. . . Never. I WISH the companies I own stock in would even simply ASK me if I agree with who they support, but they’ve arranged things so no stockholder (other than those fat cats) has any say, other than to vote yes or no on the board of directors. I say let’s get some reform in the way companies spend OUR money

  3. Marianne says:

    I say let’s get some reform in the way this government spends OUR money! You could always sell your stock? And I’ll keep voting……

    Maybe if the Unions and corporations didn’t get favors for their money it would change. Just a thought.

  4. Susan says:

    I can sell my stock? And how exactly would that work. . . all of these companies spend their money on candidates, so theoretically, I wouldn’t be able to invest anywhere with your solution. Your point about not getting favors for their money was Lucille’s point exactly.

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