Question of the Week, August 11, 2015

Over the last decade, SCOTUS and in some ways Congress have expanded the notion of corporate personality well beyond that originally intended for the corporate form. This is reflected in cases like Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. , 558 U.S. (2010), McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, 572 U.S. ___ (2014) and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, 573 U.S. ___ (2014). Many think this is an outright assault on the fundamental nature of democracy by allowing a legal fiction to have rights only previously recognized in natural persons. This distortion of the limited personality granted so corporations could own property, enter into contract and avail themselves of the courts has led to a situation where elections are seen as less of an exercise in democracy and more an exercise in plutocratic oligarchy where office is purchased for hand picked crony candidates by the highest bidder. No matter how one feels about the effects of this movement, the root cause is the expansion of corporate personality.

About Gene Howington

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11 Responses to Question of the Week, August 11, 2015

  1. wordcloud9 says:

    I’m for dismantling the legal fiction of corporate “personhood” — even before the expansion of corporate “rights” by the Right Wing of the Supreme Court, it was used far too often to shield corporate boards and executives from the dire consequences of their decisions, including the deliberate choice to not fix product problems that were lethal because it was more “cost effective” to deal with law suits.than to save lives.

  2. Aridog says:

    I can’t vote for any of these options, and since it is not a political election, no need to vote for least worst. None of the options reflect my viewpoints. I believe corporations should have the same rights as an individual, but not superior rights, and must be limited to no more total contribution threshold than any individual…e.g., no pseudo-independent super-PAC’s and no outlandish financial influence. My reasoning is that many corporate stocks and investments are held in mutual funds and are not even necessarily known to the individuals who invest in mutual funds…who need at least minimal representation in the financial political process. Further I also believe no union should have total thresholds higher than an individual…e.g. no union quasi-super-PAC status either. These views might require the FCC to require “equal time” provisions apply to all candidates, and/or organizations acting as an individual, and I’d be fine with that. Voices would be heard equally if they took the effort. Plutocratic oligarchy bothers me and I’d like to see it reigned in financially. Mr Trump would certainly have less media coverage for “entertainment” or each candidate would have equal coverage.

  3. Aridog says:

    WP ate my comment and at this point I’m not in the mood to explain it again. Suffice it to say none of the options above reflect my opinions.

  4. Voted “no” – it is time to get rid of the corporate veil.

  5. ann summers says:

    if it moves the personification to the elimination of religious tax-exemption then by Xenu and Kolob, it’s actually a good thing

  6. Aridog,
    Comment rescued. Spam filter seems to be set on “extra grumpy.”

  7. bettykath says:

    The 14th Amendment has been interpreted by the courts exactly the way the railroad-owned Congressmen intended that it be interpreted when they made citizen to be person, hoping that it wouldn’t be noticed. Since there was no discussion at the time the amendment was being enacted, other Congressmen seemed to believe that it meant citizens, as in the first two sentences. But persons became all persons, real and artificial by other railroad advocates, through a footnote/sidenote, not a judge. The fundamental issue of whether or not the 14th amendment SHOULD apply equally to artificial persons has never had legislative discussion. It’s too bad we have a corporate-owned majority on the Supreme Court that followed previous judges that followed a non-judge’s pov that put railroad rights before those of the real, living, persons.

  8. When this Frankenstein was created by the courts, they also gave it a psychotic brain. The prime directive of the corporation being to increase the profits of the shareholders. So these remorseless beings privatize profits and socialize costs and externalities. Handing over public services to corporations is like handing over mom to the care of Norman Bates.

  9. Aridog says:

    The error in creating the corporation as a person is that it doesn’t limit their participation with mega-dollars via PAC’s…which I’d abolish, along with mega-dollar union PAC-like behavior. A “person” has a threshold for contributions, and the Corporations and Unions should have the identical threshold…but I’d consider raising it to $5000 for all, and no more. Equal time provisions for media would level that playing field as well…no more all Trump all the time. Smart advertisers would still sponsor the equal time presentations…win-win IMO. That or I’m just too optimistic 🙂

    PS: Chuck Stanely … thank you for the “rescue”…I guess the filter is just as “grumpy” as me at times.

  10. The Fairness Doctrine and Equal Time rules need to be revisited.

  11. Aridog says:

    Mary Wehrheim said…

    Handing over public services to corporations is like handing over mom to the care of Norman Bates.

    I think you be surprised, shocked perhaps, to know just how much public service is already handed over …e.g., contracted out…to corporations today. The recent pollution of the Animus River in Colorado, now reaching Lake Powell, was by errors made by such a corporate contractor under the EPA’s (slight) oversight. The clean up, if even possible considering the heavy metals involved in sediments laid down, will be perhaps the largest ever attempted. Lake Michigan had high levels of Mercury in 1975…and still does…check the recommendations for salmon and trout consumption with fishing license info booklet.

    That’s just one instance…I spent a long time in DOD and could cite a long list of such contracts of public services and military services…some of them on the military side making it impossible for the USA to move a Division or two quickly in to a emergency, for a couple weeks or more, without the contractors….who are always hesitant to enter combat zones. When they show up eventually, they prefer the enclave concept and are not very good at mobile actions. I used to joke that Grand Fenwick could take over Boston and we’d be unable to stop them until Kellog, Brown, & Root caught up.

    Trouble is it is not a joke…very few of our emergency response military units are fully self sufficient…an exception might be the 173rd Airborne Brigade stationed in Italy and some USMC expeditionary units with Navy back up instead of KBR or the equivalent.

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