Legally, Corporations ARE People

Mitt Romney (R-People Person) has been mocked (by Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert) and sort of defended (by Media Nation’s Dan Kennedy) for telling a heckler in Iowa that “Corporations are people, my friend.”

As Mr. Media Nation wrote:

Romney was making a fundamental, noncontroversial point: corporations are groups of people, and if you raise taxes on them, they’re going to pass those costs on to the public. Or should I say he was trying to make that point — he said, “You can raise taxes,” then got pulled in another direction.

But, really, this isn’t hard.

It also isn’t one-dimensional.

Consider the issue of “corporate personhood,” which Ralph Nader railed against in the 2008 presidential election:

In 1886 the Supreme Court, in the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, was interpreted to have ruled that corporations were “persons”—before women were considered persons under the 19th amendment to have the right to vote.

Ever since, corporations have enjoyed most of the same constitutional rights granted to real people.

But corporations are not humans. They don’t vote. They don’t have children. They don’t die in Iraq.

The people who work for the corporations are of course real people, but the corporate “entity” should never be given equal constitutional rights to real human beings.

Nader, as usual, did not prevail, so corporations have retained their personhood.

To summarize:

Corporations are people, my friends.

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7 Responses to Legally, Corporations ARE People

  1. Al says:

    The argument shouldn’t be was Romney correct that corporations are people. It should be that he’s tone deaf to claim that to voters beset by layoffs, and corporations sitting on hundreds of billions of dollars while continuing to take back benefits such as health care and pensions from employees…Verizon can you hear me? His yuk a few weeks ago, trying to connect with a voter that he, too was unemployed, was similarly clueless.

  2. Steve Stein says:

    It’s illegal for me to own another person.

  3. Bob Gardner says:

    So this person W Spann was born, gave Mitt $1 million and then one of Romney’s cronies kills him/her. Or maybe aborted W Spann before he/she came to term.

  4. Bob Gardner says:

    “Romney was making a fundamental, noncontroversial point: corporations are groups of people, and if you raise taxes on them, they’re going to pass those costs on to the public.”
    This point is not “noncontroversial” and is “fundamental” only in the sense of being completely wrong. Corporations are not groups of people. In fact they were invented to do thngs that groups of people cannot do, like shield investors from liability. It’s simple minded to assume that croporations will always pass along the cost of higher taxes to the public.

  5. CAvard says:

    The Vermont Legislature begs to disagree. State Senator Ginny Lyons introduced an anti-corporate personhood resolution for passage in the Vermont legislature. The resolution proposed an amendment to the United States Constitution which provides that corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States.

    http://www.alternet.org/news/149620/vermont_is_gearing_up_to_strike_a_major_blow_to_corporate_personhood,_ban_it_statewide/

    I see where Dan is getting at and he’s accurate. I think that’s why corporate personhood campaigns can’t be taken seriously. But at the same time, citizens have no respite against corporations, especially when they do bad things (i.e. Monsanto, Union Carbide, Exxon-Mobil, BP, Grace, BP, etc) or when the SCOTUS makes bad decisions (Citizens United). I think citizens also want to have some sort of an effective means to take on corporations when the odds are often always stacked against them.

    Just sayin’.

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