Corporations are people

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney commented last week that “Corporations are people”. The mainstream media pounced immediately, the NY Times referring to him as an “out of touch businessman.” The left treated it like a treasonous act. Why? Because the truth of his statement contradicts the left’s worldview, and weakens a major pillar in their workers-of-the-world-unite gameplan.

Starting with the 1960’s anti-American counterculture movement, the left has ranted that business, industry and capitalism keep America from utopia. “American business profits on the backs of poor people,” was their mantra.

Let’s explore this theory. The fact that a corporation is a legal entity does not take away from another fact: all entities in a corporation are persons. From the Denver Post: “The U.S. Code and Supreme Court decisions have long included corporations in their definition of ‘person’ for legal purposes.”

But that’s not what Romney meant. He was saying that corporations consist of people, and he’s right. A business is a group of people working together. Take away the people and the corporation must dissolve.

When the government sends a tax bill to a corporation, the building or the bricks and mortar don’t pay the bill. When the government taxes corporations, ultimately either the employees, or the shareholders, or the customers are going to pay it. When taxes remove money from a business, employees and managers don’t receive wage increases they could have had; the employees-who-never-were are denied new jobs.

And if excessive regulations are imposed on the corporation, it’s human employees who must labor under the regs and find ways to keep their heads above the waterline.

Finally, it’s also the corporation’s shareholders, who have put their cash at risk of loss, who are impacted when the corporation takes a hit from taxes and excessive regulations. Remember, all businesses begin when an entrepreneur employs people to provide a service or create a product; other employees sell what that business produces while support people handle administrative tasks.

It’s unsurprising that the media and the left become unhinged over the notion that corporations are people. They villainize businesses because they need a “perpetrator” to point their collective fingers at. The left can’t create “victims” that need government largesse unless they have a perpetrator, an inflictor. Leftists can’t convince voters that the poor and downtrodden are discriminated against and persecuted unless they can point to a villain that evokes no sympathy. So, “Big Business” is made to be the whipping boy, the devil in a suit, taking advantage of all the helpless “little people”. Very clever. Also very unfair in most cases.

The left cannot admit that a business is a group of people working with each other, because they need to create a heartless villain. A “faceless, impersonal” corporation fits their scheme because it’s easier for liberals to hurl sleazy class warfare accusations against an entity that has no human face.

What’s hypocritical about all this is the selective nature of the left’s hatred of corporations. It’s OK for liberal newspaper businesses like the Palm Beach Post to spend money using the power of the press to influence election outcomes, but it’s evil when non-media corporations spend money in the political process to defend themselves.

This nation needs to give people and businesses the opportunity to become wealthy. Otherwise, there is no incentive to risk capital to build a business that provides people with the goods or services they want. If governments design their taxes and regulations to keep profits low, which prevents smart and ambitious people from getting richer, what reason do entrepreneurs have to keep designing and making the kinds of products that made them rich and made countless Americans happy?

As the Denver Post’s Mike Rosen stated recently, “Corporations represent the producer interest in society, the people who make the things that consumers and other businesses buy. Who would take their place — government?”


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John R. Smith


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