REASON 28: Because corporations are not people. People are better.
I believe it's important to support President Obama's re-election because, among other reasons, he supports the idea that corporations should be held accountable for their actions through regulation, and should contribute to bringing down the national debt through fair taxation of their proﬁts. Kind of common sense stuff, really.
Of course, Obama's opponent believes that the economy would be better served by business avoiding the weight of these responsibilities. Last summer, in response to a heckler at a rally, Mitt Romney defended the rights of corporations to enjoy limited taxation by reminding his audience that “Corporations are people, too.” Though he was referring to the shareholders that comprise a corporation, he's no doubt comfortable with the court's decision to grant corporations a sort of legal personhood, which allows for some constraints, like the right to be sued, but also many liberties, such as free speech.
It is almost certain that the next President will appoint a new Supreme Court justice within his first term in office. If Romney is elected, a current court of five people who think corporations should have rights and free reign on our democracy will become a court of six people who share this belief. Frightening concept.
On the other hand, if President Obama does the appointing, the court will likely overturn the 2010 Citizens United decision, reinstating restrictions on corporate campaign donations. He's up against this himself. Conservative groups alone, including many super PACs and corporate entities, will spend one billion dollars trying to defeat President Obama in the upcoming election.
Mitt Romney and his political party are asking the country to support a legislative bias toward corporate liberties. I'm not so comfortable with this, considering the personality traits of the corporate“person”we would be granting these beneﬁts to. The corporation, as I see it, is:
-Fearful: It is forever looking over its shoulder for the shareholder (or, actual persons), demanding that it do one thing, exclusively: produce proﬁt.
-Cunning: There to meet every need, it is also clever enough to invent previously unimagined needs (like the SUV).
-Ruthless: A corporation doesn't have neighbors, family, or friends. So who's there watching, to act as its conscience as it fulﬁlls its one directive in “life”?
-Husky: Overweight? Maybe, but it's deﬁnitely large enough to get into trouble, or, if it were to be in a generous mood, to have the means to produce good.
President Obama understands that this “person,” as much as it is a commercial necessity, can be kind of an asshole, and by that I mean that it has no conscience. By deﬁnition. Not to say that it is fundamentally a bad actor, or without the capacity to promote well-being, but that in order to play well with others, it's going to need a little guidance from time to time, and will need to contribute to the society that has granted it the license to exist.
Not such a radical notion, though the Republicans would claim and legislate otherwise.
Let's not let that happen.
Los Angeles, California