Monday, April 26, 2010

Corporate Self-Sacrifice For The Common Good?

New interpretations of old policies have come to the forefront. The United States Supreme Court has historically bestowed the rights of natural persons on corporate legal persons...the same rights of a person with blood in their veins...resulting in "unlimited exercise of the First Amendment and Free Speech" rights for corporations.

The stated purpose of any corporate legal person is in its charter, and does not include self-sacrifice for the common good. The corporation, a legal person by virtue of the 14th amendment and the Supreme Court ruling of 1886, can never sacrifice its purpose for the common good as can a natural person. The corporation's individual interests must always come first! The common good can never come first! To do so would violate its charter.

Immediately following the events of December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, thousands of Americans, "natural persons", flocked to Armed Forces recruitment centers, volunteering to fight for the United States. Knowing that they might be killed in the war, their act of volunteering for military duty was an act of self-sacrifice. Thousands of them were in fact sacrificed on their country's altar. Are corporations so noble?

The First Amendment to the Constitution states "...Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech...". But the Supreme Court has done just that! It has granted "freedom of speech" to legal persons with the financial power to overwhelm the free speech of "natural persons" with corporate free speech. Any fool would conclude that the "free speech" of a multi billion dollar corporation could easily drown out the free speech of a natural person. It is like listening for a kitten in a howling hurricane! The natural person's political power is limited in numerous respects. The political power of the corporate legal person is limited only by the amount of its profits and how much the corporation is willing to invest in the political process to obtain favorable legislation to its self centered purpose. How can the meager political contribution of a natural person compete with the billions in profits? Yet the Supreme Court has ruled that this corporate take-over of the political process is legal and Constitutional.

When natural persons are convicted of felonies, they loose some of their human rights. When a corporate legal person is convicted of a felony, they pay their lawyers and their fines but never loose any of these "rights" which have been bestowed by the Supreme Court. In fact recent decisions by the Court have removed all restraints on how much money corporations can pour into our political process. Corporate legal persons are in the process of creating a blizzard of political influence for policies and legislation favorable to the goals of the corporation and with little regard for the common good.

It is obvious that corporations possess advantages which no natural person could ever possess. Their advantage is a financial one and is massive.

In our form of government called the Republic, representation is of supreme value. Elected officials are required to represent their constituents in the halls of government. Corporations are made up of thousands of stock holders and employees all of whom are represented by their individual elected representatives as "natural persons". Why are those same natural persons allowed a second powerful form of representation as a collective, as a legal person, as a corporation, with only self centered goals? Those particular natural persons are being represented in two ways: first as an individual natural person, and secondly as a collective corporate legal person.

The conclusion of any thinking natural person would be that those same natural persons who are stock holders and employees have a disproportional financial advantage in representation. The corporations of which they are a part make a two-pronged attack: contributions to political campaigns, and full time lobbyists in the Legislative branch of the government...all gifts of unlimited political power by the United States Supreme Court. This power of PACs and corporate money is a large and complex issue of influence peddling and needs careful scrutiny and review in an effort to return political power to the common man and for the common good. The political power of the average citizen has been stolen and buried under a mountain of money.

Corporate legal persons must be denied the same full rights of natural citizens. They do not deserve duplicate, expanded representation because their motives are parochial and their focus is never on the common good but rather is totally self-centered.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nowhere is the legacy of our U.S. corporatocracy more evident than in the "For Profit" Health Insurance systems which began to take over the industry during the Reagan Presidency.

Prior to that time Health Insurers were Not-for-Profit "Mutual Benefit" companies like the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies chartered in the 1930's, modeled after Fraternal Life Insurers and cooperatives like the Metropolitan and New York Life insurance companies. They, like Not-for-Profit hospitals, had as their mission providing the best possible health care at the losest possible cost to their membership.

Over the past 30 years changes in Federal and State Laws have allowed these formerly Not-for-Profit Insurers to be chartered instead as For-Profit Corporations, publicly held stock companies whose charter is to maximize profit margins and return on investment to stockholders. The same phenomenon has led to For Profit Hospital conglomerates like HCA.

What has resulted are dramatic increases in the cost of health insurance/health care in the U.S., tens of millions uninsured, and our poor Health Care ranking among Industrialized nations while costing twice as much per capita.

In the 1960's - 1970's employer provided Health Insurance generally cost the employee nothing, and there was no co-pay for Doctor visits or prescriptions. That began to change slowly in the 1980's as copays were introduced, and employees of small firms were required to pay a percentage of their employer provided coverage. Today YOU are expected to sacrifice for the common good of our corporate masters and their stockholders!!