“The government of the people, by the people, and for the people” doesn’t mention corporations. Neither does the Constitution, yet corporations now deeply influence the people’s government.
Corporations are secondary entities to economically organize and coordinate work efforts to benefit individuals and society. Good government allows businesses latitude, so that they can experiment with many avenues to increase societal wealth and well-being.
The United States approach of free markets with regulatory oversight has been largely successful, despite slow, fitful progress against inequality of opportunity and overcompensation of corporate CEOs.
Corporate Role in Elections
Corporations are not people. They do not have a limited lifespan. They can’t be sent to jail if they commit a crime. Yes, these economic constructs are composed on people, but those people already have individual rights.
“Corporations are people, too” is double-dipping on citizenship rights. Their leaders already have a vote and the means to voice their opinions. They do not merit a second scoop of citizenship rights.
Consequences for Governance
Corporations are concerned with their financial well-being as it is affected by laws, regulations, and their enforcement by the government.
- Once corporations are successful, they no longer desire competition. They desire protection of their market share.
- That desire makes them want regulations which stifles competition and enhances their market ownership.
- The markets become less free with resource allocation less efficient.
- Corporate desires are contrary to the public good.
Another political problem is that huge corporations have financial and political interests in foreign countries whose interests are not aligned with the interests of the United States.
- Corporations cannot be clearly defined as exclusively national, untainted by foreign interests.
- Financing of US political casmpaigns is being influenced by foreign money—despite the fancy footwork of accounting strategies.
Of course, corporations have legitimate concerns about the impact of government actions and need a way to make known that known. Lobbyists, although having rightfully earned a reputation as favoring their corporate sponsor over the public good, do serve a worthwhile purpose as well.
The 2010 Citizens United ruling allows corporations to give unlimited funds to US political causes. That’s wrong. It allows multinational corporations to push non-US agendas in our politics.
It’s wrong that corporations can actively participate in the political process. The country exists to promote life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of real people, not artificial associations of people.
In addition, corporations have allegiances to profits, to their stock holders, and their consumers who are not solely in the United States. Their goals are often not aligned with those of our citizens.
Earners in the top 1% of income have received 93% of the income growth since the depths of the Great Recession
Irish headquarters of Google image. Public domain. Wikimedia commons
Lobbyist image. By Coolcaesar – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63236663