Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Election Forecast 2015 - Opinion Polls Trending Towards Conservative Outright Win - Nadeem_Walayat
2.UK Solar Eclipse - End Time Sign, Judgement Day, Doomsday! - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Gold And Silver - When Will Precious Metals Rally? Not In 2015 - Michael_Noonan
4.Preparing for the Next Stocks Bear Market - Forecast 2015-2016 - Gary_Savage
5.Is a Stock Market Crash Imminent? - David Eifrig
6.Gold Price Slumps as US Dollar Soars, What's Next? - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Dollar Forex Pairs and Gold Chartology - Rambus_Chartology
8.Election Forecast 2015: The Day Labour Lost the General Election - Nadeem_Walayat
9.The ECB Should End QE Next Month - EconMatters
10.Silver Price Poised to Surge - Zeal_LLC
Last 5 days
Is the U.S. Headed for a Recession? - 1st Apr 15
Did The Fed Just Admit to Deep Uncertainty About Our Financial Security In Retirement? - 1st Apr 15
Gold Price Flat In Quarter In Dollars But 5% Higher In Pounds - 1st Apr 15
Financial Market Extremes: Expect Consequences - 1st Apr 15
Iceland Ponders Radical Banking Plan to Eliminate Fractional Reserve Lending - 1st Apr 15
How Traded Options Can Power a 300%-Plus Gain on Twitter - 1st Apr 15
You Can’t Afford Not to Invest in This Latest Yesla Technology - 1st Apr 15
Election Forecast 2015 - Coalition Economic Recovery vs Labour Collapse - 1st Apr 15
Bitcoin Price Down Move Still in the Cards - 31st Mar 15
No Body Understands Debt - Living in a Free-Lunch World - 31st Mar 15
Will Gold Win Out Against the US Dollar? - 31st Mar 15
Middle East Balance of Power Matures - 31st Mar 15
Ed Miliband Debate Election 2015 Analysis - Labour Spending, Debt and Economic Collapse - 31st Mar 15
Gold and Misery, Strange Bedfellows - 31st Mar 15
Why are Interest Rates So Low? Ben Bernanke, Confused as Ever, Starts His Own Blog to Prove It - 31st Mar 15
Don’t Celebrate the U.S. Housing Market Recovery Yet - 30th Mar 15
A Middle East Nuclear Holocaust - 30th Mar 15
Peak Gold? – Goldman Sachs Research Warns of Peak Gold Production - 30th Mar 15
With Yemen Burning, Arab Spring II Is Underway - 30th Mar 15
No FED Bets From the BIS - 30th Mar 15
Election Forecast 2015 - Debates Boost Labour Into Opinion Polls Seats Lead - 30th Mar 15
Economic Recovery, Geopolitics and Detergents - 30th Mar 15
U.S. Dollar, Commodities and the Gold Miners GDXJ ETF Analysis - 30th Mar 15
Stock Market Short-term Downtrend - 30th Mar 15
David Cameron Election 2015 Debate Facts Check - Employment, Immigration, Debt & Deficit - 29th Mar 15
Stock Market About Ready to Crash! - 29th Mar 15
Reflections in a Golden Eye - Gold Market Rejection, Repatriation and Redemption - 28th Mar 15
Stock Market Inflection Point - 28th Mar 15
Gold And Silver - What Moved Price? Bab el-Mandeb And Uranus Square Pluto. What?! - 28th Mar 15
Stock Market Investment Parachutes; Do You Have Yours? - 28th Mar 15
Peak Gold Misunderstanding, is Gold About to Run Out? - 28th Mar 15
Deflation Watch: Key U.S. Economic Measures Turn South - 27th Mar 15
The Hard-Earned Truth About Recreational Real Estate - 27th Mar 15
Bitcoin Price Still in Important Territory - 27th Mar 15
Stocks Bear Market Conditions - Index Market Range Warning - 27th Mar 15
BEA Leaves Q4 2014 U.S. GDP Growth Essentially Unchanged at 2.22% - 27th Mar 15
Brazil Economy Victim of Vulgar Keynesianism - 27th Mar 15
Gold to Fuel Silver Price Upleg - 27th Mar 15
Gold and Silver Stocks Will Rise Again! - 27th Mar 15
Risk of ‘World War’ between NATO and Russia on Ukraine as Yemen Bombed - 27th Mar 15
FOMC Minutes Turned The Gold Tide - 27th Mar 15
Sheffield Hallam Election Battle 2015 - Lib Dems Go to War Whilst Labour Sleeps - 27th Mar 15
Gold Effect On Mining & Shale Wasteland - 27th Mar 15
How Stock Investors Should Play the 2016 Presidential Race - 26th Mar 15
MidEast Energy Alert: Why the Crisis in Yemen Could Get Ugly Very Fast - 26th Mar 15
Stock Market Downward Spiral of Dumbness - 26th Mar 15
The Monetary Approach Reigns Supreme - 26th Mar 15
Stock Market Large Gap Down, Despite the Algos' Push Back - 26th Mar 15
Crude Oil Surges, Gold price Spikes as Middle East Tensions Escalate - 26th Mar 15
The U.S. Housing Market Recovery Is Fabricated Optimism - 26th Mar 15
Why Yemen Is The Next Saudi-Iranian Battleground - 26th Mar 15
The Crude Oil Price Crash and China Economic Slow Down - 26th Mar 15
Global Financial Markets Are More Distorted Than Ever Before - 26th Mar 15
One More Stock Market Rally and Then a Huge Drop Expected - 26th Mar 15
Danger Will Robinson - Stock Market Crash Warning - 25th Mar 15
Learn the Basics of Corrective Elliott Waves - 25th Mar 15
Why CNBC Is Hazardous to Your Financial Health! - 25th Mar 15
Will Your Retirement Accounts Survive The Coming Tax Code "Revolution"? - 25th Mar 15
US Dollar - Americas Phoenix - 25th Mar 15
California’s Epic Drought: Only One Year of Water Left! - 25th Mar 15
What’s Wrong With Silver? - 25th Mar 15
SPX Futures Appear Weak. WTIC and Gold May Be at Max Retracement - 25th Mar 15
We’re at the Dawn of a “New Energy Age” - 25th Mar 15
A Very Weak U.S. Economic Recovery - 25th Mar 15
Zero UK CPI Inflation Rate Prompts Deflation Danger Propaganda For Fresh Money Printing - 25th Mar 15

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

US Economy Still on Life Support

Surpreme Court Ruling that Corporations are People Too?

Politics / US Politics Jan 22, 2010 - 10:09 AM GMT

By: Andy_Sutton

Politics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleThursday’s landmark Supreme Court decision has been called everything from proper to despicable and misguided.  Clearly in the historical realm, every nation, empire, and circumstance of human organization has clear signposts that mark first progress, then the eventual destruction of the entity. That is not meant to be melodramatic; it is simply the natural progression of societies. If you don’t agree, ask the Greeks, Romans, and British. So where does Thursday’s decision fit into America’s progression?


Framing the Discussion

Once again it becomes necessary to properly define terms and concepts since failure to do so will almost certainly result in the forthcoming analysis being misconstrued.

The establishment of the corporation as an ‘artificial person’ by the Supreme Court in 1819 was used to give the corporation (an assembly of individuals of indeterminate size) certain rights that were normally reserved for individual people or ‘natural persons’. For example, a corporation can enter into contracts, file suit, and be sued. Corporations can even be charged with and convicted of criminal offenses, although generally, criminal charges often pass through the corporate veil to members of management as well. The corporation as it were cannot commit a crime of its own volition, but only by the action or inaction of someone entrusted with making decisions for it. One right that has not been conferred to corporations is the right to physically vote in political elections, however, corporations have been able to financially support political candidates for quite some time now.

Until the mid 1800’s, the government issued all corporate charters, and the applicant had to demonstrate that what they were doing or proposing to do would be in the public interest (a novel idea). How many corporations today do you think would fail this acid test? Even in the era of the public interest doctrine as we’ll call it, there were many folks including Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller who sought to skirt the public-interest doctrine by organizing as limited partnerships or Trusts.

The Issue

At issue for the Supreme Court to decide was a 20-year old ban on corporations and labor unions providing money for campaign advertising. The Supremes took it a step further and also struck down part of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law that banned corporate and union-paid ads in the closing weeks of political campaigns. While on the surface, this looks like a victory for the First Amendment; I think it does little more than pave the way for corporations to buy even more politicians; and to do so under the protection of the law.

The entire issue comes down to the corporation as a person. Is the corporation entitled to all the same rights as a natural person? The very fact that the Supreme Court in 1819 designated corporations as artificial persons rather than natural ones indicates that they are not. Keep in mind that the spirit of corporate law is largely centered on limited liability, not enabling the corporation to wield disproportionate power in the political process (which arguably was already happening anyway). Take our largest corporations, with billions of dollars in quarterly profits.

They are generally controlled by a Board of Directors and major shareholders; the number of which is comparable to those in attendance at a typical Little League baseball game. It is naïve to think that the American people can muster as much financial influence in Washington as even one large company, let alone all of them. The bottom line here is that a corporation is a creation of man and is not entitled to all of the same rights that are imbued in us by God. The framers of the Constitution, following along this line of reasoning, focused the founding documents on individual liberties rather than commercial ones.

Detractors of this line of thinking will accuse me of being hypocritical because on one hand I urge government to get out of the affairs of business, yet on this issue I encourage it to do the opposite. To reconcile these two disparate positions, one must understand the intended purpose of government. Our government was designed to protect the rights of the individual and to prevent people from running roughshod over each other. With that in mind, it would stand to reason that government shouldn’t be telling firms the maximum amount they can pay employees. It shouldn’t be bailing those companies out when they fail either. But it certainly should be preventing companies from stampeding the American people by making the electoral and legislative processes available to the highest bidder.

In conclusion, it is my opinion that what happened yesterday was misconstrued as being a First Amendment issue when it really is an issue of equal protection. Granted, groups like the NRA and other issue-specific groups have been shut out of certain political advertising in the days leading up to elections. That is wrong because those groups are speaking (hopefully) on behalf of their members as a cooperative. A corporation really can’t make that claim at the same level. The White House immediately issued a statement decrying the ruling, and although I agree in this instance, it must be pointed out that every single President in the corporate era has gotten money from corporations for their campaigns. That generalization can be extended to nearly every other political office in the country as well. The bottom line is that this activity was already going on anyway, but now the way has been paved for it to accelerate and increase in magnitude.

Yesterday’s ruling will allow corporations to dump unlimited funds into the coffers of political candidates and overtly buy the legislative process, using the government as a tool to enrich corporate bosses. It is easy to see why the power elite who controls the major corporations was most dissatisfied with the public interest doctrine in place in the 1800s. They greatly prefer that their companies be held to the doctrine of shareholder interest since any action that increases shareholder value is deemed appropriate and acceptable even if it encroaches on the rights of other citizens. Make no mistake about it; the government has already largely been purchased by the highest bidder. Yesterday’s decision legitimizes this previous illegitimate activity and gives the green light to a complete takeover of our government by large corporations.

I’d like to close with two quotations by Thomas Jefferson:

“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”

“I have the consolation of having added nothing to my private fortune during my public service, and of retiring with hands clean as they are empty.”

By Andy Sutton
http://www.my2centsonline.com

Andy Sutton holds a MBA with Honors in Economics from Moravian College and is a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon International Honor Society in Economics. His firm, Sutton & Associates, LLC currently provides financial planning services to a growing book of clients using a conservative approach aimed at accumulating high quality, income producing assets while providing protection against a falling dollar. For more information visit www.suttonfinance.net

Andy Sutton Archive

© 2005-2015 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014