Shiny Happy Corporate People

Here’s the paradox in this whole concept of “corporate personhood.” When it comes to rights, Republicans say corporations are people. But when it comes to the responsibilities of personhood — like paying taxes, being sued for negligence or criminal manslaughter, that sort of thing — their response is “Are you crazy? We’re talking about corporations here, not people.”…

Corporations are the kind of people who get to say whatever they want to whomever they want – unless they don’t want to say anything. People like you and me might not be allowed to collect data on our neighbors and then use it to sell them stuff. And people like you and me would get our butts sued if we sold you something we knew could hurt or kill you. But apparently some people are more equal than others…

If corporations are people, they’re very special people. They’re people who, thanks to the Supreme Court and Citizens United, have the unlimited ability to express their “free speech” with billions of dollars in campaign cash and lobbying loot. Pharmaceutical companies alone have spent more than $2 billion in lobbying since 1998, while insurance companies spent $1.5 billion. When it comes to free speech, these “people” are real chatterboxes.

When it comes to corporate rights, Citizens United is your Supreme Court. Those [pro-] pharmaceutical company rulings are your Supreme Court on drugs.

All this corporate cash is creating a wave of deregulation, tax cuts, and other laws that benefit the corporate “people” and are ruining life for the flesh-and-blood kind. They’re hijacking democracy. As one of Sartre’s characters said in No Exit, “Hell is other people.”

They can’t do it alone, of course. Our corporate personages need help. And they get it — from their servants in the Republican Party, and from the many Democrats who are also eager to pitch in. It’s a good thing for the corporations that they have so many friends in Washington. In fact, it’s just like that Barbra Streisand song, isn’t it? People who need people really are the luckiest people in the world.

— Excerpted from a post by Richard (RJ) Eskow, at Campaign for America’s Future, Saturday 12 August 2011