While it’s been said by many people, it was during the 2012 presidential election when Mitt Romney made the phrase “corporations are people” extremely well known. Most liberals find this notion completely preposterous. The fact that an entity is given the same rights as a human being should be something everyone opposes. Especially when you consider the fact that corporations are offered protections that normal individuals are not.
Jon Stewart pointed that out perfectly last night when he discussed GM using loopholes in their bankruptcy agreement to avoid facing criminal liability concerning the fact that they knew millions of their cars had a safety defect yet did nothing, which resulted in 13 deaths.
Stewart noted that the part involved in the recall cost a whopping 57 cents. He mocked GM by saying, “You could have found at least that much in the seats of the cars you’re fixing.”
He then concluded by saying, “Not only are corporations people, they’ve got some sort of weird mutant power that allows them to dodge the consequences of their actions.”
Which is sadly true – and absolutely ridiculous.
These companies almost entirely escape any form of criminal prosecution whenever they’re responsible for some horrific act. Oil spill in the gulf? Nobody goes to jail. Chemical plant spills deadly chemicals into the water supply of hundreds of thousands of people? Nobody will go to jail. Numerous companies (and individuals) responsible for the worst economic collapse in nearly a century? Nope, no jail that time either.
Corporations want to be given the same rights as people – that is until they they’re caught doing something that an ordinary citizen would face jail time for, then suddenly they hide behind the shield of being a corporation or LLC.
Essentially, they have the best of both worlds.
They have a Supreme Court (well, at least the 5 conservative justices on that court) that continues to grant them the rights of ordinary citizens, yet a legal system that almost completely protects the individuals in charge of these corporations from legal prosecution (as an ordinary citizen would face) whenever they’re responsible for some kind of criminal activity.
I’m just glad Jon Stewart took and a stand, and I believe we all need to be more vocal about this injustice of corporations being allowed to behave criminally while nobody is held responsible for it.