Moral Low Ground

Economy

Mitt Romney: “Corporations are People”

Hours before last evening’s televised Republican presidential debate, GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney appeared at the Iowa State Fair where he addressed a crowd on a variety of subjects including how to balance the budget and still provide social services like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Whether intentionally or not, Romney let slip three little words that provide telling insight into the conservative mindset.

“For the coming decades going to be able to balance our budget and not spend more than we take in, we have to make sure that the promises we make in Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are promises we can keep,” he said. “There are various ways doing that. One is we can raise taxes on people…”

At this point, Romney is interrupted by various people in the audience who yell out “Corporations!”

“Corporations are people, my friend,” Romney retorts.

When someone argues that, saying “no, they’re not,” Romney doubles down: “Of course they are.”

He then offers this pathetic explanation: “What corporations earn go to people. Where do you think it goes?”

“In their pocket,” someone says.

“Whose pocket? Whose pocket? People’s pocket. OK. Human beings, my friend.”

Never mind that corporations cannot vote, cannot be sent to prison and do not have hearts or brains (okay, neither do some of our politicians); technically, Romney is somewhat correct. You see, the United States Supreme Court, in its jaw-dropping 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, ruled that corporations are indeed people and that money is free speech, and as such, corporations are entitled to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence the outcome of American elections. Meanwhile, ordinary citizens like you and I are limited to $2,400 donations.

Romney is also correct in that the profits reaped by corporations go into people’s pocket. The people who run the corporations, that is.

Romney may be correct, but he is far from right.

This is the first time that I am aware of that a presidential candidate has publicly embraced the dubious notion of corporate personhood. There was a time in this country when such belief would result in public scorn and abandonment. It remains to be seen how ordinary, flesh-and-blood Americans will respond to Romney’s heartless defense of heartless– literally– corporations.

You’ve been warned– a vote for Romney means a vote for a man who is delusional enough to believe that corporations pass their (record) earnings on to the American people.

You can bet that “the people” will be fully supportive of Romney’s presidential bid, and by “the people,” I mean corporations.

 

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