Letter | If corporations are people, why can’t people enjoy the advantages of corporations?

08/10/2014 12:00 AM

08/08/2014 5:30 PM

Yeah! I'm a corporation!

Too many people have been critical of the recent Supreme Court ruling that declared "corporations are people," when they should have been celebrating. Look on the bright side. If corporations are people, logically then, people are corporations. So just as corporations are entitled to the same rights of individuals, such as free speech (spending lots of money to buy political access) and religious beliefs (denying benefits to their workers), people now are entitled to the same rights of corporations.

Surely our Supreme Court would not uphold laws that discriminate among "people." So let's start exercising our newly gained corporate rights such as:

Limited liability — Just as corporations are liable only for the amount of their investments, now people enjoy that same entitlement. Warning, do not use your own money, use other's money. Take a page from Mitt Romney's path to wealth: Buy or take over other businesses, confiscate all the assets, spend the money for personal use or for another venture and then file bankruptcy for that business. Repeat this again and again.

TARP Funds — Think big. Come up with a Ponzi scheme too big to fail. Remember the mortgage default swap scheme resulted in Uncle Sam providing $700 billion interest free Troubled Asset Relief Funds in 2008. Look what these corporations received, Citigroup ($280 billion), Bank of America ($142.2 billion), and AIG ($180 billion). Don't be greedy; after all, even $25 billion invested at 4 percent yearly interest yields $100 million dollars a year.

Inversion — Before people were corporations they were subject to a U.S. tax on their income if they moved overseas outside American jurisdiction. This is not required of a corporation (and now people). Using this legal maneuver of inversion, corporations/people declare their U.S. operations are owned by its foreign subsidiary, not the other way around, and use this role reversal to shift reported profits out of American jurisdiction to someplace with a lower tax rate. All this maneuvering is done on paper as corporations do not move any more of its operations overseas. This inversion maneuver not only frees people/corporations of a U.S. tax on income but also allows them still to enjoy the benefits of US citizenship, such as our courts, patent system, highways, bridges, airports, electricity, water, etc.

Many of you may consider using these newly acquired corporate benefits as un-American. To help assuage any guilt feelings, always remember what Leona Helmsley said: "Only little people pay taxes." Also look to big corporations for examples to follow, such as JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs; both earned $1 billion in fees the last three years advising and persuading American companies to move the address of their headquarters overseas to avoid the U.S. income tax, while their CEOs proclaimed "I love America" and "Investing in America still produces the best return."

Above all else, talk about "character" only when you are referring to the unemployed, the poor and homeless. After all, everyone knows they lack the necessary ethics for success, i.e. character, honesty and drive to improve their economic status.

Perhaps John Steinbeck summed it up best with the following line from "Cannery Row, "It has always seemed strange to me," said Doc, "The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success."

The writer lives in Myrtle Beach

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