How many times have you heard “that’s how they get you” in reference to corporations? Advocates of socialism love to paint a picture of corporations as evil entities that get rich at the expense of the poor working class.
I had someone ask me about corporate person-hood—in particular, the legislation that among other things, allows corporations to donate funds to a political campaign.
I responded that corporations should be able to donate as much money as they want, since it’s their money. As long as the donated money is publicly available information, and there is no expected “behind-the-scenes” quid pro quo—meaning that it remains a donation, not a secretive payment for services rendered, then there is no reason to deem such transactions as inherently bad.
In my perfect scenario, we would get rid of corporate donations along with corporate taxes. Logic being that if they have to pay into the system, they have a right to participate in it. But, if we move to just taxing the incomes of the corporation’s employees and officers, we don’t need to tax the corporation as well, and then we make all political donations come from private individuals.
But back to my friend and his “evil corporations” thoughts.
His argument was that politicians getting large donations from corporations will act at the behest of those corporations at the expense of the American people. But let’s analyze the flaws in this argument.
The most abhorrent reason to me is that they assert corporations are the archenemy of the electorate as if it’s unquestionable fact. While Michael Moore and other self-described socialists would have you believe that corporations are evil, it’s simply not true. They have a highly-vested interest in being responsible and beneficial parts of society, because a free market, and free press guarantee they’ll be destroyed if they’re not.
My friend’s arguments are the position of people who form opinions based off of fictional idealistic utopias, not the historical data available to them. History has routinely shown that economic freedom has always done better by its people than state-run totalitarianism—the evidence is overwhelming.
Nearly every American, including many of the socialists among us, has dreamed of owning their own business or being their own boss, even if few actually achieve it. Usually, those dreams are of providing a product/service they enjoy using or doing themselves. So am I to assume that they would call themselves evil if they were to achieve their dream?
Jealousy is a powerful emotion, and it drives people to say mean, hateful, and ignorant things. What these people are saying, in effect, is, “Although I’d be a responsible business owner, I don’t believe anyone else would be.” It’s a pathetic blend of class warfare and hypocrisy to assert that you and only you would be a kind and responsible business owner.
Corporations are a group of human beings just like the rest of us who deliver a product or service in order to make a living by way of making a profit. There is nothing wrong with that, and you should be wary of anyone who thinks a corporation looking after its bottom line is “evil”.
While some corporate big-wigs might be bad people, to classify them all as evil is irresponsible and unfair. Bill Gates donates over a billion dollars to charity, and yet he ran one of the largest and most fiercely competitive corporations.
The free market is driven by competition. If a corporation didn’t do everything in its power to sell more products and gain market share, then it shouldn’t be in business. The success that comes from this creates jobs and delivers superior products for a reasonable price.
The other problem I have with this is the notion that a politician acting in the interest of a corporation must be acting against the interest of America. The two are not mutually exclusive.
For example, if legislators deregulated the auto industry by curtailing the overreach often employed by OSHA and the EPA because GM, Ford, and Chrysler lobbied them to do so, that would allow those companies to grow, beat their overseas competition, and create more jobs here in the United States. More often than not, what benefits corporate America, benefits all of America. To insinuate otherwise equates to ignorance of basic economics.
America should avoid painting corporations out to be evil. They are the backbone of economy and are inherently good. They provide virtually everything we enjoy for a far more reasonable price than we could attain if we had to build it ourselves, and they help us pay for it by providing us jobs.
If corporations are bad, the only alternative is government. The evidence we have from the former socialist Russia, Cuba, North Korea, etc. all indicate those folks have a significantly worse quality of life than you and I here in the USA.