Published on
SeaCoast Online (New Hampshire)

If Corporations Are People, Then...

Don Cavallaro

Pondering corporate personhood can make your head swim. Based on the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, corporations now have unlimited free speech rights, the same as human beings do. What has been bothering me is that in certain areas, humans have a few more rules to follow than corporations. If you are a man, you have more rules still. Take the Selective Service, for example. If you are a guy, you have to register by age 18 or you are not eligible to receive government training, a government job or eligibility for a student loan. Perhaps all male corporations should sign up with the Selective Service to be eligible for government contracts, research grants or guaranteed loans.

This brings me to the gender issue.

If corporations are the same gender and they want to merge, would that be prohibited in states that don't recognize civil unions? Recently, one presidential candidate even seems to be worried about three or more corporations merging. Would mergers between a male and female corporation be considered marriage? If you sue a corporation into bankruptcy, should that now be considered murder? If you sign paperwork to form your corporation and the financing falls through, is that a miscarriage? When humans get sick, they see a doctor or go to the hospital. When corporations get sick, they see a lawyer or go off shore. Whereas cloning humans is illegal, cloning corporations can just be considered franchising. Corporations can also split like amoebas or merge like pieces of clay, which are abilities that humans do not possess.

The tax code gets confusing also. If corporations are "people," then why don't they use our human tax tables? Unless they are married (merged) or head of household, I'd think that they should pay at the single rate. There should be no "corporate" tax rate, since they are just like the rest of us. I don't dare to think of the tax write-offs, but perhaps the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) rule that some have to follow would be appropriate. When corporations can't exempt themselves from the AMT, they pay at a rate lower than many humans do, and that is after they file for the foreign tax credit, if they can. It does seem a bit unpatriotic to be willing to pay other countries' taxes and then complain about ones in the country that you call home. We human beings are paying for the roads that the company trucks are driving on, among other perks that some corporations get for free.

Another great thing about being a corporate person is that, in some cases, you don't even have to be "born" here to be considered a domestic corporation. As long as you set up shop in Delaware or Nevada, you can be recognized as domestic versus being considered foreign in any other state. It begs the question: If undocumented immigrants got together and incorporated themselves, would they be allowed to stay? If they were corporate people, it seems like the answer would be yes.

What makes me a bit nervous is that the corporate people may now start demanding unlimited Second Amendment rights. Some of those people can easily afford their own fighter jets, tanks, ships, cruise missiles and a well-armed militia to protect themselves with. I suppose the increased firepower would provide great incentive for paying our bills on time. One of their unmanned drones could even follow you to the bank perhaps.

We'll have to wait and see what the future brings. As long as Amendments 15, 19 and 26 are still in effect, there still may be hope for our democracy. Maybe someday, a corporation will even be elected president; as long as "it" can show a valid birth certificate and that it is at least 35 years old. The presidential seal could even be customized with the "person's" logo.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.

Don Cavallaro is a resident of Rye, New Hampshire.

Share This Article

More in: