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rant

Today from SCOTUS...

restrictions on political campaign contributions from corporations are an un-Constitutional infringement of free speech. Corporations can now spend as much money as they want on partisan political campaigns. The rest of us might as well go home.

I'm curious how they justify that "spending money" is protected free speech, but "voting" and "running for office" aren't. Or will tomorrow's ruling be that corporations can vote and run for office too?


On second thought, the ruling as I've heard it described "erases the distinction between corporations and individuals" for purposes of campaign contributions. Which leaves open the possibility that limits on the amount of contributions are still Constitutional. If an individual can contribute $2000, and a corporation can contribute $2000, I'm not so worried.

On third thought, it's pretty easy to create a shell corporation. How many corporations would I have to create, each donating $2000 to my favorite political candidate, to buy the election and the candidate?
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The legal fiction that corporations are "persons" contributes to a number of ills these days. It was a bad idea but I'm at a loss as to what might be done about it. Maybe I'll ask my local Constitution buff.
If a company owns a significant portion of our GDP, shouldn't they have at least that much say in the direction of our nation? Low and middle-income people are morons; I don't see why they should have a say at all. If you want your voice heard, go to school and work your way up the corporate ladder, bitches.
If a company owns a significant portion of our GDP, it probably has a lot of employees, most of whom already have the right to donate to political campaigns. If it has only a few employees, they're probably obscenely rich, and therefore already have the right and the ability to donate significantly to political campaigns. Why does the corporation need to be able to donate too?

And who decides on corporate contributions? Upper management, with a bit of input from shareholders (occasionally) or employees (rarely). So a company in which you own stock might well be taking money that they would otherwise have paid you in dividends, and donating it to candidates you strongly oppose, to influence them to do things that are contrary to your interests. Likewise, a company you work for might well donate money to candidates who will favor management over labor, then say they can't give you a raise because they spent too much money lobbying against your interests.

When an ordinary individual donates to a political campaign, it's usually because the donor agrees with the candidate on what's best for the city, the state, or the country. But when a corporation or a Big Player individual donates large amounts to a political campaign, it's usually because the donor expects to get something specific in return: blocking a law that the donor doesn't like, writing a law in a way the donor likes, government contracts, or something like that. For individuals, that's generally considered tacky if not downright illegal. But existing corporate law (as osewalrus points out) says that corporate money cannot be used for a political campaign except to further the corporation's business interests -- just doing what's in the public interest isn't good enough. In other words, where individual donations are often based on opinions about the public interest, corporate money is required to be self-serving and verging on bribery.
I have a problem with your use of the qualifier "obscenely." This underlying class-warrior sentiment taints everything else you're saying and proves you're simply out for blood against the rich. If you have a problem with the rich, stop being poor. Go to school or start a business. Your Marxist bullshit sickens me.

That being said, you have no right to decide on where money goes in a business; the shareholders and management have that right alone. If an employee wants a say, they can buy stock or work their way to the top. Nothing is holding them back. And let's be honest: the sneaking around bullshit people do for political campaigns is just another way of getting candidates money they're going to get one way or another anyway.

And one more thing: No company is going to donate money to a political campaign out of the goodness of their hearts. The law specifying it must serve the company's interests is so that companies can't donate money for public relations purposes. If one company's competitive advantage is affected solely by their political contributions, I can see how that's unfair to their competition.
I have a problem with your use of the qualifier "obscenely."
This underlying class-warrior sentiment taints everything else you're saying and proves you're simply out for blood against the rich.


You have a point; I could have simply said "extremely rich" instead and reached the same conclusion without the value judgment. And I'm not suggesting that poor and middle-class people are too moral to want to bribe officials for special treatment, only that they can't afford it so their donations are necessarily to candidates they "generally agree with" rather than candidates they plan to ask for favors.

If you have a problem with the rich, stop being poor. Go to school or start a business.

Actually, I have a Ph.D. from a respected school, and I think I'm in the top 10% income bracket in the U.S. We're talking about people who earn more in a month than I'll earn in my lifetime. It's hard to believe that anybody can be "worth" that much, in the sense that they produce that much value-added to their company or the economy. As I've argued elsewhere, part of the reason they can get paid that much is because the people making the pay decisions are other top executives who have a vested interest in executive compensation being high.

Your Marxist bullshit sickens me.

You don't have to agree with me, in my blog or anywhere else, but in my blog you do have to be civil.

That being said, you have no right to decide on where money goes in a business; the shareholders and management have that right alone.

True, but why? Is there some fundamental reason for that? Is it the Word of God, or is it just the way managers have arranged it?

And do most shareholders actually have a say? Not really: not only has the legal climate been shifting power from shareholders to management, but top managers tend to also hold large amounts of voting stock, and control the proxies of all the uninvolved shareholders, so they can outvote almost any shareholder revolt.

If an employee wants a say, they can buy stock or work their way to the top. Nothing is holding them back.

As I suggested above, one of the things "holding them back" might possibly be their own upper management bribing public officials to favor management over labor in any dispute. And, particularly galling, paying said bribes using money that could otherwise have gone into dividends and/or salaries. (This isn't hypothetical: a CEO I used to work for used company money to bribe his trustees to raise his salary, and then used more company money to defend himself against legal charges that he was embezzling company money.) No salary, no money to buy stock. Harsh working conditions, no time to go to school and work their way up.

And let's be honest: the sneaking around bullshit people do for political campaigns is just another way of getting candidates money they're going to get one way or another anyway.

People work for whomever pays them. If "public" officials are paid mostly by the public, they'll do what the public wants. If they're paid mostly by a few individuals or corporations, they'll do what those individuals and corporations want, using the power of the State to favor those individuals over everybody else. Nothing we can do will completely isolate officials from the influence of private money, but economics tells us that things that are difficult or expensive to do tend to be done less. So let's make bribery more difficult and more expensive.

And one more thing: No company is going to donate money to a political campaign out of the goodness of their hearts.

Of course not, and I wouldn't expect it to. The point is simply that a corporation's motives for donating money are necessarily more self-serving than an average individual's motives, and therefore that it's more in the public interest to allow individual donations than to allow corporate donations.
Speaking for myself, when I heard that on the news I was so furious I had to turn it off. My biggest issues are fairly simple.

Corporations are not the same as people, and should not be treated the same by the law.

Contributing money is not the same as free speech.