To Romney “Corporations Are People”

“Attacking people for their success,” is how Mitt Romney described the movement to increase taxes on America’s wealthiest citizens. Romney revealed even more at the es Moines Register’s “Presidential Soap Box” on opening day of the Iowa State Fair:

 

ROMNEY: “[I]f we are ultimately … 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. And there are various ways of doing that. One is we could raise taxes on people. That’s not the way – ”

Q: “Corporations! Corporations! Corporations!”

ROMNEY: “Corporations are people, my friend. We could raise taxes on – ”

Q: “No, they’re not.”

ROMNEY: “Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. … Where do you think it goes?”

Q: “It goes into their pockets.”

ROMNEY: “Whose pockets? Whose pockets? … [H]uman beings, my friend.”

 

In the blink of an eye, the Democratic National Committee turned Romney’s flippant remarks into a campaign ad:

 

And the pundits wasted no time weighing in.

Power to the Corporation! (Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, 8/13/11)

Of the corporation, by the corporation, for the corporation. We the corporation. Corporations who need corporations are the luckiest corporations in the world. Power to the corporation!

Romney may not have realized that he was articulating the same fundamental concept of the American right that Justice Antonin Scalia propounded in the Citizens United case, when the Supreme Court opened the way to Super PACs and a flood of surreptitious new donations in politics. (A former official at Bain Capital, Romney’s old private equity firm, admitted recently that he was the one who anonymously gave $1 million to a pro-Mitt Super PAC.)

But National Review thinks Dowd is unqualified to comment on Mitt’s opinion here:

Maureen Dowd and Mitt Romney (Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, 8/14/2011 )

The condescension in that last line is inadvertently hilarious. Does anyone think that Dowd understands Citizens United better than Romney does? And in fact Romney was making a different point than Scalia was–something you don’t have to be a conservative to see.

Other news outlets reported the remark, some calling it a gaffe and others discussing how Romney’s staff is now trading on the statement that corporations are people.

Romney to fairgoers: I won’t raise taxes (Tony Leys, Des Moines Register, 8/11/11)

Mitt Romney touted his job-creation credentials, ripped on President Obama and sparred with hecklers this morning at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

The most dramatic moments of the Republican presidential candidate’s appearance at the Des Moines Register’s Soap Box came when a handful of audience members shouted angry questions about how he intended to protect social programs without increasing taxes paid by wealthy Americans.

Romney added that he found it “pretty astonishing that the Obama folks would try and argue that businesses aren’t people.

“What do they think they are little men from Mars? Businesses are comprised of people.”

Corporations Should Pay More Taxes (Cara Palmer, NeonTommy.com, 8/14/11)

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney sparked controversy with his statement earlier this week suggesting “corporations are people.”

Legally, that statement is true. The Supreme Court ruled in the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company that corporations share with people the same protections under the Fourteenth Amendment. However, his defense of his statement involves the logic that a corporation is considered a person because a corporation is comprised of individual people – a defense that does not follow the ruling, in which a corporation as an entity is presented as a person in and of itself. His inaccurate defense aside, Romney’s initial statement gives rise to a question.

If Mitt Romney believes that corporations are equivalent to people, why does he not support forcing corporations to pay their fair share of taxes?

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3 Responses to “To Romney “Corporations Are People””

  1. Even as a so-called liberal I don’t think Romney was commenting on Citizen’s United. He was talking in economic terms that corporations have people in them who are in the flow of money. I, Warren Buffet, and any rational thinking person should disagree with Romney’s opposition to taxing the super rich. And Romney and every politician should be forced to take a clear stand in words and actions on eliminating corporate personhood.

    Corporate personhood, taxing the super rich, and a balanced budget that maintains basic life supporting services for US citizens should be the 3 defining issues in 2012. The degree to which we stick to these issues will be a measure of how serious we are about our country’s survival.

  2. Even as a so-called liberal I don’t think Romney was commenting on Citizen’s United. He was talking in economic terms that corporations have people in them who are in the flow of money. I, Warren Buffet, and any rational thinking person should disagree with Romney’s opposition to taxing the super rich. And Romney and every politician should be forced to take a clear stand in words and actions on eliminating corporate personhood.

    Corporate personhood, taxing the super rich, and a balanced budget that maintains basic life supporting services for US citizens should be the 3 defining issues in 2012. The degree to which we stick to these issues will be a measure of how serious we are about our country’s survival.

  3. Even as a so-called liberal I don’t think Romney was commenting on Citizen’s United. He was talking in economic terms that corporations have people in them who are in the flow of money. I, Warren Buffet, and any rational thinking person should disagree with Romney’s opposition to taxing the super rich. And Romney and every politician should be forced to take a clear stand in words and actions on eliminating corporate personhood.

    Corporate personhood, taxing the super rich, and a balanced budget that maintains basic life supporting services for US citizens should be the 3 defining issues in 2012. The degree to which we stick to these issues will be a measure of how serious we are about our country’s survival.