Letter: Campaign finance ruling was wrongAre we a democracy of the people or of the corporations? Our nation’s founders would be outraged to hear the Supreme Court’s ruling to rewrite the First Amendment in a way that gives corporations a huge in to influence elections and public policy.
By: Darwin Dyce, Ghent, Worthington Daily Globe
Are we a democracy of the people or of the corporations? Our nation’s founders would be outraged to hear the Supreme Court’s ruling to rewrite the First Amendment in a way that gives corporations a huge in to influence elections and public policy.
With this new ruling, corporations can use their enormous wealth to stop any elected official or candidate dead in their tracks if they oppose their agenda. This applies to unions, too, although they have far less money to throw around.
The “winning” argument was that corporations are entitled to the same free speech as individuals. The last time I looked corporations exist as corporate entities, not people. Their agenda is to grow, keep the profits coming and guarantee shareholder profits. These goals are not all bad, but when they are pursued with an intensity that ignores their role in contributing to a healthy community, problems do arise.
For example, 50 years ago corporate taxes accounted for nearly 22 percent of the Federal treasury receipts. Today it is less than 13 percent of the Federal budget, thanks to preferential treatment and tax credits. What does the Government Accounting Office say in a 2008 report? Large corporations, 25 percent of them, paid no Federal income taxes in 2005, even with reported sales that exceeded $1.1 trillion. You and I make up the loss for basic things like roads, bridges and education, and health care takes a hit.
Let’s see, rights of the individual vs. rights of the corporation? When an individual steals or murders, they are sent to prison. What happens when corporations engage in fraudulent financial statements, dishonest banking schemes or ignore the impact of deadly environmental practices? Seldom are their consequences in proportion to the individual citizen who breaks the law. The same companies that opposed banking regulations opposed addressing global climate change — and opposed health care access for the 46 million people who cannot afford insurance — now have even more power.
Regardless of your political inclination — left, right, center or apathetic — this is no time to sit and warm the bench. Find your voice.