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Posted at 07:06 PM ET, 08/12/2011

Corporations are people, too


Mitt Romney, surrounded by corporations. (Jim Cole)
Mitt Romney is right that “corporations are people, my friend.”

Really, they’re functionally indistinguishable. Most of my best friends are corporations. Whenever I have barbecues, they come over in large bodies. “Thanks for the invite,” they say. “All anyone invites us on these days are tax hikes.”

Amtrak, who for years I thought was a Palin child, visits often but sometimes very, very slowly after suffering mysterious electrical difficulties. Bose picks out some good music with a crisp, clear sound.

It’s easy to get confused. They sound like people. They have names like people — at any rate like people nowadays. In fact, their names are more normal than the names of most rock star progeny.

The Supreme Court often makes the same mistake. In the eyes of the law, corporations are just people with better logo design. “We the corporations of the United States,” is how the strictest constructionists read the Constitution’s preamble.

Guns don’t kill people, I am told. Corporations kill people. At least this is how it seems to Mitt Romney. “I can say definitively that corporations are people,” he adds, “because they often approach me, embrace me warmly, and hand me wads of money. That is something humans do also. It is what separates us from apes.”

Maybe he’s right. Corporations are made up, by and large, of people. Some of those people are insanely, absurdly wealthy, and instead of trickling the money back to us like Ronald Reagan told them to, they are hoarding it in the form of bullion or constructing an elaborate series of origami cranes with it. But never mind that! After all, many of them are people like you and me and Steve down the hall. And even those fat cats up top are people, or used to be before they got those costly cyborg implants.

We love small business, in theory. But many of these businesses are not small by choice. John Steinbeck said: “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

And when we cease being embarrassed, sometimes we form corporations.

At least that’s what Marriott told me at my last garden party.

Like people, they make mistakes, grow old and die, and sometimes they invest a lot of money in stupid things like Jersey Shore cast-members’ books. If you see them in a certain light, like by the light of burning piles of money, they can appear quite beautiful.

Yes, they’re people just like us. Except Foxconn. Foxconn is robots.  

By  |  07:06 PM ET, 08/12/2011

 
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