Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Thought" du jour - 13 August 2011

"Corporations are people." - Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney has been accused of being a serial flip-flopper, a man with no core idealogical principles. He instituted a form of public health care as Governor of Massachusetts, and now mercilessly attacks what he calls "Obamacare", which is essentially the same idea. He was once pro-abortion; he now claims to be vehemently anti-abortion. And on, and on...

Romney does have a core, guiding principle, however, and it's summed up in his most recent gaffe, which he made in response to some pointed questioning by a voter in Iowa this past week. No matter how much he tries to spin it now, his remark - "corporations are people" - underlines what Mitt Romney truly believes in: big business. He does his best to hide it, or to explain it away, because it's out of tune with what the prevailing mood within the grassroots of the Republican Party (and the prevailing mood of the United States in general at the moment), but given who he is, and what he's done, it's clear that this fealty to corporate America is the one defining principle that guides everything that Mitt Romney does. This makes him the perfect, traditional pro-business Republican, in a year when being a perfect, traditional pro-business Republican is like having a scarlett "A" sewn on your shirt.

The thing is, Romney is right, at least in the purely in the legal sense, because the law does define corporations as people, which is what I'm sure he was thinking of in that moment when he gave his answer to the voter in Iowa.

A real American.
But no matter what the law says, corporations are not people. Corporations don't have to struggle to put food on the table for their families, corporations don't face the prospect of losing their homes, and corporations don't wind up on the streets of America's cities, a permanent underclass of the disenfranchised and hopeless.

America's economic troubles aren't the result of run-away government spending, or socialism, or any of the other straw-men that Republicans (and more than a few Democrats) have put forward as the culprit. They also aren't a minor speed-bump on the march of never-ending progress and wealth. They are systemic, the result of a corporatist political culture that has caved in to big business, and has pushed forward over thirty years of deregulation in the name of ever-increasing profits, at the expense of the middle and working classes. In other words, at the expense of the American people.

If modern corporate America were a person, the diagnosis would be a terminal illness.  Romney might tell voters that the disease can be cured, and that he's the man to do it, but it's a placebo. All that someone like him will do is prolong the suffering a bit longer.

It's time for the real people of America to pull the plug.

Paul Kimball

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