Rant #6: Corporations v Unions and Citizen’s United

Keep in mind these rants are merely my observations and attempts to apply logic to issues that I’m concerned with. I welcome any researched, peer review studies that shows my opinions to be off base at any time for due consideration. That being said:

The essential outcome of the Citizen’s United Ruling as most people on both sides of the aisle agree with is that Corporations share the same rights as sentient born human beings and that use of money equals speech in the political process. The Supreme Court has ruled it to be constitutional. Forget that the case they were ruling on had little or nothing to do with this question of corporate rights, Justice Roberts himself changed the nature of the case in order to make this ruling. So the ruling was made and it is now the law of the land. Unlike those on the right who complain that the 5-4 decision on the Affordable Care Act isn’t Constitutional and the 5 of the 9 got it wrong, we on the left accept the ruling of Citizen’s United and are working to amend the Constitution to resolve the issue. The right would appear to want to change the law and/or impeach Justice Roberts. Interesting take on how the two sides interpret things they don’t like. To continue.

Those on the right who support the ruling say that not only does this give power to the corporations, it gives power to the unions, citing that they can use their financial backing of its membership to sway elections just as much as corporations. Well, there is a problem with that analysis. It assumes that Corporations are equal to unions in terms of financial backing and the voices each institution represents from their membership (for unions the workers and for corporations the CEO and board of directors) for having a voice in the political process.

I was raised with the belief, emphasised in civics classes (which sadly most schools don’t appear to have anymore) that the basis of this nation was that the political process boiled down to one man, one vote. No matter the financial class, racial background (14th amendment and 24th amendment) sex (19th amendment) of the individual, as long as they were 18 or older (26th amendment) their votes were equal. So with Citizen’s United, even corporations enjoy the same equality as people in the public, but like Orwell points out in Animal Farm, all animals are created equal, just some animals are more equal than others.”

The facts between corporation and unions is one, their representation and how that representation affects the decision to contribute to a campaign. Corporations do not represent the workers of the companies (with a few noted exceptions) they represent the CEO and board of directors who represent the stockholders. Their sole purpose is to ensure the profitability of the corporation to pay back the investments of the stockholders. Not truly an altruistic point of view, but acceptable in a capitalist society. The wealth of these corporations are immense. It’s been estimated that thanks to the Bush tax cuts, corporations in the United States are sitting on nearly $3 trillion dollars. Now compare that to unions.

Unions represent the workers within their ranks. Leadership of the union hinges on elections of the rank and file as you would expect in a democracy. If rank and file are not happy that their leadership is providing for them what they need to live thrive and survive, they are replaced. In terms of financial assets, considering unions now only represent 11.8% of the workforce. These workers don’t always make the huge “union wages” those on the right like to cite (urban myth). Combined, a small fraction of the $3 trillion corporations have to deal with. No equality here.

And let’s get beyond the whole concept of Corporations/Unions are equal to individual voters who are not part of the union or have any say to the board of directors of corporations about how that money should be spent. I have only one vote and a small amount of money to contribute to campaigns of my choosing. How do I compare to untold millions, possibly billions that a handful of people can put up using money as “free speech” to sway public opinion in to the self interests of the corporations and not the self interests of the people who live and work, going paycheck to paycheck to provide housing, food, healthcare, education for their children, etc, etc, etc.

Citizen’s United is constitutional, The Supreme Court has ruled it that way and as shown with the Montana Case won’t even reconsider. Amending the Constitution is the only remedy to say that only sentient, flesh and blood human beings are people and that money cannot be used to give some people more rights than others. In a true democracy, all people are created equal and under no circumstances are some people more equal than others.

Hope you enjoyed this.

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