On the video page featuring Mitt Romney’s notorious “corporations are people” comment — the one I clicked to, anyway — every comment was negative, with jokes like “Did you hear that S&P downgraded the Tea Party credit grade to KK+?” and economically illiterate whoppers like “Corporations do not help anyone except those who own them or do what they say.” It’s saddening to see ignorance and bigotry so self-righteously maintained by everyday Americans.
For Romney was right: Corporations are made of people. Those who roil with hatred for corporations, singling them out for more regulation or greater taxation, are attacking actual living, breathing people, who, as Milton Friedman pointed out, are made up of three classes of just plain folks: the owners, the shareholders, who are people; the corporation’s hired workers and managers, who are people; and served customers, that is, people who have chosen, sans duress, to buy stuff from the corporations.
Economist Steven Horwitz, writing in the Buffalo News, cited one study that estimated that “45 percent to 75 percent of the burden of a corporate tax increase is borne by workers,” and noted that, if profits fall, fewer dividends would go to stockholders.
And “stockholders” are often nothing other than workers’ retirement funds.
Yeah, soak the older people. That should make corporation-haters feel good.
Setting aside “some other people” to hate is exactly what anti-corporatists are doing. It’s bigotry. And it’s ugly . . . and de-humanizing.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.