Thursday, June 28, 2012
16695--Are You Asking the Wrong Questions?
"They seek him here. They seek him there. Those Frenchies seek him everywhere. Is he in Heaven or is he in Hell? That damned elusive Pimpernel!" -- Sir Perceval Blakeney, Baronet
Humans tend toward curiosity. If somebody's asking the question "What the Hell is that?" it's probably a human. Combine that curiosity with the fact that most are born ignorant (allowing exceptions for the occasional wunderkind--just ask the parents, they'll be happy to show you how special their little prize is), most of us go through Life seeking answers. The problem is that you can seek answers but you can't find them so easily if you ask the wrong questions. You certainly won't have either handed to you if they're being obscured. That brings us to...law and politics.
I'm thinking about the US Supreme Court's recent ruling regarding a corporate entity's right to make monetary contributions to influence politics. This means that we should brace ourselves for an onslaught of political campaign ads fueled by hundreds of millions of dollars of contributions. Most of them will probably be geared toward telling us how bad the economy is. That sort of thing happens when you put money into the hands of politicians instead of people who work for it and actually care how it gets spent.
Why do I care what happens with all these corporate funds? Why do I care if corporations give truckloads of cash to politicians who will continue giving them tax breaks so that they can give them more money? Don't I know by now what happens to people who ask too many questions? I know, that brings us to law and politics.
Follow along: Who is on first, What is on...Wait, wrong routine. This one's even sillier. Corporations have a special status, existing as a created thing that can be treated as an individual by the law. This has been important in business because it allows a corporation to employ individuals, own assets, be party to contracts and court proceedings, etc. For all those magical actions a corporation might take, though, it still has a specific limitation that distinguishes between it being person or property.
Here's the thing: a corporation has no right to vote. Absent that, it lacks the rights of a citizen, possessing only those given it. Property can't vote. What a novel concept. Even a legal entity that isn't a citizen can't vote. How about that? If corporations haven't been granted the right to vote, then there's a history of specific intention to bar corporations from wielding political influence, so why enable them to do it financially?
Through both the record of enforcement inaction by the Federal Election Commission and the Supreme Court's decision to allow corporations to throw unlimited amounts of money at politicians, who are basically whores and money addicts, they may as well just hand the controls over to the Federal Reserve Board and head home. Face it, politicians haven't cared about what their constituents want or need for a long time. I think it started shortly after they realized that somebody else could get them their fix and they didn't have to be bothered with us anymore to get it.
You've been outbid and unless you've got a couple of extra billion to throw into the mix, don't expect to have any better success at getting your "elected" representative's attention anytime soon.
"Every special interest is entitled to justice--full, fair and complete...but not one is entitled to a vote in Congress, to a voice on the bench or to representation in any public office. The Constitution guarantees protection to property and we must make that promise good. But it does not give the right of suffrage to any corporation."
I know, he ended up in the pocket of foreign bankers, too, but it's still a good quote.