Romney in Iowa: 'Corporations are people' too

From the LA Times

Reporting from Des Moines— Campaigning in Iowa on Thursday, Mitt Romney told a heckler, “Corporations are people, my friend”—words immediately seized upon by Democrats in what they termed as a possible defining statement by the presidential candidate.

Romney, speaking to a crowd of hundreds at the Iowa State Fair, was being pressed about raising taxes to help cover entitlement spending. When one mentioned raising corporate tax rates, Romney responded by saying corporations were no different than people. The line earned him a sustained round of applause from the crowd.

But the Democratic National Committee fired off emails almost immediately after the remarks, as part of a continuing effort to frame the GOP frontrunner as an out-of-touch elitist.

“This is what Mitt Romney is going to run on?” wrote DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse.

Romney is in Iowa as part of a low-key effort to garner support in advance of the Ames straw poll Saturday. The former Massachusetts governor is on the ballot, but won’t be participating in the event and isn’t expected to be among the top finishers. Still, his campaign is hoping that he’ll beat expectations.

He was warmly, if not ardently, received by the state fair crowd, baking in the August heat. And he continued to hammer President Obama on the economy, never once mentioning his fellow rivals for the Republican nomination.

“We’re being led by a fine fella, but he’s out of his depth,” Romney said. “He just doesn’t understand how the economy works.”

He had nothing to say about the debt ceiling fight, the upcoming deficit negotiations on Capitol Hill, or the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating by Standard & Poor’s.

And interestingly, while other GOP competitors such as Tim Pawlenty are here highlighting their executive experience, Romney played down his four years in office in Massachusetts, instead pointing to his work as a venture capitalist in the private sector. “Let’s send some citizens to Washington,” he said.

A small band of hecklers, positioned near the stage, continually pressed Romney on how he would protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—and quarreled with him about whether wealthy Americans should pay higher taxes.

“There was a time in this country when we didn’t attack people based on their success,” Romney said.

The exchange seemed to animate the candidate, pushing him to sharpen his rhetoric. “Barack Obama is killing this economy!” he growled.

After his brief remarks, Romney toured the fairgrounds, where just about every form of foodstuff can be found either fried, or on a stick, or both. He stopped at an old-time portrait studio and a Chinese noodle stand, telling people again and again, “I’m Mitt Romney, and I’m running for president.”

He met up with Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and the two of them proceeded to the pork tent, where they grilled sausages together. Later Thursday, Romney will participate in a debate in Ames sponsored byFox News Channel.

His campaign is bracing for the entry of Rick Perry into the race. Polls suggest Perry has the potential to endanger Romney’s frontrunner status. Perry won’t be debating Thursday, but former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a consistent antagonist on the campaign trail, will be present and is expected to target Romney in his remarks.

If a corporation is a person, does that mean it can vote? I think not

Technically, the people working in a corporation do.

As an entity, a corporation cannot cast a vote. That does not mean it does not influence politicians. :smiley:

What he said was that money earned by corporations eventually goes to people.

The laws of the United States hold that a legal entity (like a corporation or non-profit organization) shall be treated under the law as a person except when otherwise noted. This rule of construction is specified in 1 U.S.C. §1 (United States Code),[15] which states:

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise-- the words “person” and “whoever” include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals;

This federal statute has many consequences. For example, a corporation is allowed to own property and enter contracts. It can also sue and be sued and held liable under both civil and criminal law. As well, because the corporation is legally considered the “person,” individual shareholders are not legally responsible for the corporation’s debts and damages beyond their investment in the corporation. Similarly, individual employees, managers, and directors are liable for their own malfeasance or lawbreaking while acting on behalf of the corporation, but are not generally liable for the corporation’s actions. Among the most frequently discussed and controversial consequences of corporate personhood in the United States is the extension of a limited subset of the same constitutional rights.

Corporations as legal entities have always been able to perform commercial activities, similar to a person acting as a sole proprietor, such as entering into a contract or owning property. Therefore corporations have always had a ‘legal personality’ for the purposes of conducting business while shielding individual stockholders from personal liability (i.e., protecting personal assets which were not invested in the corporation).

The stronger concept of corporate personhood, in which (for example) First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights have been asserted by corporations, is often traced to the 1886 U.S. Supreme Court case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad (118 U.S. 394). In that case, before oral argument took place, writing a summary of the decision in a headnote to the Court’s opinion, court reporter Bancroft Davis stated:

“The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.”[16]


“And if we are ultimately - not only this year but in the coming decades - going to be able to balance our federal budget and not spend more than we take in we have to make sure that the promises we make in Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are promises we can keep. And there are various ways we can do that. One is we can raise taxes on people.”

At this point a fairgoer interrupted to say something about corporations.

“Corporations are people, my friend,” Romney said. “Of course they are,” he added, “everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people.”

A corporation is a legal fiction. It is a legal mechanism by which groups of people bind together in order to produce goods and services, usually with the intent to make a profit. These profits are then distributed to people, or reinvested.

When corporations are taxed, those taxes are paid by people, most notably the consumer in higher costs of the goods and services the corporation offers, because a corporate income tax is a cost of doing business, and is therefore passed on to the connsumer… But even when there is no corporate income tax, the people that make up the corporation - workers, management, shareholders - pay taxes.


Interesting article:

Romney was right: Corporations are people

I am pretty sure he was trying to say that corporations are made up of people, but not in a Soylent Green sort of way. Rather they are comprised of workers generating goods and services for customers. And when you punish corporations, you punish workers and shareholders and customers. A few additional points:

  1. Here an interesting bit from an OECD paper on taxes and economic growth
    Corporate taxes are found to be most harmful for growth, followed by personal income taxes, and then consumption taxes. … A second option is to reform corporate taxes, as they influence productivity in several ways. Evidence in this study suggests that lowering statutory corporate tax rates can lead to particularly large productivity gains in firms that are dynamic and profitable, i.e. those that can make the largest contribution to GDP growth. It also appears that corporate taxes adversely influence productivity in all firms except in young and small firms since these firms are often not very profitable. … Lower corporate and labour taxes may also encourage inbound foreign direct investment, which has been found to increase productivity of resident firms. In addition, multinational enterprises are attracted by tax systems that are stable and predictable, and which are administered in an efficient and transparent manner.
  2. And here is economist Greg Mankiw addressing the topic in his popular economics textbook:
    Many economists believe that workers and customers bear much of the burden of the corporate income tax. To see why, consider an example. Suppose that the U.S. government decides to raise the tax on the income earned by car companies. At first, this tax hurts the owners of the car companies, who receive less profit. But over time, these owners will respond to the tax. Because producing cars is less profitable, they invest less in building new car factories. Instead, they invest their wealth in other ways—for example, by buying larger houses or by building factories in other industries or other countries. With fewer car factories, the supply of cars declines, as does the demand for autoworkers. Thus, a tax on corporations making cars causes the price of cars to rise and the wages of autoworkers to fall.
    The corporate income tax shows how dangerous the flypaper theory of tax incidence can be. The corporate income tax is popular in part because it appears to be paid by rich corporations. Yet those who bear the ultimate burden of the tax—the customers and workers of corporations—are often not rich. If the true incidence of the corporate tax were more widely known, this tax might be less popular among voters.
  3. Finally, economists Kevin Hassett and Aparna Mathur on who bears the burden of corporate taxes: “The results in this paper suggest that corporate tax rates affect wage levels across countries. Higher corporate taxes lead to lower wages. A 1 percent increase in corporate tax rates is associated with nearly a 1 percent drop in wage rates.”

If corporations are people I say we draft them for military service.

No one has ever said that our legal system has to make sense to the common people.:rolleyes: Lawyers also get to use their very own language called legalese. If you don’t believe that, go read your insurance policies from top to bottom. When you wake up again, try to read the IRS code.

It was decided in the middle of the 19th century that corporations are persons, not people. It is not murder to destroy a corporation. They are artificial persons, not human beings, but they are entitled to equal protection of the law under the first, fifth and fourteenth amendments to the constitution.

It was also decided in 1857 that Dred Scott was not a person even though he clearly was a human being. He was property. That decision was overturned by a half million battlefield deaths and the ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments.

The Dred Scott decision has a lot in common with Roe v Wade that held that a fetus is not a person until he is born, although all the scientific evidence and common sense tell us that a fetus is a human being. That decision has still not been overturned despite 50,000,000 intentional killings.

In our legal system, human being, people, and a person do not have the same meanings.

They did in WWII


Now, therefore, I, WOODROW WILSON, President of the United States, under and by virtue of the powers vested in me… do hereby… take possession and assume control at 12 o’clock noon on the 28th day of December 1917 of each and every system of transportation… within the boundaries of the continental United States… (Dixon and Parmelee, 1919, p198).

Yeah, the CEO’s

Idiotic statement by Romney.
A perfect match to his stance that the unborn are NOT people.

If I may interject an opinion here…

I know what the whole point of the LA Times article was, of course, but kids, you gotta wake up to one very important, basic, pertinent fact:

The corporations are not your enemy. The politicians are.


Why choose? They’re BOTH enemies of the working poor and middle class.

It seems to me that the sense of the statement is quite clear, but a political opponent loves to nit-pick every simple idea expressed in a simple way.

“Corporations are people” says in the context of increasing taxes on corporations simply that if you adversely affect corporations, you adversely affect people.

How would one interpret this statement, especially in the context of increasing taxes…
“The Church are people”.

Hmmmmm…how would you be a working poor or middle class without employment? What about without corporate profit?

The antagonism of anarchists against profit is both puzzling and self-defeating. Profits, after all, serve as signals for where resources should be directed.

EXAMPLE: When the demand for steel increases, profits of steel producers rise, which incentives these firms to increase production and signals others to consider entering the steel industry. These reactions allow the increased demand to be met.

Without profit, there is no means by which firms know what to produce, how much to produce, or what production technologies to employ.** Instead, these decisions tend to be made politically, with tyranny a frequent result.** Nothing could be more crucial for individual autonomy and freedom, than profit .IMO

:thumbsup: Gift from God, it’s called trickle down in America. After Romney’s “people” make their profits and take care of their CEOs and so forth, whatever is left trickles down to the workers, the people who actually put them there in the first place. That’s of course if they haven’t moved jobs overseas in order to make even more profit by paying lower wages and providing less healthcare benefits to another country’s workers. Of course in the case of Canada and most other industrialized countries, you guys don’t have a health care benefits system based on the whim of employers. So the idea of the “people” cutting wages and health care benefits to the actual people probably seems somewhat strange to you.

That’s just sad.

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