Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Corporate free speech is not un-American!

Opinion | Corporate free speech is not un-American | Seattle Times Newspaper

The op-ed piece in hyperlink above, written by Bill Maurer, highlights some very important points about the importance of the recent Citizens United vs. FEC. Here are some highlights from the piece:

"Corporations are each different. Some will see this decision as an opportunity to support pro-free-market politicians. Some will use it use it to support liberal politicians. And some will ignore politics completely and simply try to provide goods and services the public wants. This is because a corporation, like every association — a marriage, a neighborhood association or a nonprofit organization — is made up of people. It is the people who are now free to speak and to choose the form they believe is the most effective for disseminating their message.
This is America. We do not ban books. We do not make it a crime to speak because the speech may be too influential. With this decision, Americans will get more information, hear more debate, and learn more about their elections. With all due respect to Sen. Schumer, what could be more American than that?"

There is this weird assumption that in this day and age of diversified interests along with multiple information sources with easy platforms of access, that corporations always have nefarious aims and objectives and that the use of corporate money pollutes politics. Hogwash.

Corporations have budget limitations and fiduciary responsibility to their ownership to work at turning a profit. Even the wealthiest corporations can't write blank checks (although very large ones on occasion can be issued) It's a very honorable an open set of objectives to be chasing  bottom-line in the black. Plus, it is explicit by the very nature of the capitalist beast. More so, than can be said about the motives of certain individuals. As high-lighted in the article, the public has long been suspicious of various corporate marketing initiatives that have failed despite having millions of dollars pumped into them. Money might be able to purchase airtime, but it doesn't guarantee results.

The werewolf wonders if corporations should be treated more like an individual on some levels, but will flush that out in a different post. However, he has also thought that if the government and anti-free speech activists really wanted to curb corporate speech in good faith, why don't they push for an elimination of corporate taxes? A reduction in stakeholder status can certainly be linked to a reduction in assumed rights. Food for thought.

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