# News Is a corporation a person?

#### ThomasT

Why would anyone not be needed in the workforce?
When there are more prospective employees than available jobs -- such as the case with science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates in the US and available jobs in those fields in the US.

Shouldn't everyone attempt to be productive - to pay their own way?
Apparently, there are millions of unemployed people who would like to do just that -- but there are no paying jobs for them, ie., they're not needed in the work force.

If you're considering that minimum wage has priced certain individuals out of the workforce - I would tend to agree - some people aren't worth minimum wage (plus matching taxes and eventually benefits) - IMO.
Minimum wage has little or nothing to do with it. Minimum wage jobs are only a small fraction of available jobs. Minimum wage earners are a small fraction of the employed labor force.

Also, keep in mind that there's a rather significant 'off the books' labor market in the US. Some people have made lots of money using, say, illegal Mexican immigrants to do jobs for sub-minimum wages.

If we accept this as a given ...
Accept what as a given?

... it doesn't mean they shouldn't work for their welfare benefits. Whether hired at minimum wage by the Government to scrub graffiti from walls and pick up road side trash or some other menial task - Section 8 housing, food stamps, and Medicaid all have costs that should be offset by this new permanent class of unemployable persons - IMO.
I would tend to agree with this. Surely some sort of make-work can be required of welfare recipients who are physically and mentally capable of working. But then there's the additional cost of administering and supervising that stuff.

As for the business, finance, and industry freedom/ more regulation comment - please support.
I was trying to get more of a response than that. Actually, wrt some areas, like small businesses, I do think there's too much of the sort of regulation that makes it difficult for them to succeed.

But what about regulations like some sort of sales tax on stock transactions, constraints on leveraging, closing certain tax loopholes and exemptions?

Well, maybe we don't really need more regulation. What sorts of deregulation do you think would be beneficial?

#### Jimmy Snyder

If the govt rules by the consent of the governed, then taxes are not taken by force. On the other hand, if you think that taxes are taken by force, doesn't that mean that you don't consent to be governed?

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#### ThomasT

If the govt rules by the consent of the governed, then taxes are not taken by force. On the other hand, if you think that taxes are taken by force, doesn't that mean that you don't consent to be governed?
I would say that government rules by the consent of the governed in some cases, by the threat of force in some cases, and by actual force in some cases.

I don't consent to be governed by laws that I don't agree with (and there are lots of laws that I don't agree with), but I abide by them anyway because paying fines or going to jail would be really inconvenient.

#### Jimmy Snyder

I would say that government rules by the consent of the governed in some cases, by the threat of force in some cases, and by actual force in some cases.

I don't consent to be governed by laws that I don't agree with (and there are lots of laws that I don't agree with), but I abide by them anyway because paying fines or going to jail would be really inconvenient.
I don't think that by the word consent is meant a state of mind. Rather it is a kind of contractual agreement with privileges and duties. Consent to be governed would be meaningless if you only consented to the privileges and not the duties.

#### ThomasT

I don't think that by the word consent is meant a state of mind. Rather it is a kind of contractual agreement with privileges and duties. Consent to be governed would be meaningless if you only consented to the privileges and not the duties.
Ok. But not privileges vs duties. (good) Laws which I consent to follow because I consider them to be duties that should be done vs (bad) laws which I only follow because of the threat of force.

Some government sanctioned 'duties' I do because I agree that they should be done. No force or threat thereof is necessary in these cases. On the other hand, some government sanctioned 'duties' I avoid when possible (because I think they're bad laws -- not just for me, but for everybody), and only abide by them in certain situations because of the threat of force. Or maybe, I deliberately break certain laws that I disagree with in order to contribute to societal progress (at least my conception of it). Isn't this part of my duty?

#### BobG

Homework Helper
First, I think your post was well written for the amount of content, not babbling :p

Second, why is it appropriate to discount a political donor because they own a company? That seems discriminatory based on occupation. You might as well say 'no plumbers can donate money' or 'no teachers can donate political money'

Also, how is supporting a candidate via monetary donations undermining the ideals of a democratic republic? What I feel is bad is that political organizations taking (laundering) donations are allowed to be tax shelters, so it unfairly encourages this type of action.
1) How are business owners prevented from donating their own personal income that's already come out of the company? The same rules for personal campaign donations apply to them that apply to plumbers or teachers.

2) How does that apply to corporations that are publicly owned? Especially given modern concepts of corporate management where the stakeholders have a say; not just the stockholders? And does each stockholder (i.e. owner) have a say in how the corporation's money is donated?

3) How does that apply to corporations formed solely to make a campaign contribution? Such as W Spann LLC?

Corporations are completely different from individual people for a number of reasons and there's no reason to believe individual liberties should automatically apply to them. Some may apply, but each of those have to be looked at on a case by case basis.

#### WhoWee

IMO - a much greater concern than donations from a for-profit corporation (that answers to shareholders) are donations from unions that represent Government workers.

#### daveb

Regarding consent, I would argue that by being a citizen of a democracy that has the capability of "throwing out the bums", as it were, you are implicitly granting consent in everything politicians do. You may disagree with what they do, but you still grant consent by living ina free republic. Otherwise, by your idea (or rather what I suspect is your idea, correct me if I'm wrong) of consent means that there is never anything that the entire nation consents to at any single time.

#### daveb

How does that apply to corporations that are publicly owned? Especially given modern concepts of corporate management where the stakeholders have a say; not just the stockholders? And does each stockholder (i.e. owner) have a say in how the corporation's money is donated?

3) How does that apply to corporations formed solely to make a campaign contribution? Such as W Spann LLC?

Corporations are completely different from individual people for a number of reasons and there's no reason to believe individual liberties should automatically apply to them. Some may apply, but each of those have to be looked at on a case by case basis.
I agree with this, insofar as if stakeholders DO have a say in how money is donated. However, (and correct me if I'm wrong, I don't have any stocks), it's 1 share = 1 vote, so the decision is based on only several individuals that have collectively a controlling stock.

In addition, even though not all liberties should be applied, some such as Citizens United are problematic. The gist of the SCOTUS opinion was that money is free speech, but that means the more money a person has, the more "free" your speech is (of course we could get into a discussion of what "free" means, but that would derail this thread).

That's why I disagree with this

IMO - a much greater concern than donations from a for-profit corporation (that answers to shareholders) are donations from unions that represent Government workers.
since this means citizens who band together in unions (that are answerable to its members) would not be as "free" in their speech as corporations. IMO, this was the only saving grace about Citizens United, that unions also could do the same as corporations. The problem came with the current spate of attempts to limit collective bargaining, which then again limits the free speech (since the assumption is that these people cannot collectivel bargain).

#### BobG

Homework Helper
IMO - a much greater concern than donations from a for-profit corporation (that answers to shareholders) ....
What do you mean by shareholders? They're not the same as the investors, since you can invest in a corporation by several different methods. If you invest in mutual funds, the mutual fund manager is the shareholder, not the people that bought the mutual funds.

I guess the mutual fund investor has some indirect say in that they could choose to sell their mutual funds or to quit buying any more, but the shotgun effect of selling your investment in every company that mutual fund invests in makes the effect even more indirect than a consumer choosing not to buy any products from that company anymore.

#### ThomasT

Regarding consent, I would argue that by being a citizen of a democracy that has the capability of "throwing out the bums", as it were, you are implicitly granting consent in everything politicians do. You may disagree with what they do, but you still grant consent by living ina free republic. Otherwise, by your idea (or rather what I suspect is your idea, correct me if I'm wrong) of consent means that there is never anything that the entire nation consents to at any single time.
I'm just thinking that there's a difference between a situation where two parties agree on a course of action, and a situation where one party is coerced by the other party into following or avoiding a course of action. Because there are dissenters wrt public policies and laws, governments must ultimately function via the threat, and use, of force.

During my grandfather's time there was slavery. During my time certain ethnic groups were prohibited from entering certain establishments, or from using certain 'public' facilities and prohibited from being within town limits after 6 pm.

#### mheslep

Gold Member
Both helping and constraining are in line with the ideal of 'equality' advocated by the US republic. ...
No, they are not.

#### mheslep

Gold Member
I'm just thinking that there's a difference between a situation where two parties agree on a course of action, and a situation where one party is coerced by the other party into following or avoiding a course of action. Because there are dissenters wrt public policies and laws, governments must ultimately function via the threat, and use, of force.

During my grandfather's time there was slavery. ...
Which was not only sanctioned but enforced by government. After slavery was abolished, Jim Crow laws were enforced for decades by government.

#### Char. Limit

Gold Member
The two scenarios are nowhere close to equivalent and you can't possibly not see that. Claiming they are just because you can use the same word to describe them is like saying apples and oranges are the same because they are both fruit: You're playing word games.
I never said they were equivalent; only that they involved the same idea.

#### russ_watters

Mentor
If the govt rules by the consent of the governed, then taxes are not taken by force. On the other hand, if you think that taxes are taken by force, doesn't that mean that you don't consent to be governed?
Taxes are taken by force from people who don't consent to be governed. For me to acknowledge the fact that the government takes taxes from some people by force does not mean that *I* do not consent to be governed. You improperly mixed together 2nd and 3rd person there.

#### russ_watters

Mentor
I never said they were equivalent; only that they involved the same idea.
You're just playing more word games there: "equivalent" = "the same". They are definitions of each other!

Point being, no, they really don't involve the same/equivalent ideas - not in any useful/relevant way, anyway. Business deals involve coercion of terms, but only in the sense of negotiation, where both parties use intellectual force to get their way. But corporations cannot use physical force to make their way happen against your will. Corporations cannot force you to accept their terms or use force to make you buy a product. In other words, Walmart cannot lock you in jail or shoot you for not shopping there. The government can contact your employer and have them send your money directly to it, lock you in jail, or shoot you for non-payment of taxes, depending on how vehemently you try to resist (as someone said earlier).

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#### Char. Limit

Gold Member
You're just playing more word games there: "equivalent" = "the same". They are definitions of each other!

Point being, no, they really don't involve the same/equivalent ideas - not in any useful/relevant way, anyway. Business deals involve coercion of terms, but only in the sense of negotiation, where both parties use intellectual force to get their way. But corporations cannot use physical force to make their way happen against your will. Corporations cannot force you to accept their terms or use force to make you buy a product. In other words, Walmart cannot lock you in jail or shoot you for not shopping there. The government can contact your employer and have them send your money directly to it, lock you in jail, or shoot you for non-payment of taxes, depending on how vehemently you try to resist (as someone said earlier).
Point taken.

#### chiro

There was a post that talked about hypothesizing what governments would do with a voluntary tax system.

Personally I think the whole idea of an income tax is absolutely stupid. We punish people for putting in more labor (or at least more economic units of labor) by having these so called tax brackets. This doesn't even work fairly since the really wealthy just use the complex tax laws to avoid paying most of their tax anyways.

The best solution in my view is just a general consumption tax. Get rid of income tax altogether and tax people on what they actually consume.

From the consumption tax, certain goods will have certain taxes and depending on the actual function of the good or service in question, some of that can be used to aid the government in that related area. For example goods and services that are related to transport have taxes that are used to help the government maintain the transport system which includes for example maintaining public roads and so on.

If people want to consume in a lavish way, let them pay for it. If people do not want to consume in a lavish way, then that is their choice as well.

#### WhoWee

There was a post that talked about hypothesizing what governments would do with a voluntary tax system.

Personally I think the whole idea of an income tax is absolutely stupid. We punish people for putting in more labor (or at least more economic units of labor) by having these so called tax brackets. This doesn't even work fairly since the really wealthy just use the complex tax laws to avoid paying most of their tax anyways.

The best solution in my view is just a general consumption tax. Get rid of income tax altogether and tax people on what they actually consume.

From the consumption tax, certain goods will have certain taxes and depending on the actual function of the good or service in question, some of that can be used to aid the government in that related area. For example goods and services that are related to transport have taxes that are used to help the government maintain the transport system which includes for example maintaining public roads and so on.

If people want to consume in a lavish way, let them pay for it. If people do not want to consume in a lavish way, then that is their choice as well.
If Government spending was based upon their actual revenues - it might be that simple. Unfortunately, the Government currently borrows about $.40 of every$1.00 it spends and owes roughly $15Trillion. The Government also has projected (long term unfunded) debt of any where from$56Trillion to over \$120Trillion - depends upon which expert did the calculation.

#### mheslep

Gold Member
The best solution in my view is just a general consumption tax. Get rid of income tax altogether and tax people on what they actually consume.

...
Ok, but that's far more regressive. Is that your intent? That is, a VAT would necessarily shift the existing tax burden from the wealthy to the less wealthy who may pay no federal income tax. As the lower incomes can not avoid purchases for housing, transportation and food, they'll incur the (federal) sales tax.

My preference is a federal tax on the state governments alone, requiring increased state taxes but completely eliminating any kind of personalized federal tax, income or otherwise, and thereby strengthening the US federalist system.

#### MarcoD

You're just playing more word games there: "equivalent" = "the same". They are definitions of each other!

Point being, no, they really don't involve the same/equivalent ideas - not in any useful/relevant way, anyway. Business deals involve coercion of terms, but only in the sense of negotiation, where both parties use intellectual force to get their way. But corporations cannot use physical force to make their way happen against your will. Corporations cannot force you to accept their terms or use force to make you buy a product. In other words, Walmart cannot lock you in jail or shoot you for not shopping there. The government can contact your employer and have them send your money directly to it, lock you in jail, or shoot you for non-payment of taxes, depending on how vehemently you try to resist (as someone said earlier).
That's holds mostly for consumer goods. Try to buy stuff from a company and not pay for it.

EDIT: This is a bit simplistic. Can I be forced to buy a house or a car? No. Am I 'forced' to buy a house and a car? Yes. In a similar manner, can I be forced to use the roads of a state? No. Am I practically 'forced' to do that? Yes.

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#### mheslep

Gold Member
That's known as theft or at least fraud, and it need not apply only to buying from a business.

#### russ_watters

Mentor
....and of course it is enforced by the overnment, not the retailer!

#### russ_watters

Mentor
Can I be forced to buy a house or a car? No. Am I 'forced' to buy a house and a car? Yes. In a similar manner, can I be forced to use the roads of a state? No. Am I practically 'forced' to do that? Yes.
Huh? I know lots of people who own neither houses nor cars! What are you talking about?!

#### MarcoD

Huh? I know lots of people who own neither houses nor cars! What are you talking about?!
The argument was that government or, as Noam Chomsky would say, authority should be rejected since it is uses force (to transfer ownership). I find that a rather silly thought.

If I buy a house or a car, and I don't make good on a payment, it is repossessed. (Ultimately, under gunpoint.)

If I use state roads, and I don't pay taxes, it is forcibly taken. (Ultimately, under gunpoint.)

I am neither forced to buy [or rent] a car or a house or use state roads. But since life forces me to do that, I am forced to pay for everything.

The rejection of authority with the argument "it uses force," might as well be used (is used, even) to reject capitalism. Both use force to enforce the rules of the game.

IMO, you need a better argument than that.