Legal & Policy Challenges

End Corporate Influence/Control of Our Government

Due to a clerical error in the Supreme Court header notes of a decision made in the late 1800s, corporations have been granted all the rights of people. Legally speaking, they've been given "personhood" and therefore are entitled to all the rights of citizens enshrined in the Constitution, except for the right to vote.

Consequently, corporations have been granted the right to "freedom of speech" which our founders had never envisioned. Furthermore, their ability to spend their economic resources in electoral politics has been determined to be an exercise of their free speech.

Because corporations hold far more wealth than all the human citizens of the U.S. combined, they have massive undue influence in our electoral and political process. As a result, government often acts to benefit corporations and at the expense of the public.

Over the years, giant corporations have continued to consolidate their power and control of our political system, our media, our educational system, our economy, our public institutions and even over the non-profit sector and our leisure and entertainment.

This has not been good for our society, for our livelihoods, or for our government. If this trend is not stopped very soon, we will reach a point where it cannot be rolled back.

The solution doesn't have to be complex. Revoking corporate "personhood" and enforcing existing laws would be a start.

Why Is This Idea Important?

This is important because the interests of corporations are frequently at odds with the public interest, and often are entirely contrary to the public health and public good. Many, if not most, of these monstrous corporations are not even based in the US, so their interests have little to do with the national interest, and their actions may, in fact, benefit other nations while harming US interests. Also, although having the rights of people, corporations do not tend to get old or die (but rather merge and become stronger), they do not need to breathe clean air or drink clean water, they can and do commit crimes but cannot be imprisoned, they have no children or grandchildren to care about, but rather focus all of their attention upon maximizing profits for the short-term. These are not the forces that should be controlling our government, and we need to make sure they stay far, far away from our political system. Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt all warned us about the democratically destructive power of corporations. Even today, we have yet to heed their wisdom. We cannot afford to wait any longer. We need to end corporate meddling in our political system NOW.

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Idea No. 526