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Your Opinion: Corporations don't express humanity

Your Opinion: Corporations don't express humanity

November 9th, 2011 by Robert Haslag, Centertown in News

Dear Editor:

Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney (R), and the Supreme Court in Citizen's United have proposed that corporations are identifiably persons in our system. Mr. Romney, supported by the Republican presidential field I would guess, essentially poses the "trickle down" concept, that corporate profits are disbursed among the various humans in its employ. Of course, he does not address the proportional distribution of profits. The Supreme Court in Citizens' United determined that corporations as "persons" in the political realm can dispense as much money as necessary to protect their economic interests.

Corporations are human constructs devised to produce profits and share them among investors. Humans are only components. The primary function is profit. Humans and multiple other components are an expense. If a new battery as an expense can be "stretched" in a safety mechanism, the result is the BP spill in the Gulf, not to mention flawed concrete fill. If mining safety expenses can be "stretched" men die. If air quality in a mine as an expense can be reduced, men will die. If mining leaves arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, zinc and cyanide in leach ponds and fails to maintain that reservoir, corporations will reduce liability and expenses and ultimately walk away, if feasible, as at the Zortman-Landusky Mine in Montana. If Ameren UE can reduce costs by ignoring an estimated 35-gallon per minute leak for 20 years from its coal-fired plant's leach pond in Labadie; it will and has.

If labor costs can be reduced to third-world levels of a dollar or less, corporations will gladly dispense with the whole concept of a decent wage, certain legal responsibilities to their employees and move. If the cheapest alternative to reach a mineral seam is to obliterate a mountain and abandon the moonscape of its passing, profit demands it. If "fracking" for natural gas contaminates drinking water to the point that it combusts from the faucet, corporations will hire public relations experts and create a PAC to ensure the issue is sufficiently clouded.

Corporations don't feel, weep, rejoice or express human sentiments. They make money. Wall Street is intimately complicit in this primacy of profit. Witness market reactions when profit statements appear quarterly. Pity the poor corporation that made money, but just not enough. Sell! Sell! Corporations are integral to our economy.

However, we must not and cannot invest them with the characteristics of being human simply because of their existence.