The Tale of Two Citizens – Is Christian Correct?

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One the greatest and worst travesties of a change to the Constitution is the 14th amendment. In it, it applied the Constitution to the people of the United States and truly centralized power. This created for the first the American Citizenry. And under that rule, corporations now claim special rights. But, as Christian reminds us, they want the protections and rights afforded under that amendment, but not the responsibilities. In a very small part of his over all post – read it – he writes,

In 1886, the US Supreme Court ruled, in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, that corporations were recognized as persons under the 14th Amendment. Since then, corporate personhood has expanded to include 1st Amendment rights to free speech (i.e. Citizens United). For the first time in our history, an inanimate object can now contribute unlimited amounts of money to the political process to influence things that impact you, me, the orphan and the widow.

Yet asking them to pay taxes is somehow unfair.

I have more change in my pocket right now than companies like Bank of America, and 2/3 of corporations in Wisconsin, paid in taxes last year.

via I Am Not Anti-Corporation | Homebrewed Theology.

Now, the question is, is Christian correct and on his port – and maybe we should, while repealing the 17th amendment go ahead and repeal the 14th too?

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20 Replies to “The Tale of Two Citizens – Is Christian Correct?”

  1. I don’t expect to change anybodies view, but any tax on a corporation is just passed on to the consumer or extracted from the worker. Several years ago, the fair State of Wisconsin, in order to get money revenue, enacted something called “combined reporting” that required companies like Harley Davidson, headquartered in Wisconsin, to pay tax on all of its subsidiaries. This caused an unexpected $22 million dollar tax bill for Harley. Harley was already struggling financially (hey, who can afford a $15000 motorcycle today), and this only added to its whoa. Fortunately, its union was willing to reopen its contract and give some financial concessions. I really don’t think taxing corporations really makes good sense. While I would not go as far as Rod in saying our tax system is corrupt, there should be a better system.

  2. Rod, i like your thinking on this. I’m gonna spend more time reading your blog. (I’ll just spend less time here).

  3. Hey you guys, all I know is that if I did not have Uncle Sam take part of my pay, I would have a nice take home pay… I hate taxes!

  4. @Doug – While it’s true that taxes on corporations are typically passed on the consumer or extracted from the worker, I find that to be completely and totally unethical.

    In fact, I find the whole concept of corporate personhood to be repulsive. While, as Rod said on his blog, there are people behind it… the nameless, faceless, lifeless entities should not be afforded the same Constitutional protections and rights that people are.

    Combined reporting is nothing new, even in WI, as it was put in place under Republican Tommy Thompson. All it does is levy taxes for unitary businesses based on the % of sales made in that state.

    No, combined reporting would have not increased HD’s tax bill by $22.5m. This number comes from an announcement of a one-time bookkeeping charge related to what HD estimated they may owe in taxes in the future.

    This was not money paid to the state, neither was it going to be.

    What you don’t mention is that their tax bill dropped from $25m in 2005 to $1m in 2008 while pre-tax profits stayed stable at about $1.5billion…hardly “financially struggling”. HD’s effective tax rate is about 0.1%

    Third, HD’s financial center is in Chicago, a combined reporting state, and they consolidated 3 road tests divisions here in Arizona, a combined reporting state, so the argument made about the tax changes in WI impacting HD’s business decisions is, quite honestly, utter nonsense.

    Finally, HD was offered $25m in tax credits. They turned it down. Why? Because it was tied to things like employment levels, capital investments, and purchases from Wisconsin suppliers. It meant that HD had to actually DO something and be accountable before the state would authorize the full $25m in tax credits.

    So…there ya go.

    Tell ya what, though… if you don’t want to tax corporations, then all Constitutional protections and rights for them should be immediately revoked. No equal protection, no free-speech, no contributions to political campaigns…nothing. Don’t want to pay taxes… you don’t get to participate.

    1. Christian, I am sorta there, except some of our tort law is Based on seeing corporations as entities. Would be something tho, if that corporate citizenship was removed and those who actually made the calls which harmed others were the ones held responsible instead of allowing them hide behind the corporation…

  5. I could get behind the idea of holding those who made the decisions responsible.

    Seeing Corps as entities, ok, but personhood…I really have a hard time with that.

    1. I do too, because it allows a non-entity, which has values sometimes counter to that of society to have a very weighted voice.

      Just imagine holding the CEO’s accountable when the decision which they made caused harm to others?

  6. Combined reporting was NOT “put into place” by former Governor Tommy Thompson, it was enacted under the last Governor, Jim Doyle. So, it is new. I guess we will have to disagree on the financial aspects of this form of taxation, except I will say it seems unfair if a company already has paid tax on its subsidiary in another state to then have to pay tax again. The money has to come from somewhere. Finally, our laws do allow holding officers of a company accountable for certain actions of that officers. But finding the balance is constantly being debated.

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