Corporate Chameleons

Corporate Chameleons

Corporations are like chameleons. Like exotic lizards that can change colors to fit in with their surroundings, large corporations possess the ability to move plants, equipment and assets from one place to another when it’s convenient. Moreover, they can claim constitutional “personhood” rights when it serves their purpose, but at other times charge they shouldn’t be held to the same standards as actual human persons.

Case in point is the recent $13 million settlement between JP Morgan corporation and the Justice Department over charges that the banking corporations misrepresented the quality of what turned out to be junk mortgages it was selling to investors which was responsible for the 2007-8 financial implosion.

The majority of the settlement is likely to be tax deductible. Two billion will pay $2 billion as a “civil penalty” to settle legal claims. That can’t be deducted. The remaining $11 billion is open to interpretation. If the government and the banking corporation agree that the remaining sum constitute penalties, then the money can’t be deducted. If however, JP Morgan corporation is able to convince the government that the $11 billion is for “compensation” or “restitution,” then their owe Uncle Sam zero.

The Wall Street Journal reports that $7 billion is the remaining $11 billion is “eligible for tax deduction.”

Now compare JP Morgan corporate “person” with you and I.

If we engaged in a scam that bilked our fellow human persons out of, say, $100,000 and was caught, would we be penalized for, say, only $10,000 (getting to keep the rest) and then able to write off, say, $5000 or $6000 as a tax deduction?

Somehow I don’t think so.

Never mind,JP Morgan having the same rights as you or I. In this instance, they have greater rights. And how exactly does this promote democracy?

The corporate chameleon always changes its color to green when money is involved and red, white and blue when We the People demand that laws be created, rules be enacted and constitutions be amended to define corporations as subordinate (as they once were and meant to be) to real living human beings.


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