Mitt Romney's assertion that "corporations are people" may be infuriating, but according to the Supreme Court, it's not wrong.
Yesterday, a video of Mitt Romney declaring that "corporations are people, my friend" circulated around the Internet. He didn't literally mean that. This is more how it went down:
Romney: We could raise taxes on people.
Hecklers in unison: Corporations!
Romney: Corporations are people, my friend...[shocked reactions from the crowd]...Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people...[loud laughs from hecklers]..Where do you think it goes?
One heckler: Into their pockets!
Romney: Whose pockets? People's pockets!\n
Romney was simply restating the wishful thinking of every fiscal conservative: if corporations do well, they'll hire more people and everyone will be happy. Of course, we know it doesn't really work that way; the only pockets that the vast majority of corporate profit goes into are CEOs and investors (people, yes, but a very tiny group of people). But if Romney really wanted to shut the hecklers down, he needed to look no further than a recent Supreme Court case.
Early last year, Citizens United v. FEC confirmed that corporations have the Constitutional rights as people, and therefore should be allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns. It opened the floodgates for the views of lawmakers and candidates to be influenced by money even more than they are now. So even though Mitt Romney's smug assurance may have been infuriating and depressing, it's sadly not altogether wrong according to our country's highest court.