Sunday, September 9, 2012

A response to this blog: big business, small business, personhood

The following was posted as a comment to my last blog.
It is so well written I decided to give it it's own title and space. 
I have no idea who the author is and even though I disagree 
in substance or detail with a number of the points made, 
I will save my retorts for the comment section. 
In the mean time, I think it should be savored 
by the widest audience possible ~ EyeonOregon.

Anonymous said...
Dear Mr. Rube:

Thematic essays, your blogs. Without the rules of essay writing in evidence, of course. Fragmented thematic essays.

Patterned themes. For instance, the ugly, tyrannical, megalomaniac Large Corporation. Villain du jour.

From sea to shining sea, the definition of ‘person’ includes business entities, in all colors, shapes and sizes. ‘Personhood’ is critical – businesses are sucked into the system along with persons covered in sweating flesh. Sucked into the basics – civil and criminal laws. The enhanced “sucking”: the ungodly stacks of Rules and Regulations, government agency oversight, regulatory hearings, investigations, inspections, reporting, record keeping, administrative officers, quasi-judicial bodies, etc.

I have a friend who steered his deep sea charter-fishing business to success, despite competition. And while newbie fishermen falling overboard are idiots, they are idiots with lawyers. And what did Ordinary Man do to protect his American Dream? Built a tower of legal defense. LLCs for each fishing boat, LCCs owned by LLP, LLP governed by a C corp. And secondary defense lines were put in play.

Clever. Applauded. And Big Business is different how?

My friend hired a local accounting firm; friends of friends; nice people. Anti-tax tactical forces fully exploited the gaps and perks of the tax laws. Hands shake again at a backyard BBQ while dogs run and kids bark.

And this is different from Big Business how? And while tax ‘efficiencies’ are legal, are they the moral choice? Temporary Aid for Needy Families is in jeopardy; unemployment compensation may be cut, education grants are reduced, funding of the arts degrades.

Small businesses are the stuff of Americana. The stuff of neighbors, friends and families. Tinkers. Tailors. Farmers. Small manufacturers. Bakeries and brothels.

Big Businesses are the stuff of high drama movies. Legendary corruption. Powered by monopolistic engines. Destroying the economy and our children’s opportunities, no compassion, no moral compass. Damn those iPhones made in Chinese sweatshops, thank god they’re pretty.

Business entities, large or small, successful or not, are driven by the best, the worst and the mediocre - just like any other human endeavor.

Small enterprises represent 99.7% of all employer firms & employ half of all private sector employees. They also represent the largest sector of tax fraud and tax evasion. Small businesses are well skilled in all sorts of wicked ways.

Label employees ‘independent contractors’ to avoid workers comp, unemployment comp, employment taxes, minimum wage laws, etc.

Don’t comply with ADA standards. (My god the costs are huge – I go to church with the disabled, I invite them to BBQs. Surely they don’t want me to coddle them at such a cost.)

Small businesses in the compliance zone of employment rights who just don’t. Small business owner knows how to do the Right Thing.

Liquidating small businesses who “sell” stuff to friends, family and neighbors before filing bankruptcy. Who don’t disclose all assets – how are they going to survive if everything but the family bible is put up for auction? Big Bank and Big Business creditors can absorb the loss; and, quite frankly, should take the hit – if BBs knifed the economy, then surely the weeping wounds have spread their puss to the innocent small business?

Small business owners are good people trying to their best survive with as much integrity as they can afford. Bless their little hearts.

What’s good for small businesses is good for the country. To hell with Big Businesses.

1 comment:

eyeonoregon said...

Laws and regulations limiting freedom are not passed out of spite. Usually an abuse threatening the welfare of others prompts law-making for good or ill.

Goldman and Lehman Bros. and Royal Bank of Scotland and others are as responsible for the onslaught of new (actually old and repealed by Phil Graham and others) bank regulations.

As pointed out, business entities large and small "are driven by the best, the worst and the mediocre." And it is those driven by the worst that are to blame for most of the laws, not "big government."

Government has a role keeping the playing field level in "free markets" and keeping the powerful from owning the refs and setting the goal posts for their benefit. Which is why we had laws against monopolies.

And that is a key difference between big business and small. Oregon Rep. "Slick Greg" Walden may be owned by ATT and HCA, but most small businesses cannot afford their own Congressman..

As to whether corporations should have "personhood," jail is a disincentive for persons. But despite all the abuses we read about, all the SEC fines and settling of matters between the regulators and large corporations, far too few persons have gone to jail and not one corporation.

If those who lied (obviously) to Congress spent a year or two behind bars, if those who sold securities to clients while betting against those same securities were convicted of fraud and did time, if all those who hide their nefarious behavior behind a corporate veil were stripped of that protection and if we had an AG willing to take them on, America would be a better place to do business.