Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 3:53 PM on Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Corporations are not people

I am involved with the Education/Move-to-Amend Working Group of Occupy Homer. I support the nationwide movement to amend the U.S. Constitution to make it absolutely clear that corporations cannot be legally considered "persons." The current legal interpretation by the U.S. Supreme Court is that corporations are protected under the Bill of Rights as "persons."

This impacts many local, national and international problems I care deeply about. Amending the Constitution to abolish "corporate personhood" would not automatically fix these problems but it would make legislative solutions possible.

Here is just one example. Industrious people in Homer work in fishing, own their own businesses or create the artwork that helps enliven our local economy, but are unable to afford health insurance. Health-care costs are driven up, in part, by pharmaceutical, medical equipment and insurance companies maximizing profits from human illness and suffering.

Because of their enormous profits, these companies can afford to spend millions on lobbying and advertising to defeat any legislative attempts to make a more efficient and fair health care system in the United States. According to the current Supreme Court interpretation, money equals speech, and because corporations are "persons" their rights to free speech cannot be limited.

I am so grateful to Sen. Mark Begich for recently co-sponsoring a proposed joint resolution "...to expressly exclude for-profit corporations from the rights given to natural persons by the Constitution of the United States, prohibit corporate spending in all elections, and affirm the authority of Congress and the States to regulate corporations and to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures." Here is a link to the resolution: http://sanders.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Saving-American-Democracy.pdf.

Together we can build a saner world.

PeggyEllen Kleinleder, RN