Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mitt Romney points out that "corporations are people."

That's what this ThinkProgress article tells us in its headline. Yes, it considered this observation such big news as to warrant a headline. ThinkProgress also embeds this video of Romney's comments, which he made in a heated exchange with hecklers at a presidential campaign stop:


ThinkProgress transcribes part of the video:

ROMNEY: There’s various ways of [preserving Social Security and Medicare’s solvency]. One is we could raise taxes on people. That’s not the way . . . 
AUDIENCE: Corporations! Corporations! 
ROMNEY: Corporations are people, my friend. 
AUDIENCE: No they’re not. 
ROMNEY: Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes? 
AUDIENCE: It goes into your pocket! [I'm not hearing the word "your" in the video. There are multiple people yelling at once, and it sounds like someone says: "In their pockets." — JAC] 
ROMNEY: Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People’s pockets. Human beings, my friend.
ThinkProgress says this was a "damaging" campaign stop for Romney.

Well, I'm sorry, but Mitt Romney is right.

A corporation — like a government — is a set of concepts and phrases and rules that people have invented to allow themselves to organize and do stuff. I don't understand why the Left insists that "corporations" aren't "people."

And I don't see how this is "damaging" to Romney. When I see him spontaneously and cogently defend himself against people trying to shout fallacies over his speech, this raises my opinion of Romney.

UPDATE: Jonathan Chait at The New Republic wrote a similar blog post:
The controversy du jour seems to be Mitt Romney's claim, in response to hecklers, that corporations are people . . . 
There is a controversy over whether corporations are people from the standpoint of law, with implications for free speech and other policy areas. That is not the point Romney was making. Romney was saying that taxes on corporations are in fact borne by people. Romney probably wouldn't admit that these are people who partially or completely own corporations, and thus far richer in the aggregate than the general public. But the fact is that they are people. Raising taxes on corporations is simply raising taxes on a certain category of people.