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Corporate ‘people’ don’t have living hearts

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April 15 was a day of serious reflection. We have paid our last year’s taxes on the state and federal governments and the estimated taxes for 2014.

We, the little people, feel good for having fulfilled our duty as citizens of this country.

We pray that Congress in Washington makes sure that the less fortunate among us continue getting food stamps and unemployment compensation, and we hope that the country finally gets going and starts fixing our crumbling infrastructure.

While we, the little people, try to do our duty, it is disheartening to learn of the behavior of corporations. A recent Senate hearing revealed unbelievable efforts that corporations go through just to avoid paying taxes.

The formerly highly respected American corporation Caterpillar has chosen to avoid more than $2 billion in U.S. taxes. For hundreds of millions of dollars the company hired a cadre of sophisticated tax lawyers merely to show it clever tricks to escape taxation.

While Caterpillar has thousand of workers here in the United States making its products, the company decided to establish an office of 60 people in the tax haven in Geneva, Switzerland, and parked its profits of hundreds of billions of dollars there, safe from U.S. taxation. Unfortunately, Caterpillar is just one example of a myriad of other American corporations similarly hiding their profits in tax havens all over the world.

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Citizens United, made the surprising decision that corporations are “people.” But the court neglected to insert beating hearts into these newly discovered people.

Consequently, they are totally devoid of feelings of duty of obligation or patriotism. In an earlier decision on Buckley v. Valeo, the Supreme Court had declared that money is equal to speech. Thus, with their limitless wealth, these irresponsible corporate people have had and continue to have an undue influence on elections by completely drowning out the voice of the little people and thereby the democracy.

Recently, our democratic system suffered the last fatal blow by the Supreme Court decision in the McCutcheon case. The court got rid of the last obstacle by removing even the aggregate limits of campaign finance in an election cycle.

Now the flood gates are wide open for multimillion dollar campaign contributions, and elections are for sale to the highest bidder. This momentous decision was the final blow on democracy in the United States.

Maire T. Zakrzewski

Watertown

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